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19. Wisdom and Child-Rearing (Part VI)

The Purposes, the Process,
and the Privilege of Divine Discipline

Introduction

Whenever I am asked to marry a couple, one of the things I seek to learn is the level of commitment each has to the permanence of their relationship. This commitment to permanence has a profound impact on the relationship. Let me explain why.

In recent times all too many marriages have been based upon a conditional commitment to each other. Both are committed to the other as long as their partner lives up to their expectations, as long as each partner feels happy and fulfilled. Whenever problems arise in the relationship, each person recognizes that there is an alternative, an escape--divorce. When we assume that we don’t have to endure an unpleasant relationship any longer than we wish, we put forth considerably less effort to make the relationship grow and deepen. Investing in a marriage that could end is about as reasonable as seeking to increase your payments into the Social Security system.

A Christian marriage should be entered with a commitment to permanence. As our Lord put it, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matt. 19:6).When a Christian couple encounters conflict (as they inevitably will), they must deal with their problems with this thought in mind: “No matter what, I am going to spend the rest of my life with this person.” I must tell you that this commitment changes the way we solve problems in our relationship. If you knew you might never have to see your wife again you might be tempted to say and do some nasty things. However, since you know that tomorrow and the next day and the next you will have to live, work, and commune with her, you would be more careful not to damage your relationship. The permanence of a relationship governs the way we seek to solve conflicts which arise within it.

In regard to the process of discipline this same principle is true in child raising. Divine discipline is God’s dealing in the lives of His sons in order to make us obedient and faithful children. No matter what happens, we will always be His children, once we have become a child of His b faith in Christ. God’s dealings with us are governed by the fact that we are and will always be His children. So, too, the discipline of our children is governed by the fact that we are chastening our children. Our relationship with our child governs the use of the “rod.”

In this message I want to focus on several important principles which should govern parenting. The first has to do with the purposes and goals of discipline. The second defines the process involved in discipline. The third is a reminder of the privilege of discipline. Let us consider these important truths as we conclude our study of child-training in Proverbs.

The Purposes of Divine Discipline

One’s relationship with God determines how God will deal with him. The difference is between that of discipline and of damnation. When God condemns a person to eternal damnation He is giving that person both what he wants and what he deserves. God is absolutely just and righteous in judging the sinner.

When God disciplines a son He does so not to punish as much as to correct. Rehabilitation, a term used frequently in reference to the prison system, has much more relevance to the Christian than to the criminal. God disciplines His sons in order to turn them from their evil way to the way of wisdom and righteousness. God’s children do not need to be punished, for Christ has borne their punishment on the cross of Calvary. Divine discipline is therefore more corrective than it is punitive.

While divine discipline has many purposes, the one which I would like to focus on is the purpose of reunion or reconciliation Sin always separates man from God. When Adam and Eve sinned, they withdrew themselves from the intimate communion they had formerly enjoyed with Him (Gen. 3:8). Those who have rejected God’s provision of salvation in Christ will be eternally separated from the presence of God (2 Thess. 1:9).The death of Christ has removed the barrier between man and God. Those who have trusted in Christ have been reconciled to God (Rom. 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:18; Col. 1: 20-21).

While sin in the life of the Christian can never separate him from Christ in the sense of losing his salvation, sin always impairs the intimacy and the enjoyment of the relationship between the saint and the Savior. We commonly refer to the loss of intimacy between the Christian and the Lord as “being out of fellowship.” While I do not find this a very precise use of the term “fellowship,” I do agree with the state it is attempting to describe. When a husband and wife are having a “fight” they are not “out of marriage” with each other. Their relationship simply deteriorates and falls short of its potential during such disharmony. So, too, the Christian cannot enjoy his relationship with God when he is willfully sinning:

When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever-heat of summer. I acknowledged my sin to Thee, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”; and Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin (Ps. 32:3-5; cf. Ps. 51).

One of the purposes of divine discipline is to remove the barrier to the enjoyment of “fellowship,” and to restore the relationship between God and the sinning saint--to one of intimacy and enjoyment rather than one of uneasiness and alienation. The unbeliever is ultimately punished by being eternally put away from God’s presence (2 Thess.1:9), but the sinning saint is disciplined in order that he may once again have intimate communion with God:

‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me’ (Rev. 3:19-20).

Divine discipline, then, seeks at least two goals: righteousness and relationship. God’s discipline seeks to restore the wayward saint from sin to sanctification and to remove the strain of sin from the relationship so that intimacy and communion may be repaired.

Divine discipline may require a temporary alienation or separation in order to bring about repentance and reunion. In the case of the Corinthian Christian who was living in flagrant sin, Paul taught that he should be shunned, put out of fellowship, even turned over to Satan for discipline, but the goal of this discipline was restoration (cf. 1 Cor. 5:1-13). In the case of the prodigal son of Luke 15, the son actually removed himself, but eventually returned.

I know there are those who teach that isolation is not a very good method of discipline, but I am not sure I can agree with them. If parental discipline is to be patterned after divine discipline, why should isolation not be considered a viable option? Sin does separate. Christians should separate themselves from certain sinners (Matt. 18:15-17; 1 Cor. 5), and God certainly is going to separate unbelievers from His power and presence (2 Thess. 1:9). Temporary isolation or separation is certainly a sample of the consequences of sin, and may therefore be an appropriate method of disciplining a disobedient child.

The primary objection concerning isolation is that it may breed resentment and bitterness. While this is certainly possible, a spanking may also result in resentment--if the child chooses to respond foolishly. We must remember that the Holy Spirit can work in the heart of a child and a little solitude may provide just the right environment for contemplation and soul-searching. Let us not quickly or thoughtlessly reject sending a child to their room as a possible method of disciplining a child.

The important thing about divine discipline is that since our relationship as sons of God is not terminated by sin, discipline is always conducted in the hope of repentance and the restoration of intimacy. The judgment of sinners has no such hope. Whenever I read of God’s discipline in the Bible, no matter how severe the sin or how prolonged, God always seeks repentance and always offers the hope of forgiveness and reunion. Even in the midst of suffering for her great sins against God Israel could still look to God, knowing He is compassionate and forgiving and that there was hope:

The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. . . For the Lord will not reject forever, for if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness. For He does not afflict willingly, or grieve the sons of men (Lam. 3:22-25, 31-33).

Even when God warns of imminent judgment, there is either an explicit or an implicit assurance that God desires to withhold His wrath if His people will repent and turn from their evil ways:

Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it, if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it (Jer. 18:5-8).

Jeremiah knew that after God had disciplined His people to turn their hearts back to Him He would once again show compassion on them and bring them back into the land. There He would shower His blessings on them:

“And it will come about that after I have uprooted them, I will again have compassion on them; and I will bring them back, each one to his inheritance and each one to his land” (Jer. 12:15).

In almost every instance where God sent His prophets to warn His people of coming wrath, there was a “way of escape” provided. Thus, discipline could be averted and intimacy with God renewed:

Listen and give heed, do not be haughty, for the Lord has spoken. Give glory to the Lord your God, before He brings darkness and before your feet stumble on the dusky mountains, and while you are hoping for light He makes it into deep darkness, and turns it into gloom (Jer. 13:15-16).

There was a point of no return for the people of God. When Isaiah was called to prophesy, Israel had already passed the time for repentance and Isaiah’s words were those of impending doom (cf. Isa. 6:9-12). Yet even then there was hope, for God had promised to preserve a remnant through which He would fulfill all His covenant promises (Isa. 6:13; cf. Rom. 11:1-10).

Here we come to one of the primary purposes of prophecy--to produce hope, even in the midst of tribulation. While much of prophecy is a warning of what will happen if God’s people persist in their sin, the remainder is largely a promise of what God is going to do by way of restoration and blessing once His chastisement has achieved His purposes:

The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Write all the words which I have spoken to you in a book. For behold, days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah.’ The Lord says, ‘I will also bring them back to the land that I gave to their forefathers, and they shall possess it’” (Jer. 30:1-2).

‘And fear not, O Jacob My servant,’ declares the Lord, and do not be dismayed, O Israel; For behold, I will save you from afar, and your offspring from the land of their captivity. And Jacob shall return, and shall be quiet and at ease, and no one shall make him afraid. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord, ‘to save you; for I will destroy completely all the nations where I have scattered you, only I will not destroy you completely. But I will chasten you justly, and will by no means leave you unpunished’ (Jer. 30:10-11).

The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness. . . Hear the word of the Lord, 0 nations, and declare in the coastlands afar off, and say, “He who scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock. . . . For I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and give them joy for their sorrow” (Jer. 31:3,10,13b).

Perhaps the most significant passage is found in the same chapter in the Book of Jeremiah. In the midst of all their tribulation on account of their waywardness, God sounds a note of hope and triumph. God has disciplined His people to bring them to repentance and to restore them to the place from which they have willfully departed:

Thus says the Lord, “Restrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; For your work shall be rewarded,” declares the Lord, “And they shall return from the land of the enemy. And there is hope for your future,” declares the Lord, “And your children shall return to their own territory. I have surely heard Ephraim grieving, ‘Thou has chastened me, and I was chastised, like an untrained calf; Bring me back that I may be restored, for Thou art the Lord my God. For after I turned back, I repented; and after I was instructed, I smote on my thigh; I was ashamed, and also humiliated, because I bore the reproach of my youth.’ “Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he a delightful child? Indeed, as often as I have spoken against him, I certainly still remember him; Therefore My heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him,” declares the Lord (Jer. 31:16-20).

In these prophetic passages, especially the last one, I find a remarkable parallel to the discipline of children as taught in the Book of Proverbs. Did you notice that God’s love for His people was likened to that of a father for his son (cf. Prov. 3:11-12)?The discipline or chastening which Israel received was compared specifically to that which is typical of a young person (Jer. 31:19).God’s discipline, though severe, was of those He dearly loved, and was for the purpose of bringing them to repentance and restoration (cf. 31:18-19).

So it is that we find Proverbs describing discipline as life-saving and life-giving. Parental discipline is not only to be carried out in hope, but it should also offer hope to the child:

For the commandment is a lamp, and the teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life (6:23).

He is on the path of life who heeds instruction, But he who forsakes reproof goes astray (10:17).

The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, To turn aside from the snares of death (13:14).

He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently (13:24).

Stern discipline is for him who forsakes the way; He who hates reproof will die (15:10).

Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death (19:18, NIV).

From this we should learn that parental discipline should never lead a child to despair, but rather to repentance. Parental discipline that is modeled after God’s discipline should employ the rod, but we should also make it clear that God provides a remedy for sin. When men are humbled by discipline to confess their sins and repent, God will forgive them and renew them to the place of intimate communion with Him.

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. How blessed is the man who fears always, But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity (28:13-14).

Whenever I find divine discipline in the Bible I observe that it is carried out in the context of an intimate relationship. God’s disobedient people are described in terms of His wife (e.g. Jer. 31:32) or of His son (31:20). God’s discipline is the result of His care and His concern as a loving father. Discipline is necessary to correct the disobedience of God’s people and to restore the relationship which has been hindered by sin. God disciplines in order to restore, not to destroy. God always provides a remedy and always offers hope. The disobedient child of God knows that his heavenly Father eagerly yearns for His wayward child to return. That is certainly one message in the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32).

One of the lessons I see for us as parents is that the hope of repentance and restoration is to some degree determined by the quality of the relationship which exists between parent and child. What makes repentance and reunion so appealing to the sinner is the incomparable blessing of being a child of God, in harmony with Him. The prodigal son would have had little incentive to return to his father unless the relationship were one that he desired to see restored. Many of us as parents may not have the kind of relationship with our children which motivates repentance and reconciliation.

Let us seek to be God-like in this regard. Let us strive to develop a relationship with our children which demonstrates love and concern. Let us discipline our children so that their sins may be put aside and so that our relationship with them will not suffer the estrangement of sin. Let us convey in as many ways as possible that discipline is always carried out in hope and in love. Let us be the kind of parents that our wayward children will yearn to return to once they have come to themselves.

The Process
of Divine Discipline

To be very honest, I have been troubled by some of the passages in Proverbs which seem to promise too much. Passages like these appear to promise that the rod makes children righteous:

Blows and wounds cleanse away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being (20:30 NIV).

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him (22:15).

Do not hold back discipline from the child, Although you beat him with the rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with the rod, And deliver his soul from Sheol (23:13-14).

Can a spanking really remove sin from the life of a child? Is a “good licking” a kind of cure-all for the child? Do we drive a child from sin and toward God with a stick? I believe that the answer to my dilemma is most aptly summarized in this verse:

The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother (29:15).

The rod was never intended to be a cure-all, but only a part of the process of child-training. The rod, in and of itself, teaches the child few things, but when combined with verbal instruction it can turn a child from folly to wisdom, from sin to godliness. The rod is not a panacea, but only a part of the child-raising process.

God used the “rod” of discipline in the Old Testament, but never in isolation. It was always a part of a larger process of leading His children to greater maturity, faith, and obedience. Let me attempt to summarize the steps in the process of correction and chastening as I currently understand them.

Step One: Establishing the Right to Rule. As we saw the word “discipline” Used in Deuteronomy 4:36, 8:5 and 11:2, God demonstrated His greatness by delivering Israel out of Egypt and then disclosing His majesty and power in the wilderness and on the mountain from which the law was given. All of this served the purpose of establishing God’s authority--His right to rule--over the nation Israel.

Parents must also establish their authority by demonstrating to their children that they are in charge. While we should listen to our children and consider their opinions and feelings, God has given parents the responsibility and authority for raising children. Children are not our equals, just as we are not God’s equal. Child-training is based upon the premise that the parent is in charge.

Step Two: Establishing the Rules. Once God established His authority, He gave His people the law--the standard of conduct which God set for them. By their obedience or disobedience to the law God would either bless or chasten Israel. Because God is holy, His people must also live holy lives. The law prescribed the kind of conduct which was befitting the people of God.

Parents, too, must establish the standards for the conduct of their children. Not only are we to demonstrate our right to rule, we must also lay down the rules. The standards which God gave were clear and simple (I didn’t say easy). The standards which we establish should also be realistic, clear and consistent.

Step Three: Prescribing the Consequences for Sin, as well as its Cure. The law which God gave His people contained clearly spelled out consequences for sin. Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26 both describe the results of righteousness and unrighteousness. Israel knew what God would do if they chose to disobey His law.

God knew the weakness of His people; therefore He also made provision for their sin. The sacrificial system not only provided an immediate solution for sin, but it prophetically anticipated the ultimate solution, the sacrifice of the “Lamb of God” who would take away the sin of the world (cf. John 1:29; Heb. 10:1-18).

Parental discipline should also include instruction concerning the consequences of disobedience. Our children must know that the rules which we set down are intended to bring blessing into their lives and that disobedience of these standards will bring unpleasant results. Children are more impressed with the pain of disobedience than they are with the particular precept or commandment set down. Parents should be like God by letting their children know the consequences of sin before any transgression occurs.

More than just promising painful consequences for sin, parents must speak to their children of the provision of God for sinners in the person of His Son. In the Old Testament, sin had its punishment; God also had a provision that would offer forgiveness and make reconciliation to the transgressor.

Step Four: Teaching the Reasons for the Rules. It was not enough for the rules to be given the people through Moses. The law given to Moses was to be handed down from generation to generation. The primary responsibility for teaching was that of the parents, especially the father (cf. Exod. 12:24-27; Deut. 6). In addition, God taught each generation through the religious leaders He appointed, men like the priests, the scribes (Ezra 7:6; Neh.8:1-18) and the prophets. Each new generation had to be taught the purpose and the meaning of the law. In each generation, men and women needed to be reminded of God’s standards.

No Old Testament book has so much teaching specifically directed toward “sons” as does Proverbs. The law is assumed, but it is explained in practical terms--in terms of how one is to live life. The consequences of sin are spelled out, and also the benefits of obedience to God. More than just precepts, Proverbs gives us principles by which our lives are to be governed.

In the New Testament, fathers are commanded to bring up their children in “the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).Again and again, it is the responsibility of the parents (first) and others (second) to teach the young to fear the Lord and obey Him. Because each succeeding generation must be taught anew, the process is never complete. What a son learned from his father he must also teach to his children (cf. Prov. 4:3-9).

Step Five: Verbal Rebuke. Inevitably we will sin. Regardless of how well we know the rules and the reasons behind them, we will eventually choose to disobey. Even Solomon, who wrote much of Proverbs, chose to disregard his own instruction. The role of the Old Testament prophet was to point out specific instances of sin--specific violations of God’s law. Thus, Nathan rebuked David (2 Sam. 12) and the Old Testament prophets accused Israel and Judah of their sin (cf. also Neh. 13:15). It was not until His people had persistently resisted God’s Word and rejected His prophets that God finally was forced to employ the “rod” of discipline:

“And you shall say to them, ‘This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the Lord their God or accept correction; truth has perished and has been cut off from their mouth (Jer. 7:28).

‘Yet they did not listen or incline their ears, but stiffened their necks in order not to listen or take correction” (Jer. 17:23).

“And the Lord has sent to you all His servants the prophets again and again, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear” (Jer. 25:4).

Ideally, discipline may not need to proceed any further than a verbal rebuke. Proverbs speaks of the wise as those who will learn from a mere word of rebuke and will not require the “rod” (cf. 13:1; 15:31-32; 17:10-11). David, the man after God’s heart, was stopped short merely by the rebuke of Nathan (2 Sam. 12:13).

Step Six: The Rod. Ultimately, there are those of us who simply refuse to learn the easy way. Consequently the “rod” is necessary in order to underscore the teaching and verbal rebuke which has been disregarded. When God used His “rod” on Israel it was because they had spurned His reproof through the prophets:

“Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Because you have not obeyed My words, behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,’ declares the Lord, land I will send to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land, and against its inhabitants, and against all these nations round about; and I will utterly destroy them, and make them a horror, and a hissing, and an everlasting desolation’” (Jer. 25:8-9).

It is especially noteworthy to see in the words of Jeremiah and their fulfillment that the “rod” which God employed on His people was precisely that which had been described in the law and in the prophets. God’s chastisement was exactly what He had warned it would be.

Step Seven: Repentance and Reconciliation. The “rod” is not an end in itself, but a means--a means to underscore the teaching and the verbal rebuke which have preceded it. If some will not learn by mere words, as Proverbs tells us (29:19), then the rod is required by the sinner’s stubbornness. The rod is intended to humble the sinner, to bring him to repentance, and ultimately to restore the relationship which has been under a strain due to sin. The process of discipline is not complete until the offender and the offended are once more enjoying the intimacy of their relationship. That is the force of these words in the third chapter of Revelation:

‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me’ (Rev. 3:19-20).

In the culture of that day, the most intimate fellowship between friends and family occurred at the meal table. The invitation of this passage is to the wayward saint to respond to God’s discipline, to repent and to be renewed into the intimate enjoyment of the status of a child of God. This text is not an invitation to salvation, but an exhortation to wayward Christians to respond to the disciplinary hand of God, to repent of their sins, and to be restored to the intimacy of fellowship they had formerly known.

As parents we should see this to be the goal of our discipline. We should strive to demonstrate to the child that discipline has been required by sin and a refusal to respond to verbal rebuke. If the child has come to genuine repentance, the child should immediately sense the relief of forgiveness and the enjoyment of intimacy once again. By whatever name it is called, let this be the final stage, the goal of all discipline--reunion and communion.

The Privilege of Discipline

The process of discipline is, by its very nature, a painful one. In spite of this, it is also a great privilege. Let me conclude our consideration of parental discipline by reminding you of the blessings of the “rod,” for both parent and child. Throughout the Scriptures we find that while the “rod” brings pain. It is also a means of comfort:

Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me (Ps. 23:4).

The comfort of the rod is based upon the fact that discipline is proof of sonship. The rod is proof that we are children of God and that He loves us too much to ignore sin in our lives. Since sin hinders our relationship, He aggressively seeks to deal with our sin and to restore the blessings and intimacy of our relationship. Because of this, we can see chastening as a gracious gift of God.

Eliphaz may have misapplied this truth in regard to Job’s suffering, but the truth remains:

“Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves, so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For He inflicts pain, and gives relief; He wounds, and His hands also heal” (Job 5:17- 8).

The psalmist could say of God’s chastening:

Blessed is the man who Thou dost chasten, 0 Lord, and dost teach out of Thy law (Ps. 91:12).

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Thy word. It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Thy statutes. I know, 0 Lord, that Thy judgments are righteous, and that in faithfulness Thou hast -afflicted me (Ps. 119:67,71,75).

This is the message of Proverbs as well:

For whom the Lord loves He reproves, Even as a father, the son in whom he delights (Prov. 3:12).

The most extensive statement on the blessing of chastening is that found in the Book of Hebrews:

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? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 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, that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness (Hebrews 12:7-11).

While we may find it to be momentarily painful, discipline should be a source of comfort, not only because it demonstrates God’s love, but because it seeks to remedy the sin in our lives and restore intimate fellowship and communion with God. In the same way parental discipline should seek to deal with sin in the lives of our children and deepen the bonds of love and devotion between us.

Disciplining our children also is a privilege for the parent. It is a test of our obedience to God and of our love for our children. Proverbs commands parents to discipline their children and claims that it is proof of parental love (cf. 13:24; 22:15; 23:13). I would like to suggest that one of the privileges which discipline affords the parent is the opportunity to present the gospel in a very meaningful context.The solution for sin in no more found in the “rod” than it was in the sacrifice of bulls and goats in the days of old (cf. Heb. 9). The solution for sin is found only in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.

In John 16 our Lord spoke of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He said,

“And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment” (John 16:8).

Now, I ask you, what does parental discipline address? Does it not deal with sin, righteousness, and judgment? There is no better time to underscore the problem of sin in the life of the child than when the “rod” is required. There is no other solution to sin than the judgment which our Lord bore on Calvary. Let us use the time of discipline to present the ultimate solution for sin to our children, praying that God will draw our children to Himself. It is not the “rod” that saves, but the cross. Let us never use the “rod” without referring to the cross.

May God enable us, as parents, to discipline as He does, for His glory and for our good.

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