9th May 2012

Course Correction

“If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening…then you are illegitimate and not sons.”
Hebrews 12:7-8 (NKJV)

Christians often have divided views on illnesses and other reverses in their lives.

The first is very obvious and seems entirely logical:  “Why is God punishing me? What have I done to deserve this?”  And while the second view is more complicated, it also has a perverse logic to it—“God is obviously trying to get through to me—there’s something wrong in my life and God wants me to make changes. It is because God loves me that he is correcting me. Isn’t there a scripture that tells us that which proves we are not orphans?”

Yep; you’ve just read it. So there are undoubtedly times when God does step directly into a Christian’s life with the aim of ‘course correcting’ the sinner.

But another take on this passage in Hebrews 12, is that God has already done that in the person and actions of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 5:8 speaking of Jesus, says, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;”  Already we have benefited from Christ’s sacrifice for us each as individuals. And knowing about that sacrifice, keeping that sacrifice well to the fore, should by itself help keep us on the straight and narrow. It’s not that God has got to demonstrate from time to time that we are not illegitimate or orphans, it’s more the other way about—we need to realise that we’ve been set on a road and it’s our job to pursue it, not to prove either to God or ourselves that we are known to God. No, it is because we are known to God that we walk the Christian walk.

As verse 11 concludes: “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Consider: those were the very thoughts that Jesus had to keep in mind as he endured such hostility (verse 3) to the point of death (verse 4), which we have not had to experience. But Jesus did experience on our behalf, and he endured for our benefit, and the result of his chastening was to buy us back from sin and death.

So whatever reverses you may be suffering, whether in life, in health, in whatever, it’s probably not God who is trying to tell you something, or that you have necessarily done something worthy of punishment, it’s more that God wants you to realise that you belong to him and he will take care of you, whatever happens. He’s already done everything necessary to bring that to pass.

Wow! Heavenly Father. When we consider what you did and what Jesus did, how can we fail to appreciate the love you have for us. May that register with us, so that we will follow you wholeheartedly and with joy. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by John Stettaford

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One Response to “9th May 2012”

  1. John Magowan on May 9th, 2012 9:10 am

    A nice take, John, on sickness and suffering. Good to know that our suffering is not necessarily due to God punishing us for our mistakes, but more to the fact that he is interested in drawing us closer to Jesus. Truly, God’s ways are not our ways! A very encouraging study-thanks.

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