Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby (Hebrews 12:11)
Discipline is a good thing and we all need it in varying measure, but it is usually not at all pleasant. In fact, our verse this week tells us that God’s chastening seems to us as grievous!
Hopefully many of us can say we were rightfully chastened, in various ways, by our parents. It also seemed grievous at the time, but in retrospect we see the fruit that it yielded. The writer of Hebrews points out that as we gave reverence to our fathers regarding this matter, how much more then are we to be in subjection to God. Our earthly fathers chastened us briefly as seemed good to them, but God does this “for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness!!” In fact, the writer gives us this stern and sober warning: “..if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” It is a privilege given only to his children, with the alternative being what the ungodly receive: Judgment.
So God’s chastisement for our sin is necessary! It is actually a grievous, yet comforting, necessity. In this matter our Father deals with us as sons. He does this because he loves us and desires us to be partakers in his holiness. Unfortunately we, more times than not, find ourselves like stubborn, earthly children that view the rod as grievous, not giving thought to the fruit of righteousness it yields. And who receives this fruit of righteousness?….”them that are exercised thereby,” i.e. those who have been trained by it. “Those who willingly have endured hardship as discipline and who have submitted themselves to the will of God in their lives are the recipients of righteousness and peace” (Hendriksen and Kistemaker). We should make a habit, during the grievous times, of keeping our eyes directed forward to the peaceable fruit that it will yield later.
Therefore, this week’s verse is a comforting truth as well as an exhortation to, in trials and hardships, be reminded that he disciplines you…….
- …..because he loves you and deals with you as a son
- …..for your profit that you may be partakers of his holiness
- …..in the grievous present, knowing that it will afterward yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness.
Let it stir you to further holiness, trust, and reliance on the Holy Spirit, denying yourself daily, and looking to the author and finisher of our faith, our Lord, who endured the cross, despising the shame, taking his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. So:
…lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord (v. 12-14)