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God’s Discipline Isn’t Punishment

When a man or woman enters the military service they go through a rapid transformation within a short period of time. The only way that can be accomplished is by a rigid system of discipline. The goal of Army Basic Training is to change a civilian man or woman into a soldier who is in good physical condition and who conforms to the standards of the military. Stories abound as to how hard it is and how severe the consequences are of making mistakes.

Army Basic Training - discipline

When we think of “discipline” two ideas come to mind. One is punishment and the other is training. This may give you pause when you learn that God the Father disciplines His children. However, it’s important to note that God’s discipline isn’t punishment. That doesn’t mean it isn’t painful but it’s not punishment. Gods uses discipline to train us in godliness.

The reason we can be sure God’s discipline isn’t punishment is because of Romans 8:1. It says,

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

When Jesus died on the cross He paid the penalty for all our sins, past, present and future. He took our punishment upon Himself for us. When we believed in Him as our Savior the Father accepted Jesus’ death as the punishment and payment for all our sins. Each of us who are Christians are in the wonderful position of being declared righteous by the Father.

[Tweet “God’s discipline isn’t punishment. It’s God trying to get your attention.”]

Yet there are times when our condition, how we act, doesn’t match our position. When that happens the Holy Spirit is grieved Ephesians 4:3. We then feel the guilt that comes from disobedience. The proper response to that is to confess that sin 1 John 1:9 and be restored in fellowship with the Father, Son and Spirit.

When we don’t do that, when we allow sin a place in our heart and stop paying attention to the Spirit, the Father steps in and disciplines us. Hebrews 12:5-11 is a key passage in the Bible about God’s discipline. This passage tells us six things about God’s discipline.

6 Aspects of God’s Discipline of His Children

  1. It proves we’re His child. Hebrew 12:5-8
  2. It’s for our good. Hebrews 12:10
  3. It results in eternal life Hebrews 12:9
  4. It enables us to share God’s holiness Hebrews 12:10
  5. It produces peacefulness Hebrews 12:11
  6. It produces righteousness Hebrews 12:11

[Tweet “God’s discipline is painful but the goal is restoration.”]

The good news is that there’s a simple, straightforward way to stop being disciplined. Confess your sin and obey God. If you’re facing adversity and there’s sin in your life it may be discipline. Get right with God. He will forgive and restore you.  If you’re going through adversity and do not have unconfessed sin then it is probably one of the other types of adversity. Here is a post to read on the seven kinds of adversity we all face.

I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or question below.

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Ward Cushman

My journey of faith started when I was nine years old when I realized that Jesus died and rose again to pay for my sins. At the age of thirteen I felt the call of God on my life for ministry.

I have been fortunate to work in the marketplace for over ten years and in full-time Christian ministry for over thirty years.

My passion is to teach God's Word in such a way that it is easy to understand and so that God uses it to bring about life change in those who hear it.

It is my greatest joy to see God work through me to produce fruit for His glory!