Help with application of Hebrews 12:8

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Antipas_14

Puritan Board Freshman
Hi everyone,

I have been reading Martin Lloyd-Jones book "Spiritual Depression", which I have been thoroughly enjoying, but have stumbled upon an issue of assurance that I want to better understand.

In the book, Martin Lloyd-Jones says this specifically about individuals who may not feel as if they have disciplined (or chastised as he puts it):

"If, therefore, you are not aware of something of this kind of dealing, I can but urge you to go back and examine yourself and make sure that you are a Christian at all because: ‘Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth’. Blessed be God Who has undertaken our salvation and our perfection and Who, having started the work will go on with it, and Who so loves us that if we will not learn the lessons voluntarily, will chastise us in order to bring us into conformity with the image of His dear Son." (Spiritual Depression, pg. 245)

He is discussing Hebrews 12:5-11, but particularly verse 8:
"If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons." (ESV)

I converted from a passive Roman Catholic background about 2 years ago, and as I reflect on my life since then I am not sure that I see discipline in my past. Since I have converted, I have felt very close to God, I truly enjoy studying His Word, reading books about church doctrine, church history, and sharing my faith with my wife who converted about a year and a half ago. It's all been a joyous experience this far.

With that said, I do know of times that I had struggled emotionally with various things, but I am trying to discern when I may have been disciplined in my life.

Lloyd-Jones speaks of examples like health issues, loss of money, hardships that are very trying to an individual, etc. as being forms of discipline. But as I reflect on my life, aside from occasional anxiety issues, or things not necessarily going how I would like them to whether at home or at work, I am not sure of what I could qualify as discipline at this point, which based on Hebrews 12:8 and Lloyd-Jones' statement, is scary to me. Is a Christian's life full of discipline, which as Lloyd-Jones explains, is ultimately our spiritual training, or are there seasons of it? Am I understanding discipline wrong or not applying it correctly?

Does anyone have any additional insight, or resources on this topic that might be beneficial for me to reference so I can further apply this to my life? I was hoping that Lloyd-Jones would elaborate a bit more on this!

Any help would be greatly appreciated!



Luke G
 
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Cymro

Puritan Board Junior
Enjoy your present fellowship with the Lord and don't be perturbed about chastisement for you know not what a day may bring. We all have times and seasons, and graciously the Lord allows you a honeymoon period. As you advance in your pilgrimage there will be the rod and sometime the scourging, but applied by the loving hand of the Father.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
The writer to the Hebrews was writing to people among whose number were those who had or were defecting from the faith. The book should be read in that context. If you are a true child of God and you rebel you will - eventually -experience chastisement to bring you back into line. :2cents:
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
I had a dear friend in the faith who asked the same question after 80 years of serving faithfully. Even asking the question signals a sensitivity to God's rightful fatherly role in our lives. It's the person who presumes on the Lord's grace that is a greater concern. If you are a parent, or have been around kids, the wide differences in sensitivity to the will of the parent is clear as is the resulting differences in the amount and severity of discipline. One person is corrected with the mildest of rebukes, another has to be repeatedly, and sternly considered. Also, God knows what His children can bear, and when. You might find your trials increasing in some seasons as God molds you. Also, it seems a natural part of the maturation process to go from the exuberant state of a young believer to someone who is more careful about what pleases and displeases God.
 

Antipas_14

Puritan Board Freshman
The writer to the Hebrews was writing to people among whose number were those who had or were defecting from the faith. The book should be read in that context. If you are a true child of God and you rebel you will - eventually -experience chastisement to bring you back into line. :2cents:

Thanks for the response and for reminding me of the context and who the audience was! Very helpful!


Luke G
 

Antipas_14

Puritan Board Freshman
I had a dear friend in the faith who asked the same question after 80 years of serving faithfully. Even asking the question signals a sensitivity to God's rightful fatherly role in our lives. It's the person who presumes on the Lord's grace that is a greater concern. If you are a parent, or have been around kids, the wide differences in sensitivity to the will of the parent is clear as is the resulting differences in the amount and severity of discipline. One person is corrected with the mildest of rebukes, another has to be repeatedly, and sternly considered. Also, God knows what His children can bear, and when. You might find your trials increasing in some seasons as God molds you. Also, it seems a natural part of the maturation process to go from the exuberant state of a young believer to someone who is more careful about what pleases and displeases God.

Great insight, thank you so much for sharing, especially regarding the fact that asking the question is a signal of God's fatherly role in our lives. I actually am a newer parent (2 toddler-aged boys) they're a handful, but I definitely can relate what you meant about severity/sensitivity to discipline. My wife and I actually just started to notice this between this with the younger one the other day, so I definitely can relate. Thanks so much for this perspective, that really helps me out.

One last thing, your friend you had mentioned, were you able to advise them as well? Just curious as to how they resolved this similar concern.

Thanks again so much for the help!


Luke G
 

Antipas_14

Puritan Board Freshman
Enjoy your present fellowship with the Lord and don't be perturbed about chastisement for you know not what a day may bring. We all have times and seasons, and graciously the Lord allows you a honeymoon period. As you advance in your pilgrimage there will be the rod and sometime the scourging, but applied by the loving hand of the Father.

Thanks for the response! You actually hit on an interesting topic regarding the honeymoon period. Since I converted, I really find much joy in studying, learning, reading the bible, helping others learn and grow and learning to pray more and more. But, like you mentioned, I heard on several occasions that this can/will end. I worry about that at times, I don't want it to end, I don't want to go back to the way things were, meaning, I feel like if I now lost this excitement and joy that I get, I would feel lost and would miss Him. I hope that makes sense, I am having a hard time articulating this point.

My question is, have you experienced this honeymoon phase and it's supposed passing? I just am looking for insight on if you did and how you, or maybe someone you knew, coped after it felt as if the honeymoon phase was over.

Thanks again for the response, I appreciate the help!


Luke G
 

Cymro

Puritan Board Junior
The honeymoon period does not end but matures being leavened with responsibilities, afflictions, and all the circumstances of providence. The enjoyment of God does not diminish, though it becomes interspersed with hurts, sorrows and difficulties yet the wonder of His keeping power increases. Can be likened to walking along a tree lined lane in the summer with the dappled effect of light and shade. The shadows owe their existence to the sun. My own experience (as yours), was two years of blessedness after conversion due to a mini revival in our local church, when numbers were converted. We were like hinds on the high places, but then the Heavenly Father began to instruct, not only through the word but by chastisement. Chastening is not necessarily because of personal sin,but can be a course of instruction, and also lessons in dependence on Him rather than leaning on the arm of flesh.
Learning to appreciate grace; developing skill with the shield of faith; combatting with striving within and fighting without. Stubbornness and pride need to be dealt with, and often one stripe is not sufficient for a stubborn child. What parent would be indifferent to a child's growth, and use every means to develope it's character? So with our Father in heaven, he will use all means for our good in order to conform us to the image of His dear Son. Using means that are peculiarly suitable to us individually, and all proceeding from love, and administered with love, and realised by responsive and adoring love by us.
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
But as I reflect on my life, aside from occasional anxiety issues, or things not necessarily going how I would like them to whether at home or at work, I am not sure of what I could qualify as discipline at this point,

Is it possible that you have no ongoing controversies between you and the Lord? You seem to be doing pretty well at the present time. You have to sin to be disciplined. I don't mean sins like not loving the Lord with all your heart. Who is not guilty? But I am talking about real ten commandment issues. The discipline of the kind you are speaking of only comes when there is sin of a more serious nature. Just a thought.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
Luke, my friend was someone who counseled me in the greatest Timothy manner of older woman to younger woman. After her passing, I was surprised to learn she had any question of her assurance. She was reared in a godly home, ministered faithfully beside her husband, reared godly children and saw the gospel go several generations beyond herself. I suspect she was tremendously sensitive to God's direction and was spared from many of the hardships others experience. I fully expect to see her in the world to come!
 
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