Sunday, May 15, 2016

Compassionate Discipline from God

By Todd Lockwood

Lawlessness in any institution will lead to chaos, division, and strife. Churches are not immune to the realities of ignoring laws that establish good order and peace. Many believers avoid church discipline in order to “keep the peace” but that kind of peace doesn’t come from God. God desires a pure peace from a pure people gathered together to worship him in truth. In order to have real peace from God a church must put forth their best effort to purge sin with scripture as the authority, not their own desires or ingenuity. If a church disregards the customs given by God for the church in his word, its gathering together is not for the “better” but for the “worse” in his eyes. (1 Cor 11:17; 2 Tim 3:16-17)

The Lord has established righteous expectations for his children because he has “renewed” our minds to be a peculiar people that are to shine bright in a dark world. We are to walk as “children of light” that prove what is acceptable to the Lord. There is no place for darkness in God’s design for the church. God desires a holy church full of new creatures in Christ that produce the fruits of the Spirit. (Rom 12:2; Eph 4 and 5)

If a church desires to have a peace that comes from God, it must adhere to God-given discipline. The testimony of Christ in a church dissipates when discipline is removed, neglected, or abused. Discipline is God’s way to help believers become more sanctified; it is meant to restore a child of God from the destructive path of sin to the footsteps of the perfect Savior. A church that turns its back to God-given discipline is rejecting its divine purpose, cherishing sin, and is threatening its own existence by provoking the wrath of God. (James 5:19-20; Rev 2:5)

God’s blessing will not be upon any church or believer that cherishes sin; the prayers of such will be ignored by the Almighty. A church is in danger of partaking in the sin of a rebellious believer if it doesn’t try to purge it through discipline. A government that doesn’t discipline its citizens will soon pay the price for allowing destructive behavior; the church is no different. If Lot had not removed himself from the city of Sodom, he would have been “consumed in the iniquity of the city.” (Psalm 66:18; Gen 19:15)

Influences from a politically correct culture has led many churches to chose their own path of unbiblical forgiveness in order to keep a peace among the members rather than a peace that comes from God. A believer is to forgive as God has forgiven believers in Christ; that was not accomplished without repenting. The word of God clearly says to forgive if a believer repents just as God waits upon our humbled confession before granting us forgiveness. (Luke 17:3-4; Col 3:12-13; 1 John 1:9-10)

If a church truly cares about each member, it will hold each other accountable through God-given discipline so that all members may enjoy the peace that comes from above, not from man. God has given the church authority to use his established discipline for the good of every believer and to be a testimony to the world.

"For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth." - Proverbs 3:12