Chastisement by Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him” (Hebrews 12:5).
God’s people can never by any possibility be punished for their sins. God has punished them already in the person of Christ. He, their substitute, has endured the full penalty for all their guilt, and neither the justice nor the love of God can ever exact again that which Christ has paid. Punishment can never happen to a child of God in the judicial sense, he can never be brought before God as his Judge, as charged with guilt, because that guilt was long ago transferred to the shoulders of Christ, and the punishment was exacted at the hands of his surety. But yet, while the sin cannot be punished, while the Christian cannot be condemned, he can be chastised, while he shall never be arraigned before God’s bar as a criminal, and punished for his guilt, yet he now stands in a new relationship—that of a child to his parent: and as a son he may be chastised on account of sin. Folly is bound up in the heart of all God’s children, and the rod of the Father must bring that folly out of them. It is essential to observe the distinction between punishment and chastisement.
Punishment and chastisement may agree as to the nature of the suffering: the one suffering may be as great as the other, the sinner who, while here is punished for his guilt, may suffer no more in this life than the Christian who is only chastised by his parent. They do not differ as to the nature of the punishment, but they differ in the mind of the punisher and in the relationship of the person who is punished. God punishes the sinner on his own account, because he is angry with the sinner, and his justice must be avenged, his law must be honored, and his commands must have their dignity maintained. But he does not punish the believer on his own account, it is on the Christian’s account, to do him good, He afflicts him for his profit, he lays on the rod for his child’s advantage; he has a good design towards the person who receives the chastisement. While in punishment the design is simply with God for God’s glory, in chastisement, it is with the person chastised for his good, for his spiritual profit and benefit. Besides, punishment is laid on a man in anger. God strikes him in wrath, but when he afflicts his child, chastisement is applied in love, his strokes are, all of them, put there by the hand of love. The rod has been baptized in deep affection before it is laid on the believer’s back. God doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve us for nought, but out of love and affection, because he perceives that if he leaves us unchastised, we shall bring upon ourselves misery ten thousand-fold greater than we shall suffer by his slight rebukes, and the gentle blows of his hand. Take this in the very starting, that whatever thy trouble, or thine affliction, there cannot be anything punitive in it, thou must never say—”Now God is punishing me for my sin.” Thou hast fallen from thy steadfastness when thou talkest so. God cannot do that. He has once for all done it. “The chastisement of our peace was upon HIM, and by HIS stripes we are healed.” He is chastising thee, not punishing thee; he is correcting thee in measure, he is not smiting thee in wrath. There is no hot displeasure in his heart. Even though his brow may be ruffled, there is no anger in his breast; even though his eye may have closed upon thee, he hates thee not, he loves thee still. He is not wroth with his heritage, for he seeth no sin in Jacob, neither iniquity—in Israel, considered in the person of Christ. It is simply because he loves you, because ye are sons, that he therefore chastises you. (Chastisement by Charles Haddon Spurgeon )
Heb 12:4-8 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” 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.