Further Thoughts on Why God Disciplines Us as His Children (Hebrews 12:3-13)

By Jason McConahy,

This weekend we covered Hebrews 12:3-13 in our worship gathering, and we tackled the difficult concept of the "discipline" that God brings into our lives as our loving, Heavenly Father.  While the word "discipline" refers to the entire training of a child, we tend to reduce its meaning to "punishment" based upon our earthly experiences - a conclusion that hinders us from seeing the beauty of this passage.  I suggested that while God may bring discipline (or training) into our lives as a result of sin, it is never to punish us for our sin, but rather as His loving and purposeful way of rooting sin out of us.  This is the emphasis of the text - "that we may share His holiness" (vs. 10).  How does this emphasis impact our understanding of this passage?  More importantly, how does this emphasis impact our view of God?  To stir some thinking, consider the difference between the following two options...

God brings discipline into our lives as punishment for sin


God brings discipline into our lives as training for holiness

What is the difference between these two emphases?

How do these two statements impact the way you view God (your Heavenly Father)?

This Is Our God

By Aaron LeDuc,

Here is the content from this weekend's Good Friday message.  All the bold quotes are NASB version.  I hope it propels you to worship Jesus for His work on the cross!




This is our God.

In the midst of the darkness, having existed for all time, outside of time, He spoke.


He spoke and light sprang into existence, and in four simple words, "Let there be light", God created not only the light itself but the laws of physics, gravity and space that bind it - the cosmos erupted in a symphony of His power and goodness.

He spoke and land and water separated.  Mountains, water, earth and air - the unassailably massive earth now inhabited by and sustaining billions of people our God spoke to being.

He spoke and plants, complete with their physiological workings, sprang to life. He spoke, creating not only the plant life itself, but the workings of photosynthesis, cell reproduction and biological laws which allow this kind of life.

He spoke and billions of galaxies containing billions of stars, in a vastness that is beyond our comprehension and theory, burst forth singing the matchless power of His glory.

He spoke and all animal life came into existence - complete with anatomy and physiology in place and working in perfect harmony - He created a diversity of life so vast that new species are still being discovered.  

The things that we have spent thousands of years trying to understand in science, mathematics, biology, chemistry and beyond, our God spoke into existence in six days.


This is our God.


He spoke and the crowing achievement of his entire creation filled with His very breath came forth - set above the entirety of it all - His ambassadors, His representatives, His children created for relationship with Him; for His glory and for their joy.

Created out of the dust with an intention of fellowship with and worship of their creator - given dominion and primacy over the whole creation.

But His precious children disobeyed His command by believing the lies of the evil one and rejecting the perfect fellowship He offered. 

He quickly punished the sinful fall of mankind - laying out consequences concordant with His unfailing justice.

He quickly promised the perfect redemption of mankind - laying out coming blessing concordant with His unfailing love.

"You will toil" He promised, "and the punishment for your sin is death and separation."

"One will come" He promised, "That will crush evil."

In the midst of His holiness and provision abused by His ambassadors, He foreknew the redemption of His people.  

In the midst of the darkness of the fall of humanity, a pinprick of light was seen in the promise of the Creator.


This is our God.


He made His promise clear to the father of faith, Abraham, the son of an idol maker, showing clearly that His grace and favor are without condition

He promised blessing would flow from Him, through Abraham to all people in all nations across the realm of His creation.

He promised to provide a land for His people, a land of blessing and abundance to the descendants of Abraham who would outnumber the stars in the very sky that He created.

He promised, ultimately, to reconcile the faithful of His creation to Himself; though we are oppressed by our sinful desires and laid waste by the wickedness of our hearts.

To the afflicted and hopeless He promised that all things will be made new by the victory of the savior to come.

He demonstrated His faithfulness and power to Abraham by opening the barren womb of Sarah

He required unflinching devotion as demonstrated in the test of Abraham to sacrifice Isaac; the son of promise

He cared for Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the 12 tribes of Israel so that he could raise up a people for His own possession - a people hardened by sin and separated from His holiness.

He used the wickedness of the brothers of Joseph for His own good purposes in order to preserve the lives of many.

In the remnant of people, saved from starvation by famine, He brought His people into the abundance of Egypt, and that glimmer of hope began to shine brighter, even as the darkness seemed to thicken.


This is our God.


He manifested His might and presence in the burning bush and called Moses to lead His people. 

He manifested His supremacy over His creation in the plagues of Egypt as He used the hardness of Pharoah's heart for His glory.

When His people were pinned and seemingly hopeless between the Red Sea and the threat of slavery our God delivered what was once a small remnant of people to freedom from captivity by parting the waters.

He manifested His perfect provision in the manna from heaven, in water to quench their thirst, and with quail in multitudes - Knowing as He has always known that His children are prone to worry because of our sinfulness, but when we seek His kingdom and His righteousness, then He will provide for everything else.

In His perfect righteousness, He was uncompromising in calling His chosen people to faithfulness to His name.

He laid out - clearly and without concession - His perfect standard of righteousness in the law of the priesthood

He does not base the promise of salvation - the promise of the one to come and redeem us - on this law, but uses the law to make clear to us how desperately we need His redemption.

He uses His perfect law to reveal the depths of His holy character and to imprison everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in The One to Come might be given to those who believe. (Galatians 3:22)


This is our God.


Our God raised priests to mediate for His people - between their depravity and His perfect righteousness, but only temporarily.

Our God raised judges and kings to lead His people - to point their hearts back to Himself, but to no avail.

Our God raised prophets to warn and direct His people - to announce the promise of His kingdom and the coming of the promised savior.

Our God allowed for the exile and punishment of His people who had fallen so far away from Him in their wickedness.

But he always preserved a remnant, a faithful few who would carry on the line of the promise to Abraham.

As the depths of iniquity against His holiness deepened, it seemed as though the shout and desire for His promise to be fulfilled grew louder and bolder; the voices of the prophets ringing in the deaf ears of a depraved people

Further and further they fell away from Him

Louder and louder sounded the cries of the prophets

Brighter and brighter shown the hope of the promise.

The people who were once above all creation are now broken in their sin.

The ambassadors of God are now little more than a shadow of the flesh that was created to be very good.

As the depths of corruption are felt to the full, the need for salvation is keener than ever.


And then, silence.

Hundreds of years of silence.

Some surely thought that the creator and sustainer had finally become fed up and abandoned His creation.

But, the promise remained, and the faithful people who looked forward to the hope of the promise knew that this silence was but the deep breath before the plunge.

Surrounded by darkness there shown a light of hope - small, but ever brighter by the second.

And then, a child was born.


This is our God.


John 1:1-5, 9-14

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.  In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.  The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."


"There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.  He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.  He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."


This is our God.


God: the creator of all, sustainer of all, having put on flesh.

Creator: dwelling among His creation 

The Ever-existent, fully self sufficient I AM having become next to nothing


All the majesty and power that had been demonstrated throughout the ages now veiled in flesh.

Hail the incarnate deity!


This is our God


And all the miracles he would perform - water turned to wine, the blind given sight, the dead brought back from death, walking on water, even weather itself bowing to His power - pale in comparison and are even easy to accept and believe in light of the simple fact that this man the God of all creation.

And in the ultimate affront, He came, not preaching a kingdom of a powerful throne or military might, but one of sacrifice, humility, and service

Namely: the service of reconciliation.

God existed in flesh for one purpose: to pay the ransom for the sins of His people redeeming us from our brokenness.


Phil 2:6-8 "Although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.  Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross."


This is our God


His entire sinless life, leading to one point; one final climactic apex of history - the crucifixion.


Luke 22:39-53


     39 And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him. 40 When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, 42 saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” 43 Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. 45 When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, 46 and said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”


     47 While He was still speaking, behold, a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him. 48 But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” 49 When those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” 50 And one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51 But Jesus answered and said, “Stop! No more of this.” And He touched his ear and healed him. 52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders who had come against Him, “Have you come out with swords and clubs as you would against a robber? 53 While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours.”


Luke 22:63-71


     63 Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking Him and beating Him, 64 and they blindfolded Him and were asking Him, saying, “Prophesy, who is the one who hit You?” 65 And they were saying many other things against Him, blaspheming.


     66 When it was day, the Council of elders of the people assembled, both chief priests and scribes, and they led Him away to their council chamber, saying, 67 “If You are the Christ, tell us.” But He said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe; 68 and if I ask a question, you will not answer. 69 But from now on THE SON OF MAN WILL BE SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND of the power OF GOD.” 70 And they all said, “Are You the Son of God, then?” And He said to them, “Yes, I am.” 71 Then they said, “What further need do we have of testimony? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.”


They had heard from His own mouth testimony of the fact that this man was the ageless God incarnate.


This is Our God.


He was taken before Pilate - yet no guilt was found in Him

He was taken before Herod - yet nothing could convict Him

Pilate, nonetheless, had Jesus scourged harshly in an attempt to satiate the blood-thirsty crowds

The Roman guards, mocked him, spit on him, beat him, and placed a crown of thorns on His head.


Luke 23:13-46

     13 Pilate summoned the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined Him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against Him. 15 No, nor has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has been done by Him. 16 Therefore I will punish Him and release Him.” 17 Now he was obliged to release to them at the feast one prisoner.

     18 But they cried out all together, saying, “Away with this man, and release for us Barabbas!” 19 (He was one who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection made in the city, and for murder.) 20 Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again, 21 but they kept on calling out, saying, “Crucify, crucify Him!” 22 And he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has this man done? I have found in Him no guilt demanding death; therefore I will punish Him and release Him.” 23 But they were insistent, with loud voices asking that He be crucified. And their voices began to prevail. 24 And Pilate pronounced sentence that their demand be granted. 25 And he released the man they were asking for who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, but he delivered Jesus to their will.



     26 When they led Him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus.

     27 And following Him was a large crowd of the people, and of women who were mourning and lamenting Him. 28 But Jesus turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ 30 Then they will begin TO SAY TO THE MOUNTAINS, ‘FALL ON US,’ AND TO THE HILLS, ‘COVER US.’ 31 For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”


     32 Two others also, who were criminals, were being led away to be put to death with Him.


     33 When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. 34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. 35 And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!” 38 Now there was also an inscription above Him, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

     39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”


     44 It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 because the sun was obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.” Having said this, He breathed His last.


This is our God


Surely the evil one danced with glee as he was scourged

Surely the tempter howled with laughter as he was mocked and beaten and bruised

Surely the father of lies shouted for joy as that last gasp of air left him - thinking back to the curse in the garden and thinking that powers of evil had won the war


And indeed the war was won, but the victor was Jesus Christ 

His death secured for the people of God forgiveness of sins

By His death ransom was paid for those who would set aside their pride and trust in His finished work

By His death the curse was lifted as He took on the very wrath that we deserve

God incarnate, come to die, to fulfill the promise of history.


Gal. 3:13-14 "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us - for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree' - in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."


Because of the sacrifice made for the sins of His people, we are brought back into perfect fellowship with our God.

Hail the incarnate Deity!


Phil. 2:9-11 "For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."


This is our God


And so we sing

"I stand amazed at the presence of Jesus the Nazarene,

And wonder how He could love me, a sinner, condemned, unclean."


We sing

"How deep the Father's love for us!

How vast beyond all measure!

That he would give His only son

to make a wretch His treasure."


We sing

"My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!         

My sin, not in part but the whole,         

is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,          

praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!


"When I survey the wondrous cross,

On which the Prince of Glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss

And pour contempt on all my pride"


When the dust settles, and sadness fades into memory, we will remember the cross.

When His children are called home and gathered into eternity, we will bow before Him for the work on the cross.

When all things are made new, and creation can shed the weight of our sin, the name of Jesus Christ, fully god, and fully man, will be praised because of his matchless and perfect work on the cross.


This is our God.