My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. — Pro 3:11, 12
The word chastening in the above scripture is translated from the Hebrew word מוסר (muwcar) which is defined by Thayers Lexicon as “1) discipline, chastening, correction”.
This scripture is quoted and expounded on by the writer of the letter to the Hebrews.
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: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. — Heb 12:5, 6
The word chastening in Hebrews 12:5 is translated from the Greek word παιδεία (paideia) and is defined by Thayer’s Lexicon as “1) the whole training and education of children (which relates to the cultivation of mind and morals, and employs for this purpose now commands and admonitions, now reproof and punishment) It also includes the training and care of the body 2) whatever in adults also cultivates the soul, esp. by correcting mistakes and curbing passions.”
While this word includes correction for disobedience, this is not the primary meaning of the either the Hebrew word מוסר (muwcar) or the Greek word παιδεία (paideia).
When the word ‘chastening’ is mentioned, people think of the chastening of a child and the thought that typically comes to mind is correction for disobedience. Hence this scripture is often invoked to support the teaching of Sin You Must.
Sin You Must is that unbiblical teaching that claims it is normal for Christians to have willful sin in their lives. In this case, those that hold to this doctrine would say God chastens his children for disobedience, and if you are not being chastened for disobedience “you are illegitimate children and not sons” (Heb 12:8 NASB).
The Lord is consistently correcting us. He shows us as His children where we can do better in our Christian life. Some of the best lessons, they say, are learned in the school of hard knocks. This simply means we learn by making errors and mistakes.
If God is not pointing out areas in your life where he requires you to do better, than you need to question whether you are a child or not. God is not only pointing out where we need to do better, but He is showing us and requiring us to do better.
Many of these areas will be projects and not one-day jobs. As we endeavor to become conformed to His image and to not be conformed to this world, God will reveal to us places in our life where we need help. If we don’t heed the correction of the Lord at first, He will be faithful to remind us, to reprove us, and to rebuke us.
Often these corrections will come through another person. Not long ago I was soundly rebuked by my uncle for my intemperance in eating, and very much smitten of the Lord. In passing, he made a simple remark something like this: “You are eating again. Every time I see you, you’re stuffing your face.” Thank you uncle Donny!
That was about half a year ago and I am now still working on my intemperance with food, but I would like to report good victory.
There are many areas in our lives as Christians where the Lord needs to discipline, chasten, and correct us. I rejoice in this for the Lord does this “for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness” (Heb 12:10). And while it hurts when we are rebuked of the Lord, “nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Heb 12:11).