If God were to send every single human being to hell,
He would be perfectly justified.
Without the life, death & resurrection of Christ, Christianity would be meaningless (1 Cor.15:13-14) and our destination would be eternal condemnation and separation from God in hell regardless of what we do.
Thankfully, because of God’s love, grace and mercy, our relationship with Him may now be restored by placing our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ
Being a Christian does not eliminate us from God’s Discipline. As a matter fact it provokes it.
And this is a harsh yet incredible and pleasurable fact.
A Father’s Discipline
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives. It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
Chastise:To punish or criticize severely/ to correct or purify.
A loving Father would never allow his child to consistently place his hand on a hot stove. If he has to tell the child to stop, or physically drag the child away from the stove, he will do it regardless of his child’s complaints.
As children, we often grumbled about how strict and harsh our parents were when we were younger. But as we grew, we became more aware of how well they disciplined us into the people we are now.
It’s no different with us as Christians.
Our God is a Father, who shows compassion to those who fear him (Psalm 103:13). More importantly, our God is a perfect Father (Psalm 18:30;Psalm 147:5). Therefore, as sons & daughters of Him we must learn to believe that His discipline always comes in a loving manner as a Father is to his child.
Why does God Discipline?
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 11:32 that God disciplines us so that we may not be condemned along with the world. His discipline also yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness (Hebrews 12:11) thus preventing us from been led astray into lawlessness and the fleeting sinful desires of the world. By yielding this fruit, we are able grow in holiness and deepen in our relationship with God, which is our greatest joy (Hebrews 12:14)
How Does God Discipline His Children?
This is one of the biggest questions I’ve asked myself, and the answer is going to frustrate a lot of people.
I do not know.
Many of us believe that all sorts of pain and suffering must come from the enemy (Satan). However Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:27-32 that some believers in the Corinthian church were disciplined through illness and death due to their unworthy manner of partaking in the Lord’s Supper.
Likewise, some of us also make the mistake of assuming that all sorts of pain & suffering falls under the discipline of God because of our sins. However the example in John 9:2-3 concerning the blind man clearly contradicts this thought.
This is a very tough pill to swallow, but here is the truth.
Our job as Christians is not to discern what is and isn’t the discipline of God.
Our job is not to curse Satan for everything that’s gone wrong in life.
Our job is to endure all measures of pain and suffering in joy for the sake of our faith.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
The key words here are “of various kinds”.
Consider the story of Job as an example.
God tested Job by allowing Satan to severely strike him through intensive hardships such as loss of wealth, death of his sons and daughters, open sores etc (Job 2:1-6).
His friends were convinced that these sufferings were a result of Job’s disobedience and lack of fear onto God. However, Job endured these sufferings through faith without fully understanding why they were happening in the first place. Humanly speaking, he had every right to turn on God and curse his enemy, but Job remained faithful onto Him.
As God lives, who has taken away my right,
and the Almighty, who has made my soul bitter,
as long as my breath is in me,
and the spirit of God is in my nostrils,
my lips will not speak falsehood,
and my tongue will not utter deceit.
Far be it from me to say that you are right;
till I die I will not put away my integrity from me.
I hold fast my righteousness and will not let it go;
my heart does not reproach me for any of my days.
We can have week-long discussions concerning the theology of God’s discipline, tactics of Satan and our sufferings.
But the reality is this.
Pain and suffering will come.
It is very real and sometimes unbearable.
The challenge is learning to endure these things joyfully knowing that the testing of our faith produces steadfastness (constant & unwavering).
The easiest question to ask in suffering is why,
The toughest, yet most beneficial thing to do is to praise God through the pain (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Whether it be discipline or not, all things work together for the good of those who love Him. Stay strong
Soli Deo Gloria