Part 23 of 25

The Father’s Correction

Most serious Christians who love the Lord will hunger and thirst after righteousness in their daily living. Matthew 5:6 (AMP) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God), for they shall be completely satisfied!  Yet, they must eventually come to realize they cannot achieve genuine righteous living by their own effort.

Have you, like me, ever found yourself repeating an act of sin against your better judgment? You know it is sin by the sense of His indwelling Spirit; yet you do it, and do it, and do it again? The cycle is we do it; we feel lousy about it, and later we do it again. We’ve then arrived at the state of the “oh wretched man that I am” (Rom 7:24), as the culmination of what Paul describes in Rom 7:17-24. Yet, we are not without hope. Our hope is in God’s ongoing post-salvation work in our lives to actually make us righteous in our daily living. After suffering enough failure, frustration and disgust, we will welcome the Lord’s hand in making us more righteous in our daily living. Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

We should realize that, thankfully, we will never be condemned by the Lord when we fail. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 (NIV). All believers stand righteous in God’s eyes because of what Jesus has done for us at the cross, not because of their success at living righteously. Thankfully also, not only does God count us righteous by our trusting in the shed blood of Christ, but also His needed hand is at work to orchestrate our situations and circumstances toward actually making use live righteous.

It is through the difficult circumstances of life that God works in our lives in such a way as to touch us deep within, to guide and correct us, to teach us in our daily living. It is also by the Father’s hand of correction that He makes us more righteous in our daily living. His correction teaches us to co-operate with the sense of Christ within us, to obey the inner sense we have by Christ’s indwelling life that speaks to us via the sense of our conscience and innermost spiritual awareness.

Now, under “the light of the glorious gospel of Christ” (2Cor 4:4) that Paul preached we can see that Christ has irrevocably come to dwell within every believer’s spirit (1Cor 6:17, Col 1:27), to be the Christian within. The Christian, just as the sinner, still may choose to walk in accord with “the light” or he may refuse to “walk in the light as He is in the light” (1John 1:6).

The Lord uses the light of Christ’s life as “Spirit of truth” within the believer's spirit to convict us in our heart concerning some particular chronic sin. John wrote concerning Jesus’ light effect upon the world that dwells in darkness – “(Jesus) in whom there is no darkness.” Jesus is “the light (that) is come into the world” (John 3:19, 8:12). Now He shines into the darkness in the Christian’s heart, to expose and overcome the darkness within our fallen souls (2Cor 4:6), to renew “our inward (soul) man” (2Cor 4:16). His light is as healing radium.

We may easily deceive ourselves and others. We may for a time say we have fellowship with Him, while we really are walking in darkness, refusing to admit what the light is showing us within. We may say we have no sin, but we deceive ourselves (1John 1:8, 10). Often the conviction of sin that we need and receive from the light of His Spirit comes as result of our being turned to Him as result of our suffering the consequences of our sin. This does not come from our “self-examination.” Our own light is but “sparks” (Isa 50:11); no, only “the light of (His) life” is the true light.

God’s genuine “conviction” is profitable to us. It’s not to be confused with the nagging, corroding, “condemnations” that are of the Devil. God’s conviction is a clear conviction by the Spirit of God. The Devil speaks generalities, seeking to smear us by a general sense of failure, uncleanness, confusion, and heaviness, seeking to separate us from the Lord. The answer to the Devil’s accusation is that “there is in now therefore no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus.” (Rom 8:1). By contrast, the Spirit of God speaks specifically, and we hear His voice; although rebuking us, His voice is sweet, clean, true, and acceptable to us. We know when conviction is of Him because we will not feel hopelessly condemned.

The Devil points us downward to despair, while God’s Spirit points us upward to cleansing that is ever-present by the Christ’s blood that was shed one time for all the sins of the whole world. (See the writers Study Series “The Blood of Christ and the Forgiveness of Sin”) Sin that is exposed in our life is no surprise to the Lord, nor is it difficult for “the Spirit and life of Christ” to deal with in us.

The question is, having seen the light; will we walk in the light? Walking is not standing still. It is progressing. We now walk forward, taking the first step by admitting the truth about some sinful aspect of our daily walk that He is fingering. Admitting the truth as seen via our conscience is our “confessing.” “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience?” (Hebrews 9:14) Christ’s blood took care of all our sins 2,000 years ago, fully satisfying God’s righteous justice, now “our confession” now “purges our conscience” – it’s for restoring our conscience.

As we agree, acknowledging the truth, as seen in the “light” of the Spirit, we are beginning to walk in the light. God may then point to some exact and immediate issue and action by which we had given entrance to Sin in order to show us what we must shun or cut out of our lives if we are to be sanctified unto Him.

Sometimes, what we call “suffering” is what the Father calls “chastisement.” His hand of chastisement upon us is correction for our learning. Early in our walk as young believers the Lord may not hold us responsible for some unrecognized sin in our walk. What parent would scold a baby for messing their diaper? It may be years before the Lord says the cigarettes must go. So later, the Lord may shine His light upon our heart, when it’s Him time to deal with cigarettes or some sinful issue in our walk.

Paul here describes the function and purpose of the Father’s hand in teaching us through what Paul calls “chastisement” – because He loves us. His chastisement upon us is the mark of our sonship (v8 below). We should read this and appreciate His hand upon us.

Hebrews 12:4-11 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving (Gk. agonizomai, struggle) against sin. 5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth (mastigoo, flogs) every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he FOR OUR PROFIT, THAT WE MIGHT BE PARTAKERS OF HIS HOLINESS. 11 Now no CHASTENING for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it YIELDETH THE PEACEABLE FRUIT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS unto them which are exercised thereby.

In our new way of living we must realize that we are under the loving hand of our Father God. We see His wise and loving hand of correction upon us, so we might learn to resist “sin” (v4). In verse 6 the word used for the Lord’s correction is “chastiseth,” which in Greek is “paideou,” meaning, “tutorage, to instruct” by scourging, as a figurative spanking.

God may say no to some sin in our lives via an inner conscious awareness of our sin. He will not permit us to persist in destructive sin without speaking clearly to us. Paul here writes the Ephesians about leaving sin.

Ephesians 4:17-24 (AMP) So this I say and solemnly testify in [the name of] the Lord [as in His presence], that you must NO LONGER LIVE AS THE HEATHEN (the Gentiles) do in their perverseness [in the folly, vanity, and emptiness of their souls and the futility] of their minds.

18 Their (the heathen’s) moral understanding is darkened and their reasoning is beclouded. [They are] alienated (estranged, self-banished) from the life of God [with no share in it; this is] because of the ignorance (the want of knowledge and perception, the willful blindness) that is deep-seated in them, due to their hardness of heart [to the insensitiveness of their moral nature]. 19 In their SPIRITUAL APATHY THEY HAVE BECOME CALLOUS AND PAST FEELING AND RECKLESS AND HAVE ABANDONED THEMSELVES [A PREY] TO UNBRIDLED SENSUALITY, EAGER AND GREEDY TO INDULGE IN EVERY FORM OF IMPURITY [that their depraved desires may suggest and demand].

20 But you did not so learn Christ! 21 ASSUMING THAT YOU HAVE REALLY HEARD HIM and BEEN TAUGHT BY HIM, as [all] Truth is in Jesus [embodied and personified in Him], 22 STRIP YOURSELVES OF YOUR FORMER NATURE [PUT OFF and DISCARD YOUR OLD UNRENEWED SELF] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion; 23 And BE CONSTANTLY RENEWED IN THE SPIRIT OF YOUR MIND [HAVING A FRESH MENTAL AND SPIRITUAL ATTITUDE], 24 And PUT ON (ENDUO, SIN INTO) THE NEW NATURE (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness.

Paul writes “…Assuming that you have really heard Him” (v21 above), you need to “Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion” (v22). We need to obey Christ’s living words being spoken within us – His inner spoken words are light unto our path; these “words are spirit and life” to empower us in our walk.

Repeatedly ignoring His inner speaking of “no” brings His outer speaking. God will be faithful to speak louder, perhaps by the words of others in our path of life, or by our circumstances that may be clearly saying “no.” He is faithful to speak to us with specificity. “He that is of God heareth God’s words” (John 8:47). We know what “we should not do…” and we have a part. E.g., if the Lord says “no more alcohol,” then our part is to not go to places that would tempt us. As we do our part He will make a way and empower us in our walk. If we still do not heed His inner restraint or His outer speaking, we are left to learn by bearing the full consequences of our refusal to listen and obey His innermost speaking. He will allow us to reap what we have sown, “for the good” (Rom 8:28-29).

Chastisement is as matter of love from our caring Father, not a matter of judgment from a judge. God’s chastisement is meant to be remedial, not punitive. Under Israel ’s “Law,” God pronounced and warned repeatedly of blessings and curses that would befall Israel as a nation. Thankfully, we today under “the dispensation of the grace of God” are not under the laws of blessing and cursing that were upon Israel . God Today does not deal with us as a nation, but rather as His individually birthed (reborn) children, who will at times endure His loving hand of correction for our learning and righteous living. Seeing this as being for our good, then we may come to understand Madame Guyon’s words “After a while you will embrace and welcome the cross in our lives” (paraphrased).

An example of the Lords work in changing us inwardly may be seen in the life of Jacob. Jacob originally was a manipulator and schemer to get what he wanted – to get the blessing of his father, Isaac.  Eventually Jacob found himself wrestling with the Lord at Peniel, where his thigh was touched and put out of joint – and with that Jacob was changed (Gen 32:24, 30). Though Jacob then forever walked with a limp, he had a personal encounter with the hand of the Lord; he was now changed. The Lord then changed His name to “ Israel .” The Lord forever changed Jacob in how he conducted his walk. May the Lord touch our thigh in like manner, “for the good” (Rom 8:28-29).

James and Peter here write to the Diaspora, “the scattered of Israel ” (James 1:1, 1Pet 1:1) concerning the very same principal to apply to the Messianic believers concerning the sufferings the chosen believers of Israel will endure during the Tribulation.

James 1:2-4 (AMP) Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, WHENEVER YOU ARE ENVELOPED IN OR ENCOUNTER TRIALS of any sort or fall into various temptations. 3 BE ASSURED AND UNDERSTAND THAT THE TRIAL AND PROVING OF YOUR FAITH BRING OUT ENDURANCE AND STEADFASTNESS AND PATIENCE. 4 But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so THAT YOU MAY BE [PEOPLE] PERFECTLY AND FULLY DEVELOPED [WITH NO DEFECTS], LACKING IN NOTHING.

1 Peter 5:10 And AFTER YOU HAVE SUFFERED A LITTLE WHILE, the God of all grace [Who imparts all blessing and favor], Who has called you to His [own] eternal glory in Christ Jesus, WILL HIMSELF COMPLETE AND MAKE YOU WHAT YOU OUGHT TO BE, ESTABLISH AND GROUND YOU SECURELY, AND STRENGTHEN, AND SETTLE YOU.