“My child, don't turn away or become bitter when the Lord corrects you. The Lord corrects everyone he loves, just as parents correct a child they dearly love.” Proverbs 3:11-12 (CEV).
It can be difficult to understand that when the Lord corrects and disciplines us, it is actually His grace. It is easy for us to understand that it is great grace that the Lord loves us, takes care of us, that He died for us, and that He forgives us all our sins. But when He disciplines and corrects us, very few understand that that is also great grace.
What Jesus came with
We praise God for the grace that was given to us on the cross of Calvary where Jesus died for our sins so that we could get forgiveness of sins by faith. But that’s also something they could receive in the old covenant. That’s not the main thing Jesus came with.
Jesus also came with a new life. That is the gospel! The gospel of God’s peace, God’s joy, God’s grace! After we’ve been converted and we have a good relationship with God again, then the intention is that we should also come to a new life (Romans 6:19). Then we get God’s peace. Then we have a good conscience. But we don’t yet have all the peace that is in God. God now wants to change and form us to be a “man of God”, so that we can come to that life that is in God, that we should become more and more holy.
And if we want to come to that, then we are going to need an education, a training. So God disciplines and corrects us, just as parents correct their children. As people we are very superficial, but God has a goal with our life. Through discipline and correction He opens our ears so that we can hear His voice speaking to us, and that we come to the right place in our spirit where God wants us to be (Psalm 119:67).
That is the whole intention behind this education, this correction. That we can come to a point where we see what is good and what is evil (Hebrews 5:14). So that we don’t remain like children who don’t understand anything, but that we come to a mature life in God and understand what God wants, and what His will is in our lives.
Discipline and correction is God’s grace!
God’s discipline and correction where He treats us as sons, that is God’s grace! And that’s why we should not be surprised over the trials that come over us, as if it is something strange (1 Peter 4:12). It is God working with us! But we have to be humble to understand that. That is why it is written in 1 Peter 5:6: “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God.” In trials, we can feel that God’s hand is heavy upon us. But when we humble ourselves, it becomes lighter.
Think about Jesus, His education, His training here on earth. He was happier than any other person on earth (Hebrews 1:9). That is really something to think about. In those situations where He was with Joseph, as the son of a carpenter, He was absolutely satisfied and happy. Absolutely! Because He knew that He was in God’s will and God was teaching Him.
And that is how it is with us too. When we think about the fact that God teaches and trains us to get rid of worldliness and all such things, that is God’s grace (Titus 2:11-12)! For that we need to be disciplined and corrected.
If we believe that God sees us through Jesus as if we had never sinned, what can true grace do in us? We will remain the same people, living according to our sinful human nature until we die. That is a false understanding of grace.
Paul had a clear understanding of God’s grace, and he warned us that this grace should not be in vain. It is in the most difficult things we meet in life that we show if we are servants of the Lord. When a trial comes our way, of course we want to be a servant of the Lord, but if we become bitter in the trial, then we show that we are not a servant of the Lord.
True grace is a work of the Holy Spirit; it is God’s grace, where He teaches and trains us to become worthy servants of the Lord.