Isn’t it interesting that we seem to always know what someone else needs to do to discipline their children? But with our own children our emotions usually clouded our judgment. Clear-cut decisions on disciplining our own children often escaped us. So we did the best we could.
Holiness, what is it? This verse caught my attention: “Strive for peace with everyone, and for holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14
Holiness, my perception initially as a child and teenager didn’t make sense. I knew good folk who worshiped at the “Holiness Church.” These men and women wore long sleeves year-round. The women wore no make-up and only long dresses. The women didn’t cut their hair. I respected them for it. I admired their dedication to the Lord.
But those are only external things. Unless very careful, these things become legalism. Holiness is primarily internal. Of course it must have external results.
So, what is holiness? It means to be different or set-apart. But in the context of Hebrews 12, what is it?
So I backed up into Hebrews 12 and found holiness again in verse 10, “For they (our earthly fathers) disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he (our Heavenly Father) disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.”
So, our Heavenly Father’s discipline and holiness have something to do with each other.
First, holiness is a gift given to us at salvation through grace by faith. Whew, that’s good! I sure am glad of that! Otherwise, I would never see the Father without this holiness (v.14).
Second, our Father disciplines us to bring holiness out in our daily lives. Ouch, that hurts. He strains out the impurities, washes our mouths with soap, and gives an occasional spanking. But unlike us who are imperfect fathers who disciplined in imperfect ways, our Heavenly Father always does it just right! And He does it to so that “we may share his holiness” (v.10).
When do we need this discipline that leads to holiness? Verse 4 says, “In your struggle against sin …” Yes, as we struggle within ourselves and REACT to this world from our old nature when God wants us to REACT to this world from our new nature, then God disciplines us. When we live, act, react, talk, work, and relate from our new nature, then we share in His holiness!
Why? Because our new nature is the HOLY Spirit living in us. React from the old selfish nature, discipline! React from the new holy nature, share God’s holiness!
God is so good!
“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.” Hebrews 12:5-6
Father, thank-you for loving us enough to discipline us. Thank-you for giving us the gift of holiness. Lead us out of temptation. Deliver us from our struggles with evil. Glorify Yourself in us today.