God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
I want you to imagine that you and I go to the roof of a tall building. You are an obedient Christian; I am a disobedient Christian. We both jump off the top of that building. What is going to happen to us? The answer is obvious: splat and splat. It does not matter that you are obedient and I am disobedient–the law of gravity applies to both of us.
The same thing is true of God’s discipline. You may have lived your life as an obedient Christian for years before you wander away from God. But none of us is exempt from God’s discipline. As Hebrews 12:6-7 says, “‘Those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.’ . . . For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?” God’s reproofs are impartial. They apply to every Christian, all those who have been received as God’s children.
Yet there are plenty of Christians who live as if they are exempt from the discipline described in Hebrews 12. They think God will allow them to get away with things that other people cannot get away with. Have you ever felt that way? Perhaps because of some dramatic conversion experience you had thirty years ago, or because Grandpa was a preacher, or because you are Sunday school teacher, or because you have been pretty good at obeying God in the past–for whatever reason, you think God will not send His discipline into your life, that He will not allow hardship into your life in order to correct you.
That is what the Corinthian Christians believed. They thought that because they were a part of such a great church, they could live however they wanted to. In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul warned them, “I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers [the Israelites] were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; . . . and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink. . . . Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness” (vv. 1, 3-5).
Do you remember what happened to the Israelites on the way to the promised land because they were disobedient? God sentenced them to forty years of wandering in the wilderness, and they died in the wilderness without ever experiencing the promised land. In fact, if you could have flown over the desert back then, you would have seen the desert littered with the bodies of God’s own people, the Israelites, who were disciplined by God.
Paul was saying, “Not even God’s chosen people were exempt from God’s discipline, and neither are you.” You and I are not exempt either. God’s discipline is impartial; nobody is exempt from it.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Reproofs That Restore” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2020.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org