Our loving Heavenly Father desires to affect our lives toward righteous character and godly living. Hebrews 12 indicates five ways He does it:
1. He ENCOURAGES us: Verse 5a speaks of His “word of encouragement that addresses us as sons… ” (Greek: paraklesis)
The idea here is one of entreaty, or imploring; much as you would encourage a child whom you want to excel in sports or academics. (See Acts 20:2; Romans 12:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:3)
2. He DISCIPLINES us: “Do not make light of the Lord‘s discipline… because the Lord disciplines those He loves… ” (vs. 5a, 6a) (Greek: paidea)
The idea here is one of education: Learning that occurs through the pain of discipline. (See 1 Corinthians 11:32; Hebrews 12:7, 10, 11)
3. He REBUKES us: “Do not loose heart when He rebukes you… ” (vs. 12:5b) (Greek: elegcho)
The idea here is one of exposing our deviant behavior. Telling us of our faults. (See Matthew 16:22; Luke 17:3; 1 Timothy 5:1, 20; 2 Timothy 4:2)
4. He PUNISHES us: “He punishes everyone He accepts as sons.” (vs. 12:6b) (Greek: mastigoo)
The idea here is one of severe penalization: Whipping a person for the purpose of inflicting suffering. (See Proverbs 22:15; 23:13, 14; 1 Corinthians 10:6; 1 Thessalonians 4:6; Hebrews 10:29)
5. He TRAINS us: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (vs. 12:11) (Greek: gumnazo)
The idea here is of one who is trained (disciplined) by God to live a godly life. We, in kind then, are to exercise ourselves in godly discipline. (See 1 Timothy 4:7; Hebrews 5:14; 2 Timothy 3:16)
We are to respond to His discipline as follows:
1. Don’t resist, despise, or make light of it; don’t be discouraged, or grow weary from it (vs. 5).
2. Understand it is evidence that we are His spiritual offspring; evidence of His love (vs. 6).
3. Don’t try to get out from under it (vs. 7-9).
4. Understand that discipline results in holy lives, righteousness, and peace (vs. 10,11).
5. Regain your strength and straighten your path as a result of it (vs. 12, 13).