11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness
The word “yields” means to give back. Divine discipline produces a purposeful return for the process. The “fruit” here is that which “righteousness” brings out. God’s disciple puts forth fruit. Although divine discipline is difficult to endure, it will produce the positive result of practical “righteousness.” God’s ultimate fruit that He brings to our lives compensates for the temporary pain He exercises upon us. Righteousness is what is contained in the fruit God produces. The fruit consists of “righteousness.” It delivers what is right.
The idea of “peaceable” is that there would be peace after the conflict with God. God’s discipline tames our explosive hearts. There is welfare for the Christian in this. The peace may be the period when God does not apply divine discipline on the life of believers; that is, after He trains them.
to those who have been trained [exercised] by it.
Those subject to God’s discipline should not deem it as something without profit to their souls. God’s objective is not to bestow pain in itself but that the believer would grow by it.
The word “trained” comes from ancient Greek games. Athletes train by exercise. The idea originally meant to get in physical condition by vigorous training. God’s chastisement is the exercise to give us the experience of walking with Him.
Submission to God produces a rich harvest for the believer.
It is necessary to exercise the soul. God produces fruit out of pain. “Fruit” is the result of divine discipline.
Divine discipline yields the “peaceable fruit of righteousness” to those who respond properly to it. This is not true of every Christian—that is, those who resist God’s discipline. These are rebellious and bitter believers who refuse to take their correction seriously. Those who resist divine discipline undergo special actions from God. He will reward those who respond to His training. God does not discipline the latter group because of their sin but because He wants to see them grow in their faith (1 Pe 4:12–17).
Every Christian must let God exercise his or her soul. We do this by yielding to God’s providential actions upon us. God designs it so that we honestly examine any corruption in our souls. It is possible that we go through the external motions of our lives rather than genuine engagement with God. Do we go through the motions of prayer or do we truly meet God?
The first act of pruning creates an awful-looking vine, but it eventually produces abundant grapes. What looked like a sorry thing becomes a fruitful vine. We can either harden our hearts toward God’s sovereign plan for us (He 12:5) or we can with patience activated by faith put the results in God’s hands (Jas 4:6–7).
We wonder why we did not get that promotion or raise in salary. Or we ask, “Why am I in such a situation that has caused me such trouble?”
God does not find pleasure in our pain but in our holiness. Divine discipline is not a pleasant experience. The severity makes for corrective dynamic. We find the same principle in the human realm. It is not a great experience to undergo surgery, but we do it for better health. When we undergo divine discipline, it is for our spiritual health.