The Difference Between Discipline and Condemnation

Some who hold to an “error-by-emphasis” concerning grace ignore the fact that Jesus disciplines us and the Father chastens us. Their thinking is, “If Jesus forgave all my sin and I’m not condemned, how could He discipline and chastise me?”

But the Scripture plainly states that He does. Imagine a father who says of his toddler the following:

My daughter will always be my blood-kin. I will always unconditionally accept her and she will always be related to me. I will never disown her, no matter what she does. I’m related to her by blood. That will never change. In fact, I love her so much that she’s already forgiven, despite the wrong things that she will do in life and the mistakes she will make. But when my daughter does something wrong, there are consequences. I discipline her. Why? Because I have a duty to train her to do good and I want her to mend any relationship she damages. It’s the same way with God. He unconditionally accepts us. He is our Father and we are His children. That doesn’t change. In addition, because of Jesus’ shed blood, He has forgiven us long before we ever screwed up. But because He is our Father and He loves us, He will chasten us when repeatedly act contrary to our new nature in Him. And Jesus will discipline us. This isn’t condemnation, it’s loving correction. It may not feel good, but sometimes love doesn’t feel good.

            Point: Just because you and I are forgiven by the blood of Christ for all our sins–past, present, and future–that doesn’t mean there are no consequences to our actions. It doesn’t mean that the Spirit cannot be grieved. It doesn’t mean the Spirit cannot be quenched. And it doesn’t mean that the Lord cannot be displeased with a particular act or attitude we adopt.

God can unconditionally accept us, while disciplining us because we are His much-loved children. Remember, His ultimate goal is to confirm us to the image of Jesus, His Son (Rom. 8:28-29).

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.  Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!  They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:7-11, NIV

From Jesus Now by Frank Viola, author

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Jesus – Author & Finisher of Our Faith

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith …

Hebrew 12:2 KJV

Beyond being our high priest, chief shepherd, and heavenly bridegroom, another aspect of the present-day ministry of Jesus Christ is His ability to complete what He began in us.

This aspect has to do with spiritual growth and transformation. Not only is Christ in heavenly places interceding for us, but He’s also within every believer by His Spirit, forming His character within each of His disciples.

One of the most incredible promises in all of the Bible is Paul’s statement in Philippians 1:6:

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Paul was confident: What Jesus Christ began in your life will be completed.

Consequently, when you feel discouraged that you’re not growing like you want to … when you feel depressed that you keep having the same struggles and challenges … when you don’t see any progress in your spiritual life, remember: He who brought you to Himself will eventually perfect you. He will complete the work that He began in you, for He is the author and finisher of our faith.

Jesus said that He is the way, the truth and the life. Consider the word “life.” Just which is “life—“ the beginning or the end of it?

Is life more about the birth, growth, or maturing? We need to decide. I say this with a wink and a smile. We would never say that life is any one of those things. Life is all of them, and every point in between. Life is up and down, backwards and forwards, breathing and holding our breath. Life is about stopping and starting, action and reaction, giving and taking.

Life is! And the same can be said of Jesus Christ. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the beginning and the end. The A to Z. He is the One at the starting point and at the end, at the same moment.  And His life is deposited within every believer when they repent and believe upon Him. But that’s not the end. That life–His life–grows in us and shapes our characters. If we allow it to.

by Frank Viola Author

Sitting, Walking, and Standing

The New Testament repeatedly says that since His ascension, Jesus has been sitting at the right hand of God the Father in heavenly realms (Acts 2:33; 5:31; Rom. 8:34; Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 1 Pet. 3:22).

The “right hand” is a metaphor that speaks of the authority, power, and universal rule emanating from God’s throne.

Yet when Stephen was being stoned, he peered into the heavens and saw Jesus standing—not sitting—at God’s right hand (Acts 7:55–56). This, to me, indicates that Jesus was cheering for Stephen, awaiting his arrival in heavenly places.

From the book of Revelation, we learn that Jesus also “walks” in the midst of His churches, typified by golden lampstands (Rev. 2:1). So Christ sits, Christ stands, and Christ walks in His present-day ministry.

Interestingly, Paul told us in the book of Ephesians that the Christian sits in heavenly places with Christ (Eph. 1:20; 2:6), walks in the world (Eph. 4:1, 17), and stands against the Enemy (Eph. 6:11, 13). Thus we mirror the same three postures our Lord uses.

Because Jesus is our great high priest, we have a friend in high places. We have connections with the Creator. So we can always come to the throne of grace and pour out our hearts to the Lord, and we will not be turned away.

Jesus Christ is a perfect high priest, a perfect advocate, a perfect intercessor, and a perfect mediator who has given us a perfect covenant with God.

As such, He saves us from the wrath to come. He saves us from guilt and condemnation. He saves us from ourselves. As we saw in Hebrews 7:25, Jesus “saves us to the uttermost” (ESV).

He is also a priest after the order of Melchizedek, which means His priesthood is eternal, universal, and perfect (Ps. 110:4; Heb. 5:6–10; 6:20; 7:1–26).

Like Melchizedek, Jesus is both priest and king. He is a mediator who is both God and man, one person in two natures.

Hebrews 13:20 speaks of the eternal covenant. Jesus has no successor as high priest because His once-and-for-all sacrifice obtained eternal redemption for us. In other words, the eternal Son gives us eternal salvation in which we can be secure forever. There’s nothing that can be added to it.

Remember: There’s a throne of grace waiting for you. Consequently, don’t run away from Jesus when you sin. Run to Him.

The Christ we live with daily is a practical high priest! He has invested in us, moment by moment. It’s not about a ritual, or some sort of useless head knowledge that doesn’t effect our everyday lives.  It’s about reality and experience. Because Jesus is your high priest, you cannot lose. Get ahold of these realities and believe them. They will change your life.

by Frank Viola author of Jesus Now.