Christian Living

When nothing will stand still #6 and 7: Reflections on Hebrews 12

Over the last months, Emma shared how she was feeling when life suddenly changed with Covid-19, and her plan to go back to a familiar passage. Here are the next two episodes…

#6: Hebrews 12:7-8
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.


A loving parent will take the time and trouble to discipline their loved children. To restrain foolishness and rebellion and to teach what is right and good. Neglected discipline reflects a lack of loving care on the part of a parent. So as difficult as discipline from the Lord’s hand is, it is the action of a loving Father for the good of his children.

#7: Hebrews 12:9-10
Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.

Not only is discipline part of how a father loves his children (v7-8), but the discipline of our heavenly Father has an ultimately wonderful purpose. I know that my discipline of my children is inconsistent and often tinged with self-interest. I deeply respect my Dad; I know not everyone has enjoyed such a blessing. But he and I are alike: our discipline of our children, him to me and me to my sons, is imperfect: we are limited in time and space (and so knowledge) and our character is marred by sin. But God is not like us! God knows what is actually good for us in its entirety. And his discipline is never tainted by self-interest or self-indulgence. Whatever the trial, whatever the training, whatever the discipline, the goal is good: that we will gain what is necessary to be able to see him face to face (Heb 12:14).