Dr. Kevin Anderson – “God’s Discipline Makes Us Holy”
“[Our human fathers] disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” -- Hebrews 12:10-11 niv
Good parents discipline their children, not because it is a fun thing to do, but because it is necessary. Years ago my mother told me that she and Dad disciplined my brother and me because they wanted us to grow up to be responsible human beings. That is a worthy goal. But most parents will admit that they are imperfect, that they make mistakes even though they do the best they can. And they only have a limited time (“a little while”) to carry out their task.
God, however, is the perfect father. He disciplines us “for our good,” or more accurately, to promote “the good” or “what is beneficial.” God truly has in mind what is best for us, our families, our communities, our nation, and our world. But God’s purposes go far beyond making us ethically responsible. God wants us to “share in His holiness.” He can even use painful experiences in our lives to yield a “harvest of righteousness and peace.”
It is good for believers to strive for holiness (see Hebrews 12:14)—though we must beware of the hypocrisy and haughtiness that can occur when we are obsessed with our own purity. Our progress in holiness is ultimately in the loving hands of an all-holy and all-wise Father. It is comforting to submit ourselves fully to God, knowing that He will train us and shape us completely into the image of His Son.
- Dr. Kevin Anderson, Associate Professor of Christian Studies & Philosophy