God’s discipline (chastening) is something that has always been taught from a sin perspective. But under the new covenant of Grace that came through Jesus Christ, God’s discipline is never about sin. In fact the offering of the body of Jesus Christ is once and for all, His perfect sacrifice takes away our sins forever. He has perfected us forever. Today He sits at the right hand of the father because of His finished work. And the Lord says “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
8 Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), 9 then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
15 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,
16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” 17 then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”[d] 18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.
There is no longer an offering for sin, Jesus has become our propitiation (mercy seat) Romans 3:21-26. When God looks at us He sees Jesus’ perfect sacrifice, He does not see our sin. We have become the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21), no longer living under the law that only speaks to the flesh but under grace that fills us with His Spirit and makes us a new creation.
2 Corinthians 5:21
16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
So if we have been freed from the law and are dead to sin and there is now no condemnation for those that are in Christ (Romans 6, 7 & 8) why would God’s discipline be discipline from sin. Based on this truth, God’s discipline cannot be discipline from sin. Under the true Gospel of Grace sin will have no dominion over us because we are not under the law (Romans 6:14).
As I continued to study the Word on God’s discipline I found that there are only two main passages in the New Testament that specifically speak about God’s discipline. The first is Hebrews, and Hebrews means Jews as in the Hebrew language of the Jewish people. Hebrews was written specifically to Jewish believers in Jesus Christ. Hebrews quotes the Old Testament scriptures (The Law and the Prophets) 36 times. This is the second most out of all of the epistles. Romans quotes the Old Testament 57 times, and reading Romans it is evident that Paul is writing to Jew believers or a mixture of both Jew and Gentile believers. In Romans Paul says things like “for I speak to those who know the law.”. And like Romans, Hebrews is a transitional book, one that uses evidence from the Old Testament scriptures to prove the fullness of salvation to those who believe in Jesus Christ. Transitioning from the old covenant of the law to the new covenant of grace. The first couple of chapters in Hebrews speaks about how God spoke to past fathers through prophets, but now in the last days has spoken to us by His Son. It goes on to explain what God has done through Jesus, it talks about salvation, faith, the rebellion in the wilderness and not entering into rest. Chapter 8 transitions to talking about the old covenant becoming obsolete and the need for the new covenant.
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 8 Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—9 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
The author of Hebrews goes on to speak about not falling back to perdition (the law/spiritual waste) but to keep the faith in Jesus Christ , he then explains faith in great detail and goes through the hall of faith. Explaining how the fathers of old had faith in the Lord even though they did not see but yet they did not receive the promise. God has provided something better for us (Hebrews 11:39-40), His Son Jesus. He starts chapter 12 talking about the race of faith and looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Then he moves on to God’s discipline.
6 “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;For whom the Lord loves He chastens,And scourges every son whom He receives.”
7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.
It is clear that God’s discipline is not a discipline from sin but a discipline for when we fall from grace. It is a discipline to keep us under grace and away from the old covenant of the law. “The strength of sin is the law” – 1 Corinthians 15:56 He is writing to a people that were born into the covenant of the law and had lived under the law for many generations. They needed God’s discipline to move into the Gospel of grace that came through Jesus. It continues to say in Hebrews 12 that God chastens us “for our profit,that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God;
18 For you have not come to the mountain that[c] may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness[d] and tempest,19 and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. 20 (For they could not endure what was commanded: “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned[e] or shot with an arrow.”[f] 21 And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”[g])
22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.”
What wonderful scripture that moves us away from the law and to grace, even our discipline to remain in grace is not self effort but God’s effort. In Galatians 5 Paul talks about not burdening ourselves again with the yoke of slavery (the law). That if we attempt to be justified by the law, Christ becomes of no effect to us and we have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. And as we saw in Hebrews 12:11, God’s discipline “yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” It is not self effort righteousness but it is a fruit, the gift of righteousness and abundance of grace through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17). God’s discipline is to remove us from being yoked by the law and move us fully under His Grace that produces His righteousness, His gift to us through Jesus Christ.
The second place that the New Testament talks about God’s discipline is in Revelations 3:14-21 :
14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
I had always heard teaching that said “you must be on fire for God at all times because He despises Christians that are lukewarm”, teachings that place a focus on sin and bring fear. This type of teaching is not from God and is incorrect interpretation of God’s Word. What Revelations 3 is talking about is mixed covenants. Cold being the law and hot being grace. They have mixed covenants, saved by grace but living by the law and boasting in the flesh and their self righteousness ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’. Not knowing that being justified by the law and their self righteousness makes them “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked”. They don’t know that righteousness is a gift from God , that under the finished work of Jesus we are dead to the law and to sin. In their incorrect believing the Lord counsels them to buy from Him gold refined in the fire (righteousness) and white garments (cleansing of sins) but we know that theses things cannot be bought they are a gift under the pure gospel of grace. He asks them to anoint their eyes with eye salve, so that they might be able to see the truth. But we know that grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Truth is not something we receive through works. God didn’t chastise (discipline) them or rebuke them, He counseled them under their incorrect belief of mixed covenants. Proving that only those that are under grace know the pure love of God, if you are under the law you will not experience His love and cannot receive the gift of righteousness. Instead God asks them to be zealous and repent (change their minds), to move away from the law and to be fully under grace. He stands at the door and knocks, they need to receive Him and His full finished work then they will be fully under grace, receiving the gift of righteousness and fully living in truth. Under grace they can then experience the Lord’s love and His discipline that keeps them under His grace and away from the law.
Continued in part 2…