Chastisement and Suffering Part 2: Should Christians Expect Chastisement?

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Should Christians expect chastisement from God? This can be a confusing topic. As Christians, we are counted as righteous before God through the blood of Jesus. Our sins are paid in full and we are forgiven. There is also a scripture in Isaiah 53 stating that Jesus bore our chastisement. Here is an excerpt:

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Jesus endured the chastisement of God on our behalf. What about scripture that indicates a reasonable expectation of chastisement for a Christian, such as that in Hebrews 12? Here is an excerpt:

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

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:

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

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?

There is also this scripture in Revelation 3 addressing the church of the Laodiceans:

15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

We might also think about this teaching of Jesus in Luke 12 regarding faithful and unfaithful servants:

45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;

46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

First, what does it mean to be a Christian? Of course, we believe in Jesus. We believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died for our sins, rose from the dead, and is sat down on the right hand of God. We believe that through faith in Jesus, we are passed from judgment into life eternal.

We are also given this understanding: through Jesus, we are joint heirs and adopted sons of God. If we are to be sons, should we not expect some chastisement? It would seem so. However, God is a good Father. As sons through faith in Jesus, we are not His enemies. He loves us, and so He will correct us. His correction can be difficult, but it is not unjust or unbearable.

Jesus bore that which was unbearable, and He helps us bear all things including the chastisement we endure as sons of God.

What sort of chastisement should a Christian expect?

Consider how a just man would chastise his children. We should have some idea of what good parenting looks like. If we who are faulty can correct our children in a just and effective manner, how much more can God?

When we are new babes in Christ, we learn of His undying love. We are forgiven, we approach God in awe, and we want to learn what faith in Jesus means. As we learn to move about, we stumble and fall. God picks us up, time and time again in love. We also experience some corrections.

As we continue to learn and grow, God expects more from us, therefore the chastening can increase if we were to go astray, but He also knows our hearts and He knows what we need. If we are trying sincerely and trust in Him, then our correction could be minimal. However, the further our hearts turn away from Him, the more severe the correction may need to be.

There is much we could think about. In any case, I believe that chastening is part of the Christian life; however, we know that the Lord does not chastise us as enemies but as sons. He is loving, merciful, and wise. He knows us individually and He knows precisely what we need.

Sometimes we feel a soft conviction in our heart. Sometimes we feel great shame and sorrow. Sometimes we have an ongoing struggle, but we admit our fault and trust in Jesus to forgive and help us overcome, therefore we have faith instead of shame and sorrow. Sometimes the Lord removes things from us, and this can include small comforts or a large-scale overturn of our world.

How do we receive the chastisement of God?

Sometimes God sends a brother to rebuke us and help us along and sometimes He speaks to us directly in spirit. Sometimes God sends an enemy.

It all depends on what we need according to our spiritual maturity, the time we are living in, and the purposes of God for each individual and for the world at large.

For those who are given much and have much required of them: Do not lay your burdens on others.

Though we all inherit eternal life, we do not inherit equal portions. God expects more from some, so He will correct some more thoroughly than He would another. This is one of many reasons why we are instructed to correct each other in the spirit of meekness.

We should protect those who are frail in the faith and encourage growth as much as is possible while remembering that Jesus is merciful, and we all bring forth differing amounts of fruit. We do not always know what state of growth another is in or how far God intends to take them.

A little good fruit is pleasing to the Lord, and we should not squash it. “A bruised reed shall he not break, and a smoking flax shall he not quench.” We should dare not offend the little ones who believe in Him. We should dare not beat out fellow servants. We should live in peace and patience, lest that which we were entrusted with is given to another.

The variables pertaining to chastisement for a Christian are vast because we are individuals and Jesus is not a judicial system but our personal Lord and Savior.

In any case, we know this: God is just and merciful. Those whom He loves as sons receive what is good for them. Sometimes what we need is difficult and painful emotionally or physically, but all things work for our ultimate good: resurrection from the dead and an everlasting inheritance.

Chastisement can feel like a form of suffering, but sometimes we suffer for other reasons. Sometimes we suffer for the name sake of Jesus, not because of some wrong we have done. Such suffering helps us to grow, brings glory to God, and is an honor given to us rather than a form of correction or punishment. In the next article, I want to talk more about suffering apart from that which we endure through chastisement.

6 thoughts on “Chastisement and Suffering Part 2: Should Christians Expect Chastisement?

  1. I would have written to you privately but found no way to contact you other than to leave a comment.

    I am extremely concerned with some of what you wrote. This for example:

    “Though we all inherit eternal life, we do not inherit equal portions. God expects more from some, so He will correct some more thoroughly than He would another.”

    I ask that you provide specific chapter and verse from the Word and Bible translation to substantiate your claim that while the Lord’s people all inherit eternal life, they do not inherit equal portions and that Yahweh corrects some more thoroughly than He would another.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I appreciate that you care enough to comment, so thank you.

      I get the above idea from scripture and from life experience. Some of the scripture I mentioned in the article.

      It helps if we think about what it means to inherit more. A “greater” inheritance means greater service. Think of what Jesus said about whosoever is greatest in the Kingdom is servant of all (Matthew 23:11).

      Of course, Jesus is the first and the last. He is the King of Kings and also the Servant of Servants. The greater the responsibility, the greater the need for service and sacrifice.

      We see this illustrated in scriptures such as the parable of the talents in which Jesus stated that those who were faithful in the least things are given a few cities, those who are faithful in greater things are given more cities (Luke 19).

      Now, we do not fully understand what we will be doing in God’s Kingdom, but we know that we will serve. Jesus also said that when He returns, we will not sit around and enjoy carnal pleasures, but we will immediately wait on Him (Luke 17:7). We will rule with Him, and we are not given the same amount of rule or service.

      We see this presently. Some are given to be apostles and prophets, some teachers, some helpers, and so on (Ephesians 4). All are important and no one should see themselves as something greater (in-fact we are instructed to esteem others as higher than ourselves). Even so, some forms of service entail a higher office, and this requires more self-sacrifice and a finely tuned walk with Jesus. For example, a pastor is given some strict guidelines, and it is not possible or fair to hold all believers to that standard (Titus).

      In this life, the greater the service, the more we need to show ourselves able to obey Jesus. So, it makes sense that Jesus would finely tune those who He is fitting for greater service. He says somewhat of this when He speaks of some being beaten with few stripes verses those beaten with lesser stripes. He also says somewhat of this when He says that we bring forth differing amounts of fruit.

      In any case, we all need the grace of God. None of us will achieve perfection in this life apart from the blood of Jesus. Yet, we aim to have our inner man conformed to His image and we are rewarded according to the measure of faith and grace given to us. When we are raised from the dead, we will all be as Jesus is (1 John). However, we will not all receive the same level of service—neither in the present-day experience of His Kingdom or in the everlasting Kingdom. And with greater service comes great responsibility and need for a finely tuned walk. Great service also means greater sacrifice, so we should consider what cup we are asking for before we go after greater service. At least, that is my understanding.

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  2. Good Afternoon, Amanda.

    Thank you for responding to my comment and for giving me a better understanding of what you believe.

    If I may, I would like to respond with a rather lengthy comment. As a foundation to my response, it is my desire and hope that what I write to you and your reading of what I’ve written will hold to the absolute truth written by the prophet Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 55:8-10 (I am providing you with The Scriptures translation by The Institute for Scripture Research/ISR), so that we both glorify our Father as we fellowship together in His Word:

    8. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares יהוה (Hebrew for Yahweh our Father)
    9. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

    I share these verses with you because we all profit from holding up the teachings of man (the doctrines or traditions of man handed down from within the church through many generations, which have been and continue often times to be in error) to the light of the inerrant teachings of our Father Yahweh.

    As you already know, all of our Father’s Covenant people are walking in progressive revelation as His Spirit teaches us little-by-little and we walk in what we learn through obedience little-by-little. BUT none of His people while in the earth have complete understanding. We each know in part (1 Corinthians 13:9/ISR) and now we see in a mirror, dimly (1 Corinthians 13:12/ISR). This causes us to be dependent on Him which is a very good thing!

    Speaking through the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 17:9/ISR, Yahweh tells us:

    9. The heart is crooked (See Jer. 7:24; Jer. 16:12; Jer. 18:12; Jer. 23:17) above all, and desperately sick – who shall know it?

    The children of Israel, in the time of what is referred to as the Old Testament, believed that the heart was the seat of the activities of what we know today to be the brain. So the prophet is saying that the mind (brain) is crooked (as it was then, so it is today). Incidentally, the kidneys were believed to be the seat of man’s emotions. In verse 10 of Jeremiah 17, Yahweh continues to speak through the prophet concerning the heart (mind/brain) and then also concerning the kidneys (the seat of man’s emotions we refer to as the heart today).

    All this to say that the gift of revelation of God’s Word from Him is subject to egregious error on our part because of our biases, carnal desires, experiences colored by our crooked minds that do not think as Yahweh thinks, doctrines and traditions we accept from others who are not walking in truth, etc. This is where additions and subtractions from God’s Word come from and it is grievous sin. This is also where deception is born and passed along. When the Word exhorts us to guard our hearts (meaning minds) we do well to heed the warning.

    In the greater context of the passage you referenced, Matthew 23:11, our Master, Messiah Yeshua (Jesus), was exhorting the assembled people and His disciples concerning the religious leaders (the scribes who were the synagogue teachers of both the Torah and the elders’ traditions and the pharisees who taught an oral law which was filled with their traditions concerning the Torah they believed Moses received from Yahweh at Mt. Sinai and which they actually exalted above the absolutely true Word of Yahweh in the actual Torah – Genesis thru Deuteronomy).

    In this twenty-third chapter He cautioned His listeners about these religious leaders’ many errors. In verse 11 Messiah is telling His listeners (and readers such as you and I) that the greatest among them (and us today) is to be their (our) servant. This is huge and certainly came against the pride of the religious leaders of that day and dare I say many of our church leaders today.

    Greatest in this verse is the Greek word, meizōn (Strong’s G-3187) which comes from the Greek word, megas (Strong’s G-3173). The combined meaning of these words are, among other meanings: predicated of rank as belonging to persons eminent for ability, virtue, authority, power; an elder. Of things which overstep the province of a created being, proud (presumptuous) things, full of arrogance, derogatory to the majesty of God.

    We should note that these are things conferred by man upon man. Matthew 23:11 is not speaking of “greatness” conferred by Yahweh upon man. You may wish to refer to Matthew 5:19 to read who Messiah tells us will be “great” in the Kingdom of Heaven.

    I do not find in the testimony of the Word of Yahweh anything that supports a belief that there is any sort of hierarchy of importance within the body of Messiah as related to gifts and calling. Our Messiah had these important words to say in Matthew 20:18-28/ISR:

    18. See, we are going up to Yerushalayim (Jerusalem), and the Son of Aḏam (Son of Man) shall be delivered up to the chief priests and to the scribes. And they shall condemn Him to death,
    19. and deliver Him to the nations to mock and to flog and to impale. And the third day He shall be raised.
    20. Then the mother of the sons of Zaḇdai (Zebedee) came to Him with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him.
    21. And He said to her, What do you wish? She said to Him, Command that these two sons of mine might sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your reign.
    22. But יהושע (Hebrew for Yeshua) answering, said, You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and to be immersed with the immersion that I am immersed with? They said to Him, “We are able.”
    23. And He said to them, You shall indeed drink My cup, and you shall be immersed with the immersion that I am immersed with. But to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.
    24. And when the ten heard it, they were displeased at the two brothers.
    25. But יהושע (Hebrew for Yeshua) called them near and said, You know that the rulers of the nations are masters over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them.
    26. But it shall not be so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you, let him be your servant.
    27. And whoever wishes to be first among you, let him be your servant,
    28. even as the Son of Aḏam (Son of Man) did not come to be served, but to serve, (Mark 10:45; Isa. 49:1-7) and to give His life as a ransom for many.

    Our Messiah’s life exemplified what it means to be a servant of the Most High. As He was in the earth, so are we to be. It is only man who confers an unbiblical greatness upon other men and women and this is not the example we are to imitate if we are living as imitators of Messiah and growing into His likeness.

    Our future inheritance, like all other gifts we are given in Messiah Yeshua, will be given to us without partiality (a partiality which is a sickness of man’s invention within the church). Whatever our Father gives us to do as His servants in our earthly lifetime, our lives in the Millennial Kingdom and then on into the New Jerusalem will be as those created who exist to worship and glorify Him alone. No one can now or will then be able to say that one is more important than another. Each body part in Messiah Yeshua and each gift given is of equal importance in the eyes of our Father even though they are diverse. 1 Corinthians 12 is an important chapter concerning these matters.

    Thank you for reading my comment, Amanda. I pray that our Father will correct both of us should we be in error in any way. To be humble and teachable are righteous attributes of Messiah’s disciples that I pray we both will always express. I thank Him for you and pray that you will enjoy His keeping presence as you grow in the knowledge of His Truth and obedience to it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Lengthy comments are welcome, though I hope I do not overlook anything in my reply. In essence, I do not think we disagree. I think the confusion is when greatness is defined by what mankind would think is great, according to the wicked ways of our heart (of which, as you mention and as the scriptures indicate, we should be on-guard against).

    What I mean by great is not great in terms of hierarchy of importance according to the vanity and pride of man, but of weight of responsibility and service. Mankind does not like to think that God would give greater responsibility to some than others. He said so Himself in the parable of the workers of the field: “Is your eye evil because my eye is good? Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with what is mine.” This entails doing as you mentioned in quoting Matthew 5:19, not a task of usurping God’s glory, but bringing Him glory through doing and teaching His word.

    We do not compare ourselves to each other, but to Jesus. In doing so, we do not esteem ourselves as “greater.” I think of what Paul the apostle wrote. He wrote that our weaker members receive greater honor. Those who are weak among us should be favored because they need care all the more (1 Corinthians 12:23). Again, this goes against the ways of man. It is indeed true, our thoughts are not His thoughts, nor our ways His ways.

    The point I was making in this assertion, in the context of chastisement, is this: Some people begin to esteem themselves highly as some great minister of God. Yet, they beat their fellow servants over the head with scripture and “chastisement.” In reality, someone “great” is servant. Someone “great” has greater responsibility and therefore should expect chastening and fine-tuning in their walk with the Lord so they might be a more effective minister. It is unfair to hold others to that standard (a standard many ministers hold to others yet refuse to hold to themselves). If faithful, then those who serve now will continue to serve in the Kingdom to come, and we will not serve equally. God can do what He will with what is His.

    It seems that those who truly receive “greater” service would know that it is of God and would not feel puffed up in it, but humbled by it and sober-minded due to the gravity of the service. It seems to me that those who serve are esteemed as less than, not highly regarded. Our churches do corrupt this with the glorification of ministers. I do not subscribe to any denomination, but I try to be servants of all, and this makes me least and often hated or ignored because I cannot conform to any one denomination or Christian sect. Therefore I am on the outskirts. There is no glory of man in true service to God, or at least, it should not be so.

    Again, I appreciate the discussion. If I am not hearing your correctly, I apologize. I also apologize that I am not as clear of a communicator as I’d like to be, especially concerning topics I am still learning about. These are recent revelations for me and I’m still learning. I also appreciate that we will continue to learn, and as Paul the apostle wrote, “we know nothing as we aught to.” I trust the Lord will bring us to better understanding over time, according to His perfect timing and what He needs from us.

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