Devotions - Read Online

Monday | 25 June 2018
Two types of discipline

The apostle Paul exhorted Christian fathers, saying, ‘Do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.’ Paul was drawing their attention to two modes of parenting. One approach leads to wrath, and the other is ‘of the Lord’. The fathering that is ‘of the Lord’ connects a child to the circumcision of Christ.

Paul further highlighted the distinction between a fallen, or earthly, mode of parenting, and the circumcision of Christ in families, when he wrote, ‘We had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.’ Paul was explaining that parents can chasten their children from the basis of their own fleshly perspective. The English translations of this passage of Scripture advance the proposition that earthly discipline causes children to respect their parents. However, the Greek word that is translated ‘respect’ can equally be translated as ‘shame’.

Evidently, discipline that is based on earthly principles does not cultivate the divine nature in children, and does not, therefore, result in the good of their eternal reward. This approach to discipline and instruction may yield a child’s compliance with the standards of behaviour that seem best to their parents, but it does not promote the child’s sonship. A child’s compliance is simply a projection that clothes the shame of their pursuit of good and their avoidance of evil. It is the outcome of having been trained to live by the other law. The parents, who themselves are living by the principles of the flesh, view their children’s compliance as the evidence of their good family culture. Parents who live this way are often concerned about how they, and their children, are being perceived by others.


Further Study:
Deuteronomy 11
Daily Proverb:
Proverbs 25

References:

Eph 6:4
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Heb 12:7, 9-10
(7) It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
(9) Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.

Deu 6:6-7
"These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up."

Gen 18:19
"For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him."
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