When a person’s carnality reaches the point of rejecting the Christian faith, many things can happen. Financial, emotional, social, and mental difficulties are just a few things that could catch up with them. If they live in persistent rebellion against God, God is going to discipline them. “We had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplines us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness” (Hebrews 12:9-10).
The purpose of God’s discipline is to bring us back to Him in reconciliation. He does not discipline in vengeance or because He is angry. Our parents disciplined us the best they could, but God disciplines perfectly every time. He knows everything. He knows what the carnal Christian has done, so God is never caught by surprise.
“All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful” (v. 11). A person living in carnality is going to experience discipline that will hurt. What is the difference between a Christian in the will of God going through trials, and a person out of the will of God going through discipline? If we are in the will of God, we can “consider it all joy” (James 1:2). If we are out of God’s will, we will not have joy in the midst of our problems.
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“To those who have been trained by [discipline], afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11).