GOD SANCTIFIES US THROUGH CHASTENING
Strong's says that in the derivatives of this word (G4012) is the meaning, "with respect to . . . circumstance." These definitions give the impression that, because of our fallen nature, sin is just standing around waiting for an opportunity to hinder us in our race toward holiness from every direction. This goes very well with what I said in Part 2 regarding God working ALL THINGS (even ALL CIRCUMSTANCES) to our good:
Everyone has their unique set of problems and their unique circumstances and in ALL circumstances and ALL these problems, Paul says sin is standing around in all directions to trip us up. God is going to work ALL THINGS to our good when our purpose in life is to be holy as He is holy, but also sin is there in ALL THINGS to trip us up. It is in these times that we are afforded the opportunity to work out our salvation in fear and trembling by not yielding to unrighteousness, but to righteousness. With sin trying to beset us from every direction, ALL our circumstances are brought down to the very purpose of God: be conformed to the character of the Lamb of God by yielding your members to righteousness. Thus, the writer to the Hebrews encourages us with these words:
Jesus alone was sinless, but endured the sinners of His time. Paul says, CONSIDER HIM. We, having our sinful nature yet with us, are called to endure, to stay the tides of sin, to not "be wearied and faint in our minds" in our battle against it. The Hebrews writer goes on to say, after all,
What happens when we become wearied by sin's pressure on our minds and hearts? What happens when we don't seem to have the strength to "lay aside every weight" (v. 1) of it? Sometimes the temptations and burdens get overwhelmingly heavy, and the writer said its like a weight on us, putting pressure on us to find some unholy way to get rid of the burden of the moment, even if its just to give up and give into it:
We all know what this describes. We have this burden or this sin, and this massive weight bends and bulges and shifts this way and that way in our minds and hinders us in our walk of holiness and our growth towards maturity. But, God exhorts us to "Look unto Jesus. Look to the Lamb. Look to His word and hear His Spirit and be holy for I am holy. Be conformed to the image of the Lamb now, in this circumstance, because you have not yet shed blood that you should fall under it." And if that isn't enough to encourage us to walk in holiness, the writer warns,
The word "scourge" here is the same word Jesus used about Himself:
In other words, God is not afraid to use the whip on us (nor the rod - see Luke 12 in the footnote below), to allow circumstances to come into our lives that will chasten us until we decide to walk in holiness. God has given us His holy Son as our sacrifice, He has called us to holiness, He has given us His word which is holy and He has given us His Holy Spirit to make holiness a reality in our lives. But if we get stubborn in our sin or excuse it or don't do what we know we are to do, the writer says we leave God no alternative but to chasten us, not so much because He's angry, but because of His love for us as sons:
And the writer goes on to describe the benefits of receiving a "whipping" from the Lord:
"we gave them reverence; shall we not much rather . . ." When our earthly fathers chastened us, we got reverent toward them pretty quick, but they did it for their own pleasure:
What does "their own pleasure" mean? It means sometimes they chastened us according to the mood they were in. Or, maybe they chastened us because we were being bothersome or annoying them. Or, maybe they chastened us out of a mean temper. Some even chastened us out of a love and concern to bring us up in the way we should go. Not so our Heavenly Father. His purpose for chastening us is singular and doesn't depend on His mood of the moment. He has a definite purpose when we force Him to chasten us:
God chastens the believer for one reason: "that we might be partakers of his holiness." Period. And it all comes down to Ephesians 1:4, again, that he predestined all who believe to be holy and in love before Him. Or, as the writer to the Hebrews puts it: "that we might be partakers of his holiness." Or, as it is stated another way in Romans 8:28-29: God works all things to our good, meaning, He works all things and all circumstances to conform us to the image of His Son. This is described in the next verse in Hebrews:
In His deep desire to have sons conformed to the image of Lamb, God then encourages us to stand up, be strengthened, look to the holy Lamb and love the truth above all things and accept the central purpose for your life: be holy as He is holy. And Scripture exhort us: make straight your path, quit drooping, get out of your self-pity, get going, you're not bleeding yet:
End of Part 5.
Luke 12:46 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.
Introduction: Tribulation Preparation: Called To be Holy