Proverbs 3:12 – For the Lord corrects those he loves,
just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.
Now when we truly understand the good news; when we truly understand that God is good; when we truly understand that God is love (and no fear of punishment exists in love), then we can always come to the Father boldly and with confidence. Knowing that whatever we’ve done or are facing, that He’s promised to discipline those that He loves. And when He disciplines, He always does it with gentleness and kindness, because that’s His character. He gives us whatever it may be that we were lacking. He opens our understanding of who we really are through this good news even further. That revelation, when embraced, transforms us more and more into His glory and likeness. Our awareness of the finished work is increased, and we will never be the same.
Now, I’ve been trying to get back to those two instances of people who came to Jesus and did NOT “get what they came for,” or who left without receiving an upgrade. The rich young ruler came to Jesus and called him “good.” Yet when Jesus asked him to sell all his possessions and give them to the poor, he left disappointed. This advice was not “good” to him. Yet if we look at the preceding discussion about God’s discipline, we can understand that Jesus was disciplining him. He was trying to give him something. He said, “if you will do this, you will have treasure in heaven.” If the man would’ve really understood that Jesus was in fact GOOD, and that everything He does is GOOD, he would’ve realized that Jesus was offering him an upgrade.
Remember, nobody that ever came to Jesus with a recognized need ever left empty-handed. I believe that had the man understood that this was a test to see if he would be faithful in the “little” he had, God would bless him with more. He left the gift on the table unopened. Jesus was not taking anything away from him. he was looking for someone He could trust with more.
The other instances were the teachers of the law. They came to Jesus and left empty-handed because they too failed to understand the love, goodness and discipline of God. They understood that breaking the law required penance and punishment, and therefore could not reconcile in their minds how a just God would “reward” a sinner with good gifts. But in reality, what they were seeing was only a foretaste of that which was yet to come. The cross made these good gifts available to anyone within the Spirit’s reach – and no longer confined it only to those within the reach of Jesus the man. No one is safe from a blessing anymore. The discipline of God has been released to run rampant through the streets.
Yes, God disciplines and corrects those He loves. But He also commands us to rest assured that His discipline is good and does not involve punishment. The price has already been paid for by the blood and body of Christ. Your blood and body are not required. Therefore, whenever we suffer, we are actually suffering unjustly – just as Jesus did. It is not by God’s hand, and therefore we should count it all joy. Because we enter into His suffering, we are promised to enter His glory as well. “Blessed are you who are counted WORTHY to suffer for Christ’s sake.” And how did Christ suffer? Justly or unjustly? Unjustly, which is how we also now suffer. But we will be blessed for this, because just as we enter into His suffering, so too we will enter into His glory! He will not allow you to suffer in vain. Your suffering is not unnoticed. God may even use your suffering as an opportunity to discipline you.
So, get ready! Get excited, because whenever God disciplines us, we always walk away encouraged, exhorted, and built up. He disciplines us to make us stronger. To reveal more of our inheritance that is available to us. To further establish us in our identity as royal, beloved sons of the one true king. His discipline is brilliant. His correction is refreshing.
The Spirit’s purpose is to convict you of righteousness. That means He’s working tirelessly to make sure you’re found guilty of being righteous, perfect and holy. He’s come to make war on every vain thought that would exalt itself against the name of Christ and who you are in Him. He’s come to tear down every stronghold in our minds, and He does this by establishing us in truth. By revealing to us who we really are through the finished work of Christ. He’s committed to disciplining us – in giving us everything we still need and are currently lacking (in our understanding), until we have the very same mind as Christ.
Think of it this way. God’s discipline is correction. If something needs corrected in our lives, then that means there is something out of place; out of order; insufficient; lacking; less than the truth in our lives. His discipline comes to correct the error in us with truth. To take what’s wrong with us and make it right. He’s not coming to take away something good from us. Remember He command us to repay no one evil for evil. But instead, repay blessing for cursing. You see, He’s showing us what He does. He’s revealing what He’s like. If we would happen to sin, God is not going to repay you with evil. He’s not going to come and punish you by taking away something (or someone) that you love. That would be repaying evil with evil. No! Even in our sin, He still offers us the gospel. He is still holding out the cross. He is still inviting us back into relationship with Him.
He knows that sin is only the absence of righteousness in our lives – or in many cases the absence of the understanding of righteousness in our lives! The only way to correct this wrong perception in us, is to bless us. To give us everything we need, everything we’re currently lacking in our understanding so that we will see the truth, and that the truth would not only set us free but transform us until we look like who we truly are. In Him. One with Him! That’s our true identity. As He was in this world – so are you now.
I don’t know about you, but this good news just keeps getting better and better. Everything is looking up from here. Because He is our very present help – even (and especially) in times of trouble. He’s more committed than we are to ensuring that this good work He started in us will be seen through until its completion. And that’s GOOD NEWS!