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? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. (Hebrews 12:6–8, NKJV)
The word “chasten” means discipline, and this passage leaves no doubt that properly applied discipline (instruction and correction) includes momentary pain which is intended to yield positive results (Hebrews 12:6, 9-11). The rod of discipline is not a rod of abuse (although that is how the world portrays it). Just as the world resists the Lord’s corrective discipline (although it beneficial), it also resists God’s word that teaches parents to use it as one aspect of training their children. “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly” (Proverbs 13:24). Children need training to mature properly. To discipline them is a mark of parental love. To withhold needed discipline from a child is not love. The child who refuses and despises parental discipline is rebellious. The Christian who refuses and despises God’s discipline is also rebellious. Thus, we are exhorted to “be in subjection” to our Father’s discipline so we may partake of His holiness (Hebrews 12:10).
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:19–20, NKJV)
We live in an age when rebuking sin is viewed as unloving, judgmental treatment of others. Yet, with clarity and force, with lovely urgency, Jesus rebuked the Christians in Laodicea for their spiritual arrogance and apathy (Rev. 3:14-22). Sin destroys the soul! It must not be comforted; it must be rooted out of the heart. Only then will Jesus enter the heart and abide with us. You see, sin separates people from God, including Christians. We must accept the chastening of our sins that Jesus gives us in His word, and make the correction that must occur for Christ’s fellowship to truly exist. Remember, this is a passage spoken to Christians. Our hearts can become apathetic toward Christ, preventing Christ from abiding with us. We can turn away from Christ and close the door we once opened to Jesus. But the door of your heart does not have to remain closed. Fellow Christian, if you have turned away from Christ, then start listening to Him. He is calling you to repent. Open your heart to Him and do His will. He will come in, forgive you and bless you with His saving presence (Jno. 14:21, 23).