Thankfully, we can be assured that the Lord is indeed discipling His church.  Let’s consider what we read in Hebrews 12:5-8, “My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” 

To chasten, or discipline, the church is an act of love from our loving father.  We should understand that discipline is not an act of hatred.  It is an act from the Lord to draw us to Him when we stray from Him and His teachings.  It is clear that WHOM THE LORD LOVETH HE CHASTENETH.”  We read of the purpose of God’s discipline in Job 36:9-10, “Then he sheweth them their work, and their transgressions that they have exceeded. He openeth also their ear to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity.”  The Lord wants us to realize when we, as believers, sin against Him.  He will show us (through our Spirit-led consciences) our transgressions and use discipline to cause us to “return from iniquity.”  Even as the word ‘disciple’ means to learn, the word ‘discipline’ means to teach.  The Lord will use His loving discipline to teach us forsake our sins and return to Him. 

Let’s continue reading in Hebrews by reading Hebrews 12:11-13, “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.”  Often, the Lord’s chastening is not pleasant to us, but the results are tremendous.  When we realize that we are being disciplined because of the Lord’s love for us, we are encouraged.  We ‘lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees.”  The proper understanding of the purpose of God’s discipline will bring us out of our state of depression.  It will also lead us to “make straight paths for your feet.”  The discipline will serve to put us back on the right track in following the Lord. 

While the Lord does discipline us when needed, the Lord does not judge or condemn His church.  We read in Romans 8:1, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (NASB).  As believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, we are past condemnation.  John 3:18 tells us, “He that believeth on him is NOT CONDEMNED: but he that believeth not is CONDEMNED ALREADY, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”  Believers have had their sins paid for by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus, therefore they will NEVER be condemned, or judged, by God.  Those who have rejected the Lord Jesus as savior are already under the condemnation of God. 

We will end this small devotion by reading the encouraging words of the Lord in Revelation 3:19, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”  (380.6)