The Discipline of God

I heard about a young boy who went off to one of these extremely expensive universities. The bills were coming in monthly to his parents, and they were struggling to keep their heads above water. One day the boy’s mother received a letter from him that read like this: “ … More


In today’s passage we find the teaching of discipline by our heavenly Father. There are at least three ways God could deal with us when we sin:

  1. First of all, God could condemn us - that would be legalism
  2. Then again God could condone us - that would be liberalism
  3. He can correct us - that is love

In the first few verses of this chapter the writer is saying, “If you are not a Christian, get in the race, because you have to enter before you can hope to win. If you are a Christian, run with endurance and don’t give up (vv. 1-2). Many of the Hebrew Christians, to whom this letter was written, had started well. But as the new began to wear off and problems began to arise. They started looking back at the old ways of Judaism, and they began to weaken and waver.

The key word in the next few verses is “discipline.” God uses hardship and affliction as a means of discipline and training His children, and to help them mature in their spiritual lives (vv. 3-4). The first thing we should think of when we are suffering is our Father’s love, “for whom the Lord loves He chastens (disciplines)” (v. 5-6). The second thing that discipline proves is our sonship (vv. 7-8). If we never get disciplined we are probably not sons at all.


God reminds me in this passage that even though trials come, they could be worse. Hardships only prove that I am one of his sons. A father that truly loves his child disciplines him. I am so glad that my heavenly Father loves me!

Hebrews 12:1-8 (English Standard Version)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 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? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »