He Loves Us!!!
Read 1 Corinthians Chapter 11
1Co 11:31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32 When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.
For the purposes of today’s study, we are going to define God’s discipline as whatever means He uses to bring us back to Him when we go astray. That may require some severe action on His part, a simple nudge which we immediately respond to, or anywhere in between those two options. We who belong to Christ are continually being overseen by our Father. The Holy Spirit is always with us as our built-in course corrector, continually prompting us to act, think, and speak correctly. In my life, God has used the severe disciplines only when I have heard the voice of the Spirit but have refused to listen to Him. We could save ourselves a lot of heartache if we would willingly “judge ourselves” as suggested in verse 31. We have a choice – we can judge ourselves and change those things about us which do not conform to God will, or we can fall under God’s judgment and suffer His disciplines. I imagine we can all agree that there is no tranquility in life when we are outside His will. How much better would our lives be like if we made course corrections in life on our own rather than having to endure our Father’s disciplines? Our younger son learned that lesson very early in life in relation to family matters. He carefully watched the actions of his older brother and figured out that his life would go smoother if he would just avoid some of the mistakes his brother made. We would be smart to do the same in regard to our relationship with God. The same application can be made when we go astray and the Holy Spirit urges us to veer away from the direction we are going. If we will heed His voice from the first moment He makes us aware of a problem, our lives will be less complicated than the alternative. His disciplines will not be severe. Christians make a huge mistake when they think God will excuse willful disobedience. But there is an even greater message in these two short verses. Note the latter part of verse 32 – why does our Lord discipline us? It is a beautiful answer: “so that we will not be condemned with the world.” Do we not see, as we look around us in today’s society, that most men and women we see are headed toward condemnation? We have become so used to seeing evil in our world that we have forgotten the ultimate destination of those who have no regard for Christ and God’s commands. Most people we encounter today give little or no thought to God. They either do not believe He exists, or they are certain He will not condemn anyone to Hell. They go about their lives believing that there are no consequences to living outside of God’s pathway. Our world sees no problem with abortion, same-sex unions, babies born out of wedlock, premarital sex, drunken binges, etc. Our list could go on and on. There is a terrible day coming for all who continue down that road and never repent and turn their lives over to Christ. But now, let us get back to our good news. We will not suffer the fate of the ungodly. Our Savior has put in place a system of disciplines, which He administers, which prevents us from suffering eternal condemnation. But let’s not get puffed up about it. We have done nothing to gain that favor from Him; it is a part of His salvation and sanctification process. I would be out there living like the world, with no hope, if it were not for His disciplines. I claim no credit for my right-standing with God. His Spirit has continually nudged me back onto the right path – sometimes with a gentle nudge and other times with a good wallop. It is an amazing thought to ponder, that God loves you and I so much that He REFUSES to allow us to be condemned with the world. We should be grateful beyond any possible description for our lofty position in His kingdom. And we should become more serious about praying for our friends who are not under God’s disciplines. Their welfare is in grave danger. Let’s do all we can to warn them of the coming disaster.
Prayer: We do pray for our friends who have gone astray. We also thank You for preventing us from joining them. Keep us ever aware of the dangers of sin. Your disciplines are a beautiful expression of Your love for us. Thank You!!