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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