Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Are Unbelievers Also Disciplined By God?

How Does God Discipline His Children?

Question : How does God discipline his children? Are unbelievers also disciplined by God?

Answer: Greetings in Jesus wonderful name!

Let me be very clear in this, God has clearly expressed in his Word that, "6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” 7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?" (Heb 12:6-7). This means that all the true children of God, God will chasten. But only those who accept his chastening willingly by faith, will be considered by Him in the status of sons, and will be purified for our own eternal profit and be used for His service according to the level of the quality we have achieved in our spiritual life to withstand evil forces that are against us (Gal 3:26; 2 Tim 2:19-20, 21).

Then, Does not the Lord loves the unbelievers? Yes, the Lord loves the unbelievers, that is why Jesus said, "16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." (John 3:16). This love of God towards unbelievers is the unconditional love that He shows to them so that all of them might have the opportunity to accept His love in Christ Jesus and be saved from sin which leads all people to hell (1 Tim 2:3-4).

But the love towards God's children is different than that of the unbeliever who were revealed as "by nature children of wrath" (Eph 2:3), but the Lord God loves us like a father and pities us as we fear Him, He knows that we are weak and powerless dust before Him (Psa 103:13-14). As for the unbeliever God wants them to become His children through which they can deny the wrath of God by receiving His love through Christ Jesus, but for the believer His love is an everlasting love that never ceases for eternity ahead (Jer 31:3; Rom 5:9; 1 Thess 1:10; 2 Thess 1:7-8, 9-10).

UNBELIEVERS are not rightfully disciplined but rather warned of wrath to come because of the Love of God towards them in the following ways:

(i) REPENT OR PERISH: Warned to repent through the unexpected death of fellow humans around them, so that they can look to God and get saved from sin and wrath to come (Luke 13:2-3, 4-5; Isa 45:22).

(ii) VISIONS OF THE NIGHT AND DREAMS: Through visions of the night and dreams God warns the unbelievers, to turn from their evil deeds and conceal pride from man, to keep his life from perishing by the sword and his soul from the pit of hell fire (Job 33:14-18). God does his best to save sinners from hell fire now through Jesus Christ, because He sincerely desire all humans to be saved and be in relationship with Him for eternity ahead which is what is eternal life (1 Tim 2:4; John 17:3).

Jesus clearly said that a person who is born blind neither sinned nor his parents, but for the Glory of God to be revealed to all people that he was born like that (John 9:2-3). In other words, though God created some as differently abled, but the root of it all came through sin which brought the curse that caused all these infirmities to come to humankind (Exo 4:11; Gen 3:17-19; 1 Tim 2:13-15). Through it all God wants human to seek God intensely for the solution to find it, and in turn find Him who is the Savior (Acts 17:27). Even the end time prediction of Jesus regarding chaos of rumours of wars, wars, nation rising against nation with hate, kingdom rising against kingdom with hate, famines, pestilences and earth quakes in various places are all allowed by God to shake him out of apathy and make him aware of the eternal life or eternal judgment that awaits the unsaved (Matt 24:6-7).

God wants His children to live holy, so that the unbelievers who see it might get affected by such life that glorifies the Father in heaven (Matt 5:16). Jesus wanted all the brethren with in the Church to love on another in such a way as Christ loved them (Eph 4:32), so that through it the world of people may come to know and believe in Christ as the only one who was sent to save all people alike from sin and self (John 17:20, 21, 22, 23). A holy life of a Christian is a rebuke to those who continue to sin and are living as unsaved, but it becomes a lesson and a guidance to those unsaved who are seeking the true God and the truth of salvation from sin. Peter the apostle clearly told to all believers in this regard saying, "Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he judges the world in righteousness and visits them for the last time to give them what they deserve." (1 Pet 2:12).

(V) JUDICIAL WRATH AGAINST WICKED PEOPLE: God instituted justice – including punishment against lawbreakers – down here on earth because it reflects his just character (Rom 13:1-7). That is called the judicial wrath of God. God’s wrath is part and parcel of his judgment against wrongdoing, injustice and evil. A few times his judgment and justice was administered quickly and at other time He waits (Dan 4:31-32, 33, 34, 35; Acts 12:22-23; 13:8-12). Some times because God delays his judgment against sinners, the sinners are hell bent in doing evil, not understanding the mercies of God that is trying to save them from sin and hell fire (Eccl 8:11-13; Psa 50:21-22; Isa 26:9-10; Gen 18:25; Psa 9:8, 17, 19-20). The Lord administers justice on earth now by making the wicked get snared by the work of his own hands (Psa 9:16; Gal 6:7; Prov 29:2; 24:17). God would not be the God of justice if he let wrongs slide by undealt with, so His justice is rather like a judge who would punish the serial offender without losing his own coolness of justice even when it is his son or daughter. But all sin including sinful words will also be judged for every unbeliever one day very soon at the White Throne Judgment (Matt 12:36-37; Rev 20:11-15; Isa 59:18). Many times God waits and waits, before He sends a big judgment of wrath upon the offenders and sinners who live as though they need no repentance (Nah 1:3).

(vi) GOD WAITS FOR SINNERS TO REPENT: God waits because He wants the sinner to repent and be saved from sin (2 Peter 3:8-9). Remember, wrath of God means His judgment against injustice, wrongdoing, and sin. When judges commit injustice, God reinstates new people whom He expects to rule righteously (Prov 29:2; 28:28). God's brings an end to all the wicked in his time as He rules over them all (Psa 11:5; Prov 14:32; Eccl 5:8). God in His mercies, does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked because He wants all to be saved from sin (Ezek 18:23; 1 Tim 2:4). When injustice seems to prevail, God is testing people to know who will stand for justice to the end, both the righteous and the wicked will be rewarded by God according to their works at the end of it all (Eccl 3:16-17, 18-20; Prov 31:9; Isa 1:17). We should never be envious at the prosperity of the wicked and boastful, who are always at ease, and increase in riches (Psa 73:1-12), because God has set them in slippery places, and have cast them down to destruction (John 3:18, 19-20), they are actually brought to desolation in a moment they do not even expect, they shall be consumed with terrors of evil (Psa 73:18-19, 27).

BELIEVERS are those whom God loves them with a fatherly love (John 20:17), so he wants his children to repent of their sins and run to Him voluntarily (Luke 15:17-19, 20-24), but when they fail to repent and turn towards Him, He does go after them to find them in the wilderness of hopelessness through allowing trials and tribulation in their way, to take them back and lay them on his shoulders till they learn to walk in his way and not be lost again (Luke 15:1-2, 3-7; Jer 31:2-3; 32:40-41; Hos 11:4; 2:14).

In this fatherly love, just like a earthly father will not want a child to remain in Kinder Garten for more than a year or two, so does our heavenly Father also does not want us to remain in spiritual kinder garten of eating milky food forever, but wants to move us to higher level of eating solid food to become glorious sons of God for His Glory just like His only begotten Son Jesus Christ (Heb 5:12, 13-14; Rom 8:18-19, 29). Jesus the Son of God suffered to learn obedience to the Father, how much more we as the sons of God need to walk the same way as Jesus to become like Him in our character (Heb 5:8; 12:10, 11, 12-13, 14). Without pursuing holiness, no one can see the activities of God in their lives coming from within for every good work which He has prepared beforehand for us to do (Eph 2:10; Tit 3:8; Php 2:13).

When believers do sin and become stubborn and rebellious against God, these are the following ways in which God deals and discipline them:

(i) GOD LEAVES US TO WALK IN OUR OWN WAY: Many times when the children of God are self-willed and stubborn, God lets us walk in our own way until we get caught in the foolishness of our act (Psa 81:11-12). For those who see the world to take part in the wickedness that God hates, will eat the fruit of their doing (Prov 1:31). For example, a sexual perverse spirit that oppresses a believer will make him/her miserable and restless until he or she gets delivered from the act of evil through the merciful hand of the Lord delivering them, so that God's blessing and provision might follow a child of God as he turns to the Lord for deliverance (Psa 81:13-16).

(ii) WHEN WE ARE DISRESPECTFUL TOWARDS HOLY THINGS OF COVENANT, WEAKNESS, SICKNESS AND EVEN DEATH MAY FOLLOW: For example, the blood Covenant that the Lord has made with us through Jesus Christ is the most important part of Christianity (Heb 10:29). Some of the Corinthian believers did not really give proper respect to the Lord's table. They had hate in their heart toward one another, all kinds of sinful involvement without fear of God, then they had fight over who will first eat the bread and wine of the communion first, so that they could have a jolly good time within the Church. Then the Lord's anger was stirred, and many had sicknesses and some even lost their lives, of which Paul the apostle saw and told them, "27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world." (1 Cor 11:27-32).

(iii) MOST OF THE ISRAELITES DID NOT ENTER THE REST OF GOD IN THEIR SOUL: In the same way all the Christians who are baptized in water and then in the Spirit (Matt 28:19; 3:11), the Israelites too had similar initial experience of salvation. Many Israelites did not enter the rest that God provides without works after salvation, we too as Christians may not be able to enter the rest which God provides in the soul after salvation if we too continue in our sinful evil unbelief of the old nature, instead of living by the impulse of the new nature which God has given to us (Heb 3:12-13, 14, 17). All the Israelites symbolically were baptized through the sea for salvation and under the cloud for Spirit filling them, they partook of the communion of God through eating of the lamb and by applying of its blood in the lintels of their door on Passover (Exo 12:7-8), the bread of the Manna of Heaven [i.e. enlightened Word of God] and drank the water of the spiritual drink [i.e. being filled with the water of the Holy Spirit] which was received through releasing faith in Christ who is the source of it all (1 Cor 10:1-4). But God was not pleased with most of them and they died in the wilderness, because they lusted after evil things (1 Cor 10:5-6). In today's scenario we know that all the sexual lust that are enflamed by pornography, masturbation, anal perversions within the family life, is lusting after evil things, and therefore if we continue to walk without asking God to help us overcome these lusts, we will die in our spiritual life in the spiritual wilderness without the rest of peace, joy and righteousness in the Holy Spirit which is the real rest we must experience in our lives within us all the time by faith (Rom 14:17, 23). These Israelites were trying to please God by their works, they could not enter in to the Canaan's land because of their unbelief (Heb 3:19). In the same way, we Christian believers who try to please God with our works by being religious and living without real faith will not enter in to the heavenly rest of peace, joy and righteousness which comes to us apart from our works to make us rest in our spiritual lives (Heb 4:2, 3; Php 4:4, 6-7; 1 Peter 1:7-8; Matt 6:33; 2 Cor 5:21).

(iv) LET US NOT TEMPT CHRIST: We know as Christians all the spiritual blessings of heaven are upon us in Christ by God's decree (Eph 1:3), so let us not run after the idols of the heart in our lives, let it be money, wife, children, father, mother, property, wine, sex, power, unbridled lust, greed, etc... (Matt 10:34-39; Luke 16:13; Eph 4:22; 5:3, 18)....which could easily ensnare us to make our heart become filled with unbelief due to the influence of our old evil heart which must be switched off by our good choices we take in our day to day life (Prov 22:25; 1 Cor 15:33; Deut 7:25).

Ezekiel the prophet was asked by God this following question, ""Son of man, these people are devoted to their idols in their hearts and minds, and they are allowing themselves to fall into sin. Should they be allowed to ask me for help?" (Ezek 14:3). We should understand that because the Lord is holy in all His ways (Psa 145:17; 1 Pet 1:16), He will not answer our prayer if we continue to regard iniquity in our heart and have idols within us (Psa 66:18). If we do not conceal our sins and instead confess our sins, and forsake to renounce the old pattern of thinking in the lustful evil desire of our soul, we will be shown mercy by God again and again, and therefore will be forgiven and helped in all our time of need (Prov 28:131 John 1:7, 9). So walking willfully in the stubborn nature of our old self instead of the new nature and mind of Christ which God has given us, will make us tempt Christ which may lead to a wilderness kind of experience in our soul instead of experiencing Canaan's experience like Joshua and Caleb through the spirit of faith (1 Cor 2:16; 2 Tim 1:7; Col 3:1-2; Num 14:24; Jos 1:3). As repentance in itself is a gift of Christ to us, if we continue to harden our hearts by sin of evil desire and lust, without confession, we may end up falling away without repentance which will make our lives to be lived in the wilderness, full of fruitless and dry desert life without the tangible Presence of God within us, and will be only having within us the fearful expectation of judgment that is to come as upon His enemies (Heb 6:6; 10:26-27). What a wasted life!

(v) OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN IS A RIGHTEOUS JUDGE AND A LOVING FATHER: Only one side of the coin is shown, and only one side of the spiritual currency for soul profit and promotion are mostly printed within our churches. What does it means? Unless a coin or currency is not printed on both sides, it becomes a dubious counterfeit one in the natural kingdoms of the world. The same can be applied in our spiritual life too in the Kingdom of God, (i.e.) unless we consider both "the goodness and severity of God: [as] on those who fell [from faith like the Israelites], severity because of their unbelief [in rejecting Jesus their Messiah]; but toward us, goodness because of our faith [in Christ Jesus], if we continue in His goodness. Otherwise if we too become namesake Christians without really having any obedience to Jesus Christ, God will also cut us off like He did the namesake Israelites." (Rom 11:22, Paraphrased).

There are many examples of personal chastening in the Bible, as well, even upon those in whom the Lord most delighted—Adam (Gen 3:17-19), Noah (Gen 9:22, 24-25), Abraham (20:9, 10), Moses (Numbers 27:12), David (1 Chronicles 28:3), and Solomon (1 Kings 11:11), to name a few. Notice that, although these men made mistakes and were chastened for them by God and even sometimes allowed by God to be rebuked by men, God did not stop loving or using them. God always brings chastisement appropriate to the crime and then always forgives the sins and restores His fellowship with them. He is the righteous judge to execute right justice, and at the same time a loving Father who shares fellowship with his sons. In other words, when we sin and fall below the righteous requirement of God, we cannot stop the consequence of the wages of sin in the natural, but with it no more spiritual wages because Jesus took it all upon Himself so that we can be free from condemnation of sin (John 19:30; 2 Cor 5:21; Rom 8:1), so we can expect God to use it to sharpen our character and learn from it not to repeat it in like fashion, but instead inculcate within us a new renewed mind to overcome it by the grace that He provides through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 6:14). Because He loves us, He desires us to live holy lives and become more and more like Jesus, so that God as a loving Father could have deeper fellowship with us and make us more and more conformed to the Character of Christ which is His ultimate for us to live blessed now and forever along with Him (1 Peter 1:15-16; Romans 8:29).

What if someone as a believer claims the title of a Christian, but never wants to pursue holiness in his life?

If someone professes to know Christ but is living a lifestyle of unrepentant sin and claims to “feel fine about it,” with no qualms, and also you see no external evidence of the discipline of the Lord happening in his life, then that person is not a legitimate child of God (Revelation 3:19; Hebrews 12:5-11; Job 5:17; Psalm 94:12; I John 3:4-12). God “punishes everyone he accepts as a son” (Hebrews 12:6), there is no partiality with God in this for all humans alike (Acts 10:34-35; Rom 2:11). Holiness is not a option for a child of God, rather it is a calling to which he/she is called to fulfill in this earthly life as a saint of the Most High God. That is why Paul the apostle clearly expressed in his letter to his spiritual son Timothy, "19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (2 Tim 2:19). In other words, those who say they are Christians must be more concerned whether they are known by God personally than to worry about whether they know God, and again a person who calls himself a Christian should not be doing things that are wrong continually as a pleasure, if he does without any remorse or conviction of sin after committing it (Luke 22:61-62; 15:18-19; John 16:7-8), then he/she should check themselves up whether they are really a saved Christian who has true faith within which has the internal evidence of salvation from the Holy Spirit who ensures us about it without a iota of doubt (2 Cor 13:5-6; Rom 8:16; Eph 1:13-14; 1 John 4:13). Only when we come to understand the tri-unity of the Father, and the Son living in us through the Spirit, then the supernatural work of the Spirit in inter-joining our spirit with Himself after our salvation becomes a reality to experience God in His fullness in our daily life as a Christian (John 14:20; 14:23; 1 Cor 6:17).

Much Blessings.....


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