“Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But that is not what God desires; rather, he devises ways so that a banished person does not remain banished from him” (2 Samuel 14:14).
I love this verse.
God disciplines, rebukes, and corrects those whom he loves. He has to. He cannot leave us in our sins. He cannot leave us in our addictions and our failures. God has to change us. God has to correct us, discipline us.
But, God never disciplines for discipline’s sake. God always disciplines, corrects, and rebukes in order to restore us.
I love the truth expressed in this verse.
John Calvin said that the three signs of the true church of Jesus Christ are:
- Where the word of God is faithfully preached and heard
- Where the sacraments of God are faithfully administered
- Where the discipline of God is faithfully practiced
Church discipline is a necessary marker of the church.
I will be the first to admit that the church has not always practiced church discipline well. Too often we have disciplined in order to punish instead of disciplining for correction and restoration.
But here’s the thing about restoration. The only way church discipline works is when we are humble enough to accept the discipline of the church. Too often, when we are on the receiving end of church discipline, we bolt. We leave. We say, “This is yucky. I don’t like it.”
And the byproduct of this is that we never grow. The only way we will grow and mature in our faith is to mutually submit and surrender to the discipline and correction of the church.
Friends, I pray that we are a church that practices Godly correction and discipline in order to restore people to God’s family. And, I pray that we will all humble ourselves to receive correction, rebuke, and discipline.