“If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons—for what son is he whom the father chastens not? But, if you be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are you bastards and not sons.”
It’s one of the most dangerous places to be.
That’s the bottom-line message the anonymous author of Hebrews is trying to convey in today’s Manna—for sin always has its “wages” (Rom. 6:23a) and one who sins, but never experiences any adverse repercussions should definitely be asking “Why?”
In v.6 we read “For whom the Lord loves, He chastens and scourges.” Then, in our Manna we read “But if you be without chastisement, you are a bastard and not a son.” Now, we’re not used to using such words in common conversation, for the word “bastard” is quite coarse and offensive; yet, we know that it basically means “an illegitimate son, one born out of wedlock, etc.” And, the point the author is trying to make is “God will not discipline someone else’s children.”
Think about it:
Haven’t there been times when you’ve been out in public and seen a little “tyrant-tyke” throwing a temper tantrum. . .kicking and screaming. . .saying “I’m not going to do it!” or “No! I don’t want to!”. . .while a seemingly helpless and frustrated parent nearby says “Now, ________, you know you shouldn’t act that way” and does nothing.
Doesn’t a part of you want to go over, rebuke the pitiful parent and grab the little demon by the arm, bend him over your knee and exercise the “board of education” on his posterior? Without a doubt! Yet, we will not do what was needed—simply because he/she’s not our child.
So, dear Pilgrim, the principle is the same in today’s Manna.
Assuredly, God the Father is omnipotent and can do what He will. But, He will not exert Divine Discipline (corrective measures) on a child of the devil; instead, He will “give them up to their sinful ways” (Rom. 1:18-32), while still seeking to “convict them of sin, the need of Righteousness and Judgment to come” (Jn. 16:8-11). Simply put, He will use circumstances and people in their lives to bring conviction; however, He will use them in our life for correction and instruction. A big difference.
That’s why we should always be concerned if, seemingly, we can “sin and get away with it,” feeling no remorse or conviction. This doesn’t mean we should continually live in a state of paranoia, afraid to make a mistake; however, it does mean that we should expect God’s chastening Hand to intervene in our lives—particularly when we knowingly, intentionally engage in sins of commission (e.g., “I know I shouldn’t, but. . .”).
Never forget the word “chastening” also means “to instruct, teach, discipline, etc.” It’s not punitive actions meted out by the hand of a volcanic, vengeful, about-to-go-berserk father acting in a fit of rage. Instead, it’s loving reproof whereby we’ll know He loves us enough to correct us and desires for us to move back closer to Him where we belong.