Enduring Discipline as a Child of God

David Norczyk
5 min readMay 21, 2024

Children of God are loved by our heavenly Father, who is holy (Lev 11:44; 1 Jn 3:1, 10). God’s will is to have a holy nation of saints (holy ones), who are set apart from the world and for His own possession and purpose (Titus 2:14; 1 Pet 2:9). The Spirit of adoption, who gives us new life (2 Cor 5:17; Eph 2:5; Col 2:13), is the Spirit of a holiness who sanctifies us (Rom 8:15, 23; 1 Thess 5:23; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Pet 1:2). God’s motive in disciplining His children, with the goal of holiness, is love (Dt 33:3; Rom 5:5; 2 Cor 13:14; Eph 1:4). He is preparing His children for eternal life in the glory of heaven.

Divine discipline comes with many hardships that must be endured by each one of God’s beloved (Jn 16:33). We are pressed on every side by God’s design (Lk 19:43; 2 Cor 7:5). Our Father knows best how to teach and test us through various trials. We grow up in Christ by joining in His sufferings (Col 1:24). Jesus is our merciful and faithful high priest; who identified with us so that we might identify with Him (Heb 2:17).

Sin is the big issue for everyone (Rom 3:23; 5:12; 6:23; 1 Jn 3:4); and we live in a world of sinners (Jn 16:8). Sin operates within human hearts and minds. One’s flesh has a sin nature influencing us to sin (Eph 2:3). Sinners sin; and reprobate sinners prove to be agents of opposition to all who endeavor to live godly in Christ Jesus (2 Tim 3:12). They are of their father, the devil, and their evil deeds are inspired by him (Jn 8:44).

God causes all things to work together for good for His beloved (Rom 8:28); therefore, by design, the hostility of sinners is employed by God to discipline His children. He uses the evil deeds of sinners to bring about good in all the saints. Believers must never doubt God’s intention when He employs resistance on our way to glory. In other words, our temporary trials serve to secure the glory that is to be revealed to us (Rom 8:18). It is God, willing and doing His good pleasure (Phil 2:13).

Before an objection can be raised, we must be reminded that Jesus was resisted by the opposition. Men were hostile to the perfect God-man. Jesus was verbally derided. He was stalked with the hope of catching Him in His Words. He was eventually arrested and put through repeated kangaroo court trials. He was beaten, scourged under torturous conditions. Blooded and disfigured, Jesus carried His cross and was pinned to it. Even then, He endured the insults of wicked sinners (Mt 27:42; Mk 15:31; Lk 23:35). Our Lord did resist to the point of shedding blood (Heb 12:4). He died at the hands of evil men; and yet, in the eternal purpose and will of God.

Christians follow Jesus. We are not ashamed that Jesus was humiliated to the end of His life. He successfully accomplished the mission for which he lived and died. Jesus endured the cross, in the joyful prospect of eternal communion with His beloved bride, His church, the Israel of God (Mt 16:18; Gal 6:16; Heb 12:2).

Christian suffering is not in vain. It is purposeful for teaching, training, and testing the saints of God. We endure suffering in the grace of God’s discipline. Like living trees, we are pruned, spiritually. We grow back stronger, so that spiritual fruit may be produced in abundance. Living branches grafted into Jesus, the true and living Vine, have the life of God flowing in them (Jn 15). Thus, we have the blessed assurance that He that is in us (Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9, 11; 1 Jn 4:4), who began this good work of new life (2 Cor 5:17), will complete it with eternal life (Phil 1:6).

Sinners who do not belong to Christ are illegitimate sons (Jn 10:26; Heb 12:8). They do not believe in Jesus, nor do they wish to suffer for His name. They eventually fall away from Christ and His body of members who do not shrink back (Heb 6:4–6; 10:38–39). It is often the harsh treatment by opponents representing the world that proves these people were never truly been converted.

Sons of God know the kindness and the severity of the Father. They are witnesses to both the goodness and the wrath of God in the world (Rom 1:18). They know that nothing can separate the children of God from the love of God (Rom 8:31–39). This is true through the darkest of times and circumstances (see Job). God does not leave his children as orphans nor does He forsake them in any way (Jn 14:18; Heb 13:5).

By way of illustration, we might consider an army drill sergeant. In preparing troops for combat, he does not shirk his responsibility by being soft with them. That would equate to a form of hatred because the troops would not be ready for battle. Therefore, in this disciplinarian father figure, we observe the underlying motive of love for both country and countrymen.

Those who endure hardship as beloved sons have deep respect for the ones who disciplined them most. It was not pleasant in the moment; but momentary light affliction results in an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison (2 Cor 4:17). Even before that end of sorrow, there is the joy of holiness in this life. One recognizes the advantage of having been prepared by another for the mission at hand. In God’s predetermined plan and foreknowledge (for-love), He equips His own for the work of the ministry. We must never grow weary in doing good (Gal 6:9; 2 Thess 2:13).

Holiness is produced by the Spirit of holiness in the sanctified ones (saints). To be set apart by God and for God means the disciplined child of God resembles Christ Jesus more and more (Rom 8:29). The goal is His likeness, which is the perfect mold of holiness. Jesus suffered, in being the prototype of those who would follow in His steps (1 Pet 2:21). He suffered; and then He took His place at the right hand of Majesty on the throne of God (Heb 1:3; 8:1).

Finally, we remember that righteousness (holy right standing with God) was meritoriously achieved by only one man in human history. Jesus Christ is Lord, our righteousness (Jer 23:6). His achieved status is applied to us by way of imputation. This privileged status before God does not permit pride of any kind, however. We are humbled to be chosen for inclusion in His holy family (Mic 6:8). Our best response is to give thanks and rejoice in everything because our course has been entirely ordained by God (Ps 57:2; 138:8; Rom 8:28; 1 Cor 1:30; Eph 1:11; 1 Thess 5:16–17).

In conclusion, let us remember who we are in Christ. Let us remember what Jesus Christ has gone through for our benefit; and as we follow Him as true disciples, let us not grow weary and lose heart because of the many disciplines we must endure at the hands of our Father, who is in heaven and who knows the best course for each one of us brought into His family. We are being fitted for heaven; and that glory is not to be compared with any of the sufferings ordained for us.

David Norczyk

Spokane Valley, Washington

May 21, 2024

Hebrews 12:3–11

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David Norczyk

Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher