Discipline, Punishment, Condemnation

God punishes, God disciplines, God is a perfect Father
When I wrote God Punishes, some of my readers insisted the Bible teaches that God doesn't punish believers.

This is an important subject, so let's address their objections:

Objection: God disciplines but never punishes. We simply suffer consequences. 

In English and Greek, discipline can include punishment. More relevant is the fact that Hebrews 12:6 says God disciplines and punishes.(1)   

Objection: God is good and only gives good gifts (James 1:17). Therefore, He's not a part of punishment, trials or difficulties in our lives. 

Good isn't the same as pleasant. 

Discipline and punishment can be good for us, increasing our faith - Hebrews 12:11; Revelation 3:19. (2) 

Objection: Since there's no condemnation for Christians (Romans 8:1-2), there's no punishment. 

Condemnation (a final verdict) is different from discipline and punishment. Believers are not condemned, but neither are we freed from consequences or punishments here on earth.(3)  

It's important we have the correct view of God. If we believe God is perfect and loving, we'll accept His right to punish His children.

(1) In Heb.12:6 the Greek word for discipline can include punishment. And there's no doubt about the Greek word for punish which literally means "whip."
(2)  1 Peter 1:6-7, James 1:2-4, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
(3) Condemnation is a different word in the Greek than either discipline or punishment. It involves punishment after a verdict of guilt. We often say a man is "condemned to death." See Romans 6:23.

For more Scriptures that confirm these principles, check out today's Bite Size Bible Study.


Benefits of Praying Philippians 1:9-11

Praying God's Word, Philippians Prayer
Praying Scripture for ourselves and others can be powerful and effective.

These prayers shouldn't replace spontaneous conversation with God, but they can supplement it. 

Philippians 1:9-11 is one of example:
"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God."

This prayer contains an important request: a love for God that includes knowledge and insight. 

This solid, Biblical love for God has terrific benefits:

1. It gives us discernment to avoid false views of Jesus and twisted Scriptures
2. It helps us live pure and fruitful lives.

Why not take a moment and pray it now.
Other devotions about praying Scripture:
6 Good Prayers from the Epistles
Passages and Prayers
10 Good Prayers from the Psalms
6 Reasons to Pray Colossians 1:9


6 Desires of Christ-Followers

Carrying our cross, loving Jesus, living with eternal perspective
1. The desire to be holy more than happy (1 John 2:15-17).
~Loving God more than we love worldly things.

2. The desire to honor and obey God even if it causes suffering (Philippians 3:7-16).
~Wanting to know Christ above all else.

3. The desire to carry his cross (Matthew 16:24).
~Willingly doing the things God calls us to do, without resentment.

4. The desire to see all things from God’s eternal perspective (Matthew 6:19-20).
~Storing our treasure in heaven because we know this life is but a breath.

5. The desire to learn from God's correction and discipline (Hebrews 12:4-11).
~Being teachable, quick to repent, able to identify our sins and learn from them.

6. The desire to focus on others more than on himself (Philippians 2:3-4).
~Aware that self-focus leads to selfishness.

Dear Lord, help us to have all six of these desires.

Some thoughts for this devotion came from Tozer's 7 Characteristics of a Spiritual Man (Gasping for the Glory of God).


Viral Video: Small Boy Memorizing Scripture A-Z

memorizing Scripture
Not all viral videos are worth watching. But I found one this week that's well worth 3 minutes (HERE). 

It made me smile ... and convicted me.

I felt a similar conviction years ago when my friend Cindy told me her young son had memorized the entire book of Philippians.*

The video I linked above features a small boy sharing a Bible verse for each letter of the alphabet. Not only is it sweet to hear such a young voice repeating God's precious Word, it's a confirmation of what we humans can do if we make it a priority.

How important is God's Word to us?

Is it important enough to memorize - even if memory work is "not your thing"?

While I've memorized quite a bit of Scripture, I doubt that the Words of God I know outnumber the lyrics, commercials, and useless trivia I know.

Will you join me in committing to be more regular in memorizing Scripture?

* I memorized the book of Philippians after hearing this, and I must say it is a special book to me. That's one of the benefits of memorization - it makes Scripture more alive to us as it dwells richly in our hearts (Colossians 3:16).

Here are some 1-minute devotions that offer ideas for memory work:
6 Tips To Make Scripture Memory Easier
Dwelling - the 8x8 Method
Well Hidden
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All Scripture references NIV unless otherwise noted.