And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. – Hebrews 12:5-11 (NIV)
What is your view of God? Your view of God most likely governs your view of grace and disciple. Do you see Him as an iron fisted judge who is out to punish you for every sin that you have committed in your past? Perhaps you feel that every bad thing that happens to you is payback for the error of your ways. On the contrary, perhaps you find yourself at the opposite extreme and are convinced that it is acceptable to continue to live in sin because your loving heavenly Father has placed a huge blanket of grace over every one of your past, present and future sins.
Despite the fact that we have a great need to be freed from the power of sin, when we don’t have a proper view of God’s grace, we tend to continue to let sin rule and reign over us. At the moment that we profess Jesus as our Lord and Savior, God remembers our sins no more for the sake of purging them from our record so that we will be seen blameless when we stand before the judgment seat of Christ. At the same time, He disciplines us for the error of our ways, not as a means of punishment, but to hem us in, protect us from self-destruction, and conform us into the likeness of our loving Savior.
To help better illustrate how grace and discipline work hand in hand, take for instance the individuals who take a defensive driving course in order to get a ticket dropped from their records. The defensive driving quiz is not meant to condemn the drivers but to basically create a timeout scenario, if you will, whereas the students are given a refresher course on safe driving and the benefits of operating within those confines. It also gives the drivers an opportunity to contemplate the negative effects that reckless driving could have on themselves and others. It is all designed to bring about a course correction and at the same time, in the end, the offense does not show up on the individual’s driving record.
Lord, grant me the wisdom and knowledge that I desperately need in order to properly understand grace and discipline so that I can freely live within the bounds of Your will for my life.