The is the 2nd post in a 3-part series about God’s grace. You should read the first, Our Failure, God’s Grace before continuing with this one about God’s Discipline.
In Our Failures, God’s Grace, I showed how wonderful it is that no matter how much we may fail, God has given us His grace so that we need never worry. However, as wonderful as God’s gift of grace is, we must never think that we can get away with anything we want and life will be perfect.
As mothers, we know that discipline is a necessary tool in guiding our children on the right path. We forgive our children for their faults, but that does not mean they get off scot-free!
Well, the same holds true for God. And shouldn’t it? After all, we model our very lives as parents on how our Father treats us. We fail and we have God’s grace and forgiveness. And we have God’s discipline.
Old Testament Discipline
Again, it starts in the book of Genesis. In the last article, we saw how Adam and Eve were given instructions on how to live but almost immediately failed. And we saw God’s grace when did not allow them to eat of the tree of life which would condemn them eternally.
However, I did not mention one very important part of this story. Their punishment. God was not going to just let them get away with letting sin enter into the world with only a change of scenery. Nope. They needed to learn the seriousness of their failure to listen.
In Genesis 3:16-19, God lays out their discipline. Eve will suffer when bringing children into the world and Adam will rule over her. Adam will suffer when bringing forth fruits of the land. He will have to work for their survival. And they will pay the ultimate price by dying.
And again, in the time of Noah, mankind was so wicked that God says “it repenteth me that I have made them.” And everyone but Noah and his family, who “found grace in the eyes of the Lord”, were given the ultimate punishment. They were utterly destroyed from the face of the earth.
The Israelites who complained in the desert and built a statue of Baal were also punished. Though God did bring them into the Promised Land, it was not that generation but the next who would make it. Those who failed were punished by never being allowed to see that land promised unto them.
And in our lives, when we fail, we also are disciplined. We do not get to see the results of perfect living but instead have suffering in our lives as a result of our failures. As it says in Hebrews 12:6, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” He disciplines us because He loves us.
If we fail at being stewards of God with our money, we suffer financially. If we fail at treating our bodies as the temple of the Lord by eating too much junk food, we suffer physically. These are the results of our own sins, our own failures. And so we are disciplined.
But it is this discipline that makes God’s forgiveness all the sweeter. We know that we deserve to be punished. In fact, we deserve more than what we actually get. And that is God’s grace.
He cares for us and wants to save us. So He has given us His Son so that we don’t need to pay the ultimate price. Our punishment for sinning should be that second death. Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” However, He sent His Son to take that punishment for us.
But part of that grace is the fact that He does not let us off the hook entirely. We still must be punished for disobeying. Because we would never try to do better. We would never need to rely on Him in our daily lives if He just let us get away with everything.
Just as we give discipline to our children when they don’t do their chores or when they pick on their siblings, God disciplines us for not doing our part.
We know that, as parents, if we let our children get away with not fulfilling their duties, they will never do them. After all, no one really wants to do the boring stuff in life. At least at first. We need to train them to do what is necessary and what is right. Then they will have the tools needed to succeed in life.
God does the same for us in our spiritual lives. He needs to make sure we are trained to do what is necessary and right. And that we have the tools to succeed in our spiritual lives.
So we fail. God disciplines. But He also gives us grace. Isn’t that wonderful?