World English Bible translation
12:4You have not yet resisted to blood, striving against sin; 12:5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which reasons with you as with sons,
"My son, don't take lightly the chastening of the Lord,
Nor faint when you are reproved by him;
12:6 For whom the Lord loves, he chastens,
12:7It is for discipline that you endure. God deals with you as with sons, for what son is there whom his father doesn't discipline? 12:8 But if you are without discipline, whereof all have been made partakers, then are you illegitimate, and not sons. 12:9 Furthermore, we had the fathers of our flesh to chasten us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live? 12:10 For they indeed, for a few days, punished us as seemed good to them; but he for our profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness. 12:11 All chastening seems for the present to be not joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been exercised thereby.
In this letter of faith one of the highlights was the chapter that enumerated the great men and women of faith the Jewish people. The author used the example of these heroes and heroines to encourage his audience to endure in their own faithfulness. If they are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, then they must do all that they can to run the race well. They must put away the sin and faulty thinking that can encumber them and cause them to stumble in their faith.
Today's Scripture takes up the theme of this striving against sin. In the striving against sin, we must accept discipline against our own natural urges; both our own self-discipline and the discipline imposed on us by God the Father.
In the beginning there is only the disciple of God. Just as a child does not know what is good for him, a new Christian does not know what he or she ought to do either. But, God the Father disciplines us, teaching us through our own mistakes and missteps. Often this discipline seems harsh and our sinful nature rebels against it. Just as a small child rebels against the training of his parents, our own spirits rebel against the training of God.
Our physical selves can be any age when we come to faith in Christ, but our spirits are always born anew in Christ. We are a new creation. The struggle against sin is completely foreign to us and at first we donít have the "muscles" for it. At first we don't even realize what sin is, but God teaches us through the discipline of our spirits until we begin to see sin as God sees it.
Just as children grow and mature, at some point we begin to mature spiritually as well. We will never outgrow the constant need for communion with our Father, but at some point the discipline of the Spirit begins to yield the fruit of righteousness in our lives. The goal of the disciple of God is for us to learn self-discipline. Self-discipline does not imply the absence of the work of God in our lives or our absolute reliance on His grace and mercy. Rather, the growth of self-discipline in our lives means beginning to understand the proper role of God in our lives and how we might live within His grace.
The discipline of God leads us to reliance on God. As we grow in grace, we begin to live lives that model the life of Christ Himself. We begin to live self-disciplined lives that reflect the glory of God that is at work in our spirits.
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