Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: The Evidence of Chastisement

Monday, May 13, 2019

The Evidence of Chastisement

Why We are Failing the Great Commission
The Evidence of Chastisement

Legalism in the Bible is to believe that observing (keeping) the Laws of the Mosaic Covenant will aid you in achieving salvation (Galatians 1:6-9).  The second misconception of Legalism is that spirituality (practical sanctification) can be achieved by the external observances of the Mosaic Covenant (Galatians 3:1-5).  Paul corrects these two major deviant misconceptions regarding salvation and sanctification in Galatians up through Galatians 3:5.

Paul then begins to explain the Abrahamic Covenant and salvation as a gift of grace through faith in the Promised Seed.  Paul also explains the corrupted priesthood’s view of the Mosaic Covenant as the means of keeping the salvation that is gifted in the Abrahamic Covenant promise and procuring sanctification before God.  The priesthood of Israel, of which Paul had been a major contributor, had radically confused the purposes of the Mosaic Covenant.  This was the origins of salvation by grace plus works (salvation offered as a gift by grace and received through faith plus works of the Law thereby making salvation a never-ending process).

The Jews who lived “under the Law,” and who observed the “statutes and judgments of the Law, were BLESSED.  The Jews who lived “under the Law,” but did not observe the “statutes and judgments of the Law, were “cursed,” or CHASTISED.  Blessings for obedience and chastisement for disobedience is a UNIVERSAL principal throughout Scripture for children of God.  This universal principal is fruit bearing for the obedient and barrenness for the disobedient.  Although there are natural consequences for living in sin and chaos, God only chastises His children.  God does not chastise lost people.  God judges lost people.  There are also universal principles of life in God’s Word that apply both to the lost and to the redeemed.  “A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother” (Proverbs 10:1).  “And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:” (Matthew 7:26).  There is great difference between the judgment of God and the chastisement of God.

1. Judgment passes a punitive sentence and is judicial and retributional in nature.  The judgment (retributional sentence/penalty) must be satisfied or justice is compromised.  For any judgment to be just (fair or righteous), it must be universally applied without respect of persons. 
2. Chastisement corrects a failure and is intent upon turning a believer from a pathway of sin to a pathway of righteousness.  Chastisement comes by degrees according to the maturity of a believer and according to the degree of rebellion against God. 

Job chapter five is an important text in that it teaches us the differences between judgment and chastisement.  Eliphaz is speaking and his conversation is historically recorded for us by inspiration of the Spirit of God.  Eliphaz gives us the historical point of view of the judgment of upon sinners and God’s chastisement of believers.  When Eliphaz was on his way to comfort Job, along with his two companions Bildad and Zophar, Eliphaz received a vision in the night (Job 4:12-21).  A spirit-being passed before Eliphaz.  The spirit-being took on some “form” and created some kind of “image” to Eliphaz, but the “form” and “image” were indiscernible (Job 4:16). 

The message from this spirit-being is accurate in its facts, but subtle in its purpose.  Therefore, I believe this spirit-being was demonic.  God had sent these three men to encourage and comfort Job in this trying of his faith.  The subtilty of this message from this spirit-being is that this message transposed Job’s comforters into being Job’s accusers.  These trials of Job’s faith were not God’s chastisement upon Job for some hidden sin or spiritual failure in his life (although we can be sure he had both).  Nonetheless, it is never fair to accuse God of being unfair. 

This was the dilemma created for the three comforters.  They could only see two dimensionally: either Job was sinning, and these difficulties were God’s chastisement, or God was just being mean to Job.  These comforters were blind to the higher purpose of God in proving the integrity of all humanity by testing one of his most faithful servants against the unjust and evil accusations of the Accuser (Job 2:3; “And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?”). 

The accurate and truthful statement of Job 4:17-21 only proves the ability of evil to use the truth against humanity in very subtle ways.  The statement is intended to be used against Job in his defense of not having done anything to deserve what was happening to him. 

17 Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker? 18 Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly: 19 How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth? 20 They are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish for ever without any regarding it. 21 Doth not their excellency which is in them go away? they die, even without wisdom” (Job 4:17-21). 

Confusing the issues of judgment and chastisement creates all kinds of confusions regarding the reality of the security of a believer’s salvation.  Eliphaz answers Job with universally known principles of judgment upon the fool who lives in rebellious unbelief in Job 5:1-7, concluding with the normal and communal consequences of all people born into the curse.  Job 5:2 addresses natural consequences of living like the “foolish man” and the “silly” man.  Both types of men are eventually destroyed by their uncontrolled passions or unbiblical choices. 

1 Call {to cry out or call out; i.e., for help} now {from the difficulties of your situation}, if there be any that will answer thee; and to which of the saints wilt thou turn? 2 For wrath killeth {imperfect; implying a process} the foolish man, and envy slayeth {imperfect; implying a process} the silly one {This is not God that does the killing or the slaying.  The perverse man allows himself to be provoked to wrath, which progressively kills him.  The simple and easily deluded man will be progressively slain by the stress of his own fretful jealousies.}. 3 I have seen the foolish {perverse} taking root {spread out in prosperity}: but suddenly {in a moment God judges the perverse man and he is brought to ruin and poverty} I {Eliphaz had witnessed this principle himself} cursed his habitation. 4 {no security for the evil man, his household, or family once God decides to act in judgment} His children are far from safety, and they are crushed in the gate, neither is there any to deliver them. 5 Whose harvest the hungry eateth up, and taketh it even out of the thorns, and the robber swalloweth up their substance. 6 Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground {it should be known that God is sovereign in these things}; 7 Yet man is born unto trouble {with God}, as the sparks fly upward {the fire of judgment has already been kindled, therefore we should not be surprised to see the rising sparks flying upward into the darkness}” (Job 5:1-7).

Eliphaz defines these universally known principles (Job 5:1-7) and then comforts Job with universal truths known about God (Job 5:8-27).  The presumption of Eliphaz is that Job’s difficulties are due to God’s chastisement for some failure (Job 5:17).  The comfort is that God’s chastisement is for the believer’s benefit.  Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty” (Job 5:17).  However, sometimes God has even a higher purpose for what He allows. 

God Himself will personally convict and chastise His children living in any manner contrary to the New Creation “in Christ.”  When a genuinely “born again” child of God begins to wander into worldliness, the Holy Spirit of God is activated as a shock collar on that believer’s life.  When a genuinely “born again” believer willfully sins against God’s commands, that believer will feel the deep sense of guilt and emptiness of his soul.  There will be a loneliness even in the middle of crowds.  This is the outcome of broken “fellowship” with God.  When a genuinely “born again” child of God willfully disobeys God’s commands, he will know that chastisement is on its way and recognize it as chastisement from God when it arrives. 

However, the only person who will know that “fellowship” with God is broken is the person who has experienced true “fellowship” with God.  In Post-Modern Christianity, the doctrines of holiness and practical sanctification have been so dumbed-down, many professing Christians have never experience true “fellowship” with God because they have never fully surrendered.  Therefore, they cannot sense the loss of something they have never experienced. 

Hebrews 12:4-10 is a very strong statement about a professing believer who sees no chastisement in his life.  The text is expanding upon and further explaining what is said in Proverbs 3:11-12.  The point of these two texts is that God ONLY chastises His own children.  If you do not have God’s chastisement (correction of failures) you are NOT HIS CHILD.

11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: 12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth” (Proverbs 3:11-12).

4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. 5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence {the idea is humbly received correction and repented of inappropriate actions or attitudes}: shall we not much rather be in subjection {to put one’s self in subjection and obedience} unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness” (Hebrews 12:4-10).

Spiritual growth mirrors physical growth.  There are two other obvious physical evidences that a child has been born into this world: physical growth and hunger/thirst.  A hungry or thirsty baby will let that need be known in no uncertain terms.  Food and drink are not physical options.  Food and drink are physical necessities.  Without regularly input of both food and drink, a person will quickly wither away and die physically.  Secondly, without regularly input of both food and drink a child cannot growth.  Physical growth is conditioned upon the regular intake of healthy food and plenty of liquids to drink. 

Everything in the physical world mirrors everything in the spiritual world.  There are two spiritual existences: the cursed spiritual existence that God calls “the world,” and the place of spiritual blessing that God calls the “New Creation,” or “the regeneration.”  Every descendant of Adam is born into the cursed “world” destined for the “second death” and the “lake of fire.”  The only escape from this dire situation is to be “born again” out of this cursed “world” and into the “New Creation.”  There is no potential for God’s blessings within the curse except for God’s longsuffering in His delay in the final “white throne” judgment.  There is also a blessing within God’s longsuffering that gives lost people TIME to be “born again” out of the curse. 

1. If you have God’s judgment upon your life, then you are lost and need to be “born again” -GET SAVED!
2. If you have God’s chastisement upon your life, REPENT and praise Him because He loves you and cares enough to correct you.
3. If you are in the midst of a trial of your faith, PRAISE God because He TRUSTS you.  God believes in you.  God believes that your faith is strong enough to be victorious in your trial!

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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

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