The Love of God (part 6)
Greetings precious people. Today we begin part six of our series on the Love of God. I do hope that you have gained some insights and a better understanding concerning the Love of God. The subject of the Love of God is so vast and great; we could spend many more months examining it but would only have begun to scratch the surface.
In todayís article I would like to cover an area of Godís Love that causes a lot of misunderstanding among many. This area has to do with Love and discipline. The Bible makes it clear that those whom the Lord loves he disciplines. In Hebrews 12:5-11, "And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening (discipline) of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens (discipline), And scourges every son whom He receives." If you endure chastening (discipline), God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten (disciplines)? But if you are without chastening (discipline), of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected (disciplined) us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened (disciplined) us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening (discipline) seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."
As you can see from the above verses, discipline is a very real part of the Love of God. This is not the only place in the Bible where discipline is mentioned; it is a constant theme throughout the entire Bible. We see many instances in the Bible of where Godís children experienced the loving discipline of God.
The first two humans experienced it in the Garden of Eden. After Adam and Eve had disobeyed Godís Word in eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they were driven from the Garden. This was not as much an act of punishment as it was an act of Love and Mercy. For you see, if they had been allowed to remain in the Garden of Eden and eaten of the Tree of Life, they would had remained in their sinful fallen state for all eternity.
Another of many examples is the life of King David. David had a heart for God. Even as a youngster he knew and loved the Lord. Many of the Psalms that he wrote were written prior to adulthood. Listen to what God said of David, in Acts 13:22, "And when He had removed him (Saul), He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, 'I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.'"
Even though God said this of David, David still had his times of falling into sin and failures. Two events of Davidís life are remembered more than any others. His defeat of the great giant Goliath and his sin of adultery and murder with Bathsheba and her husband Uriah. One representing great victory, the other great defeat.
You may be familiar with part of the sin of David with Bathsheba. Let this be a lesson to us all. It all began when David was in a place that he should not have been. We read in 2 Samuel 11:1, "It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem." David should had been out on the battlefield with his men, he chose rather to stay in the comforts of his home. What happened next is quite revealing, 2 Samuel 11:2-5, "Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king's house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, "Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house. And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, "I am with child."
As with most of us, it did not stop there for David. He fell deeper and deeper into sin. Had he confessed and repented of his sin right there and then, it would had been far better. It wouldnít have been alright mind you, there still would have been a price to pay for his sin, but it wouldnít have progressed further, drawing more into his sin and destroying others also. Instead, David did what we so often do, he tried to cover his sin rather than forsake it which only led to more sin.
After finding out of Bathshebaís pregnancy, David devised a plan that was doomed to failure. Failure because though no one else knew of his sin but he and Bathsheba, God knew and as a child of God, God would not let David get away with sin. Let me take a moment at this time and address an important truth. As we saw a few moments ago in the book of Hebrews, God disciplines those that are His. Because David was one of Godís children and because God loved David, God would discipline David for his sin, as we will see later. If a person is living in sin (making a habit of sin in their daily life, whether it be sexual sin, lying, cheating, stealing, gossip, etc.) and not experiencing the discipline of Godís hand in their life, there is good reason to question whether that person is one of Godís children or not.
There is the common fallacy today that many believe, namely, that "we are all Godís children." This is neither Biblical nor true. We are not all children of God. A person, any person, all persons, only becomes a child of God by being adopted into His family. By being "born again" into His family. John 3:3, "Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Galatians 4:3-7, "Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ." Ephesians 1:3-6, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved."
This adoption that the Bible speaks of occurs when a person responds to the work of the Holy Spirit in drawing them to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. When a person responds to the conviction of sin in there life, the need of Godís righteousness in their life rather than their own, and the reality of impending judgement, and turns to faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, that person becomes a child of God. Prior to this the Bible, Godís Word, makes it clear that we are not Godís children rather we are children of wrath. Ephesians 2:1-3, "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others."
My question to you precious one, are you a child of God? Have you been born again? Are you living comfortably in sin or are you feeling convicted by the Holy Spirit of the wrong things that you are doing and the right things that you are not doing? The Bible makes it clear that you do not become a child of God just because you say or think that you are one or because you go to church or try to be good. This is like saying that you can become a Big Mac because you go to McDonalds or because you believe that you are one. Listen carefully to the Words of Jesus, Matthew 7:21-23, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'
If you do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, do so right now. If you do know Him, submit yourself under the Loving hand of God and His discipline.
Next time we will continue this all-important study on the Love and discipline of God. Until then may the Lord richly bless you beloved.
If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine