6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”
Verse 6 is a quotation from Proverbs 3:12.
6 For whom the Lord loves
The words “whom the Lord loves” are emphatic in the Greek (word order). It is from God’s overruling love that He disciplines a Christian. God’s love expresses itself in the protection and development of every Christian. Nothing escapes His care for His sons. He desires every believer to become mature in faith and his experience. God’s discipline flows from His love for the believer; He never disciplines from anger or bitterness toward the believer.
God’s love both gives and withholds. The believer’s trial magnifies His love for us. The devil is in the business of making us doubt God’s love for us.
God designs His chastening to correct the behavior of the believer. If the initial discipline does not change the pattern of the Christian, then God moves to more significant measures or severe discipline. Reversionism is something that God takes in hand. He will break the stubborn will. On the other hand, He accepts the one who turns back to Him in fellowship. It is a matter of love— “the Lord loves.”
The idea of chastening is literally to train a child (He 12:5, 7, 8, 11). It includes ideas such as nurture, instruction, discipline, and corrective discipline.
Reproof corrects one’s course of life. God cannot overlook our problems and sin; He must deal with them if He is to maintain His integrity.
And scourges every son
The idea of “scourges” is to flog with a whip. The metaphor is of severe discipline. There are times when we undergo great chastisement from God.
“Every son” includes both the spiritual and non-spiritual, the mature and immature believers. No Christian is exempt from divine discipline. He will not neglect any son of His—“every son.” He will not disregard the discipline of a single son.
whom He receives [accepts].”
“Whom He receives” modifies those God disciplines. This is an exclusive group. The word “receives” means accepts. God does not reject those He disciplines, but He “receives” or accepts them. Divine discipline upon the believer proves his sonship. A parent’s responsibility is to make sure his children are trained properly. It is also God’s responsibility to care for His sons (Ro 8:14–16).
If the relationship is there, the concern is there.
It is crucial to understand and apply God’s love toward us. His is not maudlin or emotional love toward us, but a love that keeps our best interests in view (Lam 3:31–33). Everything that comes into our lives finds its source in His love. His love is unconditional and infinite. We should root and ground ourselves in the love of God for us (Eph 3:17). His love transcends any love by a husband, wife, or parent. An undisciplined son is an unloved son.
God’s discipline is non-punitive. His discipline has a positive purpose. He does it for both instruction and correction. Both are involved in the believer’s edification. As discipline is essential in a physical father-son relationship within human families, so it is in the family of God.
David was a believer and author of Scripture, but he committed adultery and murder. God disciplined him because of this. He lost his baby, his adult son. He encountered other consequences for his sin (2 Sam 12:10). God’s purpose behind this discipline was to set him on a godly course. It took two years for David to return to fellowship with the Lord. From God’s viewpoint, His actions were that of love, not wrath. The issue was not his salvation but his fellowship with God.
Later, David wrote two psalms about his spiritual failure (Ps 32; 51). The purpose of God’s discipline upon him was to restore him to fellowship, and that became a reality. God restored blessedness to his soul (Job 5:17; Ps 94:12).