How God Chastens His Children
As we read Job 42 our minds are brought back to what we previously studied, the amazing working of God and the abundance of His grace. Job sees God as He is:
Job 42:1 Then Job answered the LORD, and said, 2 I know that thou canst do every [thing], and [that] no thought can be withholden from thee. 3 Who [is] he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. 4 Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. 5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. 6 Wherefore I abhor [myself], and repent in dust and ashes.
When we come to an appreciation of God as He really is we discover in the atonement of Jesus Christ in the propitiation for our sins and even his law things which are too wonderful. It is amazing that even as you speak with those who have stood in this place who have shared the word of God, even after they have stood here and spoken, things have become greater to their understanding. Things too wonderful which they have spoken which they knew not. It is true in God’s dealing with man; we find things that are too wonderful. In fact they are almost so wonderful that you can hardly believe it. There are many who throw out the righteousness of Jesus Christ because it’s too wonderful, too good to be true. We don’t want to do to do that. We don’t want to throw out the truth because it sounds too good. However good it sounds to us it is not as good as it seems it’s even better. It is too wonderful for us to even speak.
Gods Dealing With Man Kind
Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
See the working of the law to bring to us an abundance of grace. If sin should bring such an abundance of grace, should we go on sinning?
Romans 6:1 what shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
I am not saying that we should sin that grace would come to us. I am not saying that at all. The scriptures do not say that. They say clearly God forbid. Then having laid that principle very clearly, we read Isaiah;
Abounding grace is in the place where sin abounded where sin was in a copious quantity.
Isaiah 54:17 This [is] the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness [is] of me, saith the LORD.
Where the filthy rags and unrighteousness was there came the righteousness of God. Christ emptied himself and came in the likeness of you and me. As we dwell in Christ, Christ is our righteousness and the righteousness of Christ satisfies God. Like peace like a river. It can flow toward us without anything standing in its way. His righteousness is of me saith the Lord. Christ my righteousness is described very simply yet very powerfully.
Grace Abounding to Chief of Sinners by John Bunyan – 229. But one day, as I was passing in the field, and that too with some dashes on my conscience, fearing lest yet all was not right, suddenly this sentence fell upon my soul, Thy righteousness is in heaven; and methought withal, I saw, with the eyes of my soul, Jesus Christ at God’s right hand; there, I say, is my righteousness; so that wherever I was, or whatever I was a-doing, God could not say of me, He wants my righteousness, for that was just before Him. I also saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse; for my righteousness was Jesus Christ Himself, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever (Heb. 13.8). 230. Now did my chains fall off my legs indeed, I was loosed from my affliction and irons, my temptations had fled away; so that, from that time, those dreadful scriptures of God left off to trouble me now; now went I also home rejoicing, for the grace and love of God. So when I came home, I looked to see if I could find that sentence, Thy righteousness is in heaven; but could not find such a saying, wherefore my heart began to sink again, only that was brought to my remembrance, He ‘of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption’ by this word I saw the other sentence true (1 Cor. 1.30). 231. For by this scripture, l saw that the man Christ Jesus, as He is distinct from us, as touching His bodily presence, so He is our righteousness and sanctification before God. Here, therefore, I lived for some time, very sweetly at peace with God through Christ; Oh, methought, Christ! Christ! there was nothing but Christ that was before my eyes, I was not only for looking upon this and the other benefits of Christ apart, as of His blood, burial, or resurrection, but considered Him as a whole Christ! As He in whom all these, and all other His virtues, relations, offices, and operations met together, and that as He sat on the right hand of God in heaven. 232. It was glorious to me to see His exaltation, and the worth and prevalency of all His benefits, and that because of this: now I could look from myself to Him, and should reckon that all those graces of God that now were green in me, were yet but like those cracked groats and fourpence-halfpennies that rich men carry in their purses, when their gold is in their trunks at home! Oh, I saw my gold was in my trunk at home! In Christ, my Lord and Saviour! Now Christ was all; all my wisdom, all my righteousness, all my sanctification, and all my redemption. 233. Further, the Lord did also lead me into the mystery of union with the Son of God, that I was joined to Him, that I was flesh of His flesh, and bone of His bone, and now was that a sweet word to me in Eph. 5.30. By this also was my faith in Him, as my righteousness, the more confirmed to me; for if He and I were one, then His righteousness was mine, His merits mine, His victory also mine. Now could I see myself in heaven and earth at once; in heaven by my Christ, by my head, by my righteousness and life, though on earth by my body or person. 234. Now I saw Christ Jesus was looked on of God, and should also be looked on by us, as that common or public person, in whom all the whole body of His elect are always to be considered and reckoned; that we fulfilled the law by Him, rose from the dead by Him, got the victory over sin, death, the devil, and hell, by Him; when He died, we died; and so of His resurrection. ‘Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise,’ saith he (Isa. 26.19). And again, ‘After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight’ (Hos. 6.2); which is now fulfilled by the sitting down of the Son of Man on the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens, according to that to the Ephesians, He ‘hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus’ (Eph. 2.6). 235. Ah, these blessed considerations and scriptures, with many others of a like nature, were in those days made to spangle in mine eyes, so that I have cause to say, ‘Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness’ (Ps. 150.1, 2).”
Isn’t that a beautiful description of the 1888 message? John Bunyan wrote it in the 1860’s. Is it any wonder that this message had to be revived again to show how fallen the protestant churches were? Where is it taught today? Where has the spirit of reformation gone? The Lord wants to revive it. He wants to revive it in our understanding that He may revive it in our hearts. This is Jesus Christ my righteousness. He was made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. He is the alpha and the omega the beginning and the end of your life. That is what God offers each one of us. When that law has brought us to Christ we partake of that blessed hope and we are in Jesus Christ, what is your expectation? What now?
A Refiner of Silver and Gold
Malachi 3:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he [is] like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: 3 And he shall sit [as] a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
We have just read of a purification process. Through the propitiation of Jesus Christ, we gain righteousness by imputation. Even though we do not yet live a perfect life, and we have sinned greatly in the past, God counts us as righteous. This was the exchange. He counted Christ as a transgressor and in His place He accounts us as righteous. But now a process begins that there might be an offering of righteousness. The fruit must come from our own selves. We must now have righteousness imparted. It was imputed, it was counted for us and now it must become part of us. What then if you fail when you are in Jesus Christ? You are not to despair because you have righteousness imputed. But imputation will not get you there. It is only part of the whole. It is not a complete. Grace is not completed.
Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
Through the law you come to Christ, you are born again and now you have become a child of God. As He receives you what does He do? He chastens you.
Hebrews 12:7 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: shall we not much rather be in subjection 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. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Through the exercise of God’s chastising there comes the offering of righteousness, a yielding of fruit. What does it mean to be chastened? When does a child get chastened? When it’s naughty. We have been accepted as His sons but we need to be chastened and if we are not chastened then we obviously don’t have a father because if we had one He would chasten us. God was speaking to David regarding Solomon.
2 Samuel 7:14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:
Chastening comes in consequence of committing evil and sin.
2 Samuel 7:15 But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took [it] from Saul, whom I put away before thee.
Even while a child is disobedient he is still a son, God still regards him as a son. Though he sinned, the mercy of God is still there. Grace is still full and abundant. Chastening is when you have done wrong, when you have committed iniquity. If we are not sons we will not be chastened so how does God regard us? What is his attitude toward his children who have been disobedient? What is God’s attitude towards one of his disobedient children?
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
God’s thoughts toward His disobedient child are not thoughts of evil. He doesn’t smite His child in anger but in peace. What is His attitude? He sees not the disobedient child but He sees the expected end.
Should We Sin That Grace May Abound?
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
If that child is disobedient, if he sins, he has an advocate. God does not see the disobedience of the child rather He sees Him who stands before him. He sees Jesus Christ. Is not that the expected end that we are all to reach? That He gives gifts to man that we might attain the fullness of Christ? This is what the father sees when we fail. It’s almost too hard to believe. God says come boldly unto the throne of grace. We can come boldly as the father does not condemn us.
There is only condemnation when there is a judgement of sin. God has committed judgement into the hands of His son but His son is our advocate. We are to come boldly unto the throne of grace. Purification is a process. Sanctification is the work of a lifetime and we now see how it is that Jesus Christ is my sanctification because as soon as I make a mistake He stands in my place. Christ learnt obedience by the things, which He suffered. Christ is made unto us justification and sanctification and redemption.
This Purifying Experience
If we are God’s we may still make mistakes. If we do make a mistake, we will be chastened. Chastening is a punishment. We will have to suffer the consequences of it. You have no excuse if you sin.
1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].
Whatever temptations come your way, if you fall under the temptation; you have no excuse for doing it because God’s grace is sufficient for you. When the temptation comes there is an open door and there is a way out. But what if you fail in that temptation? Could it be that God in his wonder and love, still provide for us a way that we can bear it even though we have failed? With the temptation comes the grace to overcome. Are we still able to bear that failure? Is God’s love and grace still sufficient? I am not saying that we are to sin that we might receive grace. Do we know? Are we learning?
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.
How many things work together for good? All things work together for good. How many things are things? Is there anything not contained in the word at all? Everything works together for good. God is righteous. All things work together for righteousness. Your failings, could it be that your failures can work for you righteousness? Could it be?
Grace Abounding to Chief of Sinners by John Bunyan: 156. But oh, how did my soul, at this time, prize the preservation that God did set about his people! Ah, how safely did I see them walk, whom God had hedged in! They were within His care, protection, and special providence; though they were full as bad as I by nature; yet because He loved them, He would not suffer them to fall without the range of mercy; but as for me, I was gone, I had done it; He would not preserve me, nor keep me; but suffered me, because I was a reprobate, to fall as I had done. Now, did those blessed places, that spake of God’s keeping His people, shine like the sun before me, though not to comfort me, but to show me the blessed state and heritage of those whom the Lord had blessed.” “
When we are in Jesus Christ we are hedged in and in Jesus Christ we walked safely. If you are in Christ, though you fall you have an advocate with the father you are not without the range of mercy. Mercy and grace can come and still be sufficient. Even your failures can perfect righteousness within you. As I have been meditating upon these scriptures that we read and receiving impressions in my heart to put in words, without sounding presumptuous but in ways that could be understood. These are not my words but what another person has spoken.
157. Now I saw, that as God had His hand in all providences and dispensation that overtook His elect, so He had His hand in all the temptations that they had to sin against Him, not to animate them unto wickedness, but to choose their temptations and troubles for them; and also to leave them, for a time, to such sins only as might not destroy, but humble them; as might not put them beyond, but lay them in the way of the renewing of His mercy. But oh, what love, what care, what kindness and mercy did I now see, mixing itself with the most severe and dreadful of all God’s ways to His people! He would let David, Hezekiah, Solomon, Peter, and others fall, but He would not let them fall into sin unpardonable, nor into hell for sin. Oh! thought I, these be the men that God hath loved; these be the men that God, though He chastiseth them, keeps them in safety by Him, and them whom He makes to abide under the shadow of the Almighty. But all these thoughts added sorrow, grief, and horror to me, as whatever I now thought on, it was killing to me. If I thought how God kept His own, that was killing to me. If I thought of how I was falling myself, that was killing to me. As all things wrought together for the best, and to do good to them that were the called, according to His purpose; so I thought that all things wrought for my damage, and for my eternal overthrow.
Can you understand what I have just read? Is it not too wonderful to believe? God will choose our temptations for us and being the I AM, the omniscient one and knowing what temptations we are going to fall under, He chooses our temptations and permits only the temptations to come upon us that will work for our humility, that will work for our recognition of their own incapability and to awaken in us a sense of need.
6. I find to this day seven abominations in my heart: (1) Inclining to unbelief. (2) Suddenly to forget the love and mercy that Christ shows. (3) A leaning to the works of the law. (4) Wanderings and coldness in prayer. (5) To forget to watch for that I pray for. (6) Apt to murmur because I have no more, and yet ready to abuse what I have. (7) I can do none of those things, which God commands me, but my corruptions will thrust in themselves, ‘When I would do good, evil is present with me.’
Are these the abominations of your own heart? – Recognize them. These are the seven abominations of the human heart. How many things work together for good? All things. Isn’t it – Light out of darkness, righteousness out of unrighteousness?
7. These things I continually see and feel, and am afflicted and oppressed with; yet the wisdom of God doth order them for my good. (1) They make me abhor myself. (2) They keep me from trusting my heart. (3) They convince me of the insufficiency of all inherent righteousness. (4) They show me the necessity of flying to Jesus. (5) They press me to pray unto God. (6) They show me the need I have to watch and be sober. (7) And provoke me to look to God, through Christ, to help me, and carry me through this world.
Can you say Amen? Is it too hard to believe? Is it not easy to believe that when you fail, its ok, God can still bring to righteousness, even your failures he will cause to profit you? Where is room for despair? Where is place for despondency in your Christian walk? I suffer it too much. I don’t believe these things as I ought to believe them and Satan is always there to press home our sins and to eclipse these appreciations from our minds. But even if we despair and if we are give away to despondency, don’t stress, you can come boldly to the throne of grace. His grace is sufficient to bring joy to peace.
These blessed considerations and scriptures made to spangle in my mind so I have cause to say “Praise ye the Lord, praise Him in the firmament of His power, praise Him for His mighty acts. Praise Him for his excellent greatness.”