Is God Just Grace And Love, Or Does He Correct As Well?

Many Christians don’t want to think of correction as a characteristic of God because His correction would then be associated with punishment. People tend to associate punishment with anger, fear, and wrath in alignment with perhaps correction they received from their earthly parents. God does indeed correct His children, but not like some people may think.

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What Is God’s Correction?

Scripture tells us quite simply that God is love, but it also tells us that God corrects His children.

For the Lord corrects {and} disciplines everyone whom He loves, and He punishes, even scourges, every son whom He accepts {and} welcomes to His heart {and} cherishes.

Hebrews 12:6

Love and correction often sound like opposites, but it’s only due to our perception. Parents are encouraged to discipline in love, and for a good reason. When we discipline our children in love, we model the discipline that Christ has for us. We let our children know what they have done is not honouring to God, and that they have made a wrong choice (have sinned).

When we discipline in love, we are telling our children we don’t like the choice that they made because in the long-term, if left unchecked, it will lead to destruction (much like sin). However, we are also telling them that we still love them- even if we don’t like the behaviour.

Children leave knowing that what they did was wrong, and hopefully repent, but they also know that they are loved. It creates a safe environment for the child. If we discipline out on anger, children learn to fear their parents, and many lie as a result to avoid punishment. This also results in a tainted perception of the Lord.

The purpose of God’s correction is to lead us back to the right path and to repentance for sin. It isn’t meant to harm us or cause us pain- although we may experience pain due to either a hardness of heart, or through our own stubbornness.

Why Does God Punish His Children?

In short, because He loves us and doesn’t want us to go down a path of destruction. Throughout scripture God tells us that sin leads to death, and it isn’t God’s desire that His children are separated from Him due to their decisions. God is a loving Father who, much like a loving father, wants to see His children walk in the victory that He promised to them.

It’s like this… Parents never enjoy punishing their children. I have four kids, and often when I have to punish them, I honestly feel like I’m punishing myself. It’s equally as difficult for me as it is for them, and while I could try to “let them get away with things” because it may be more convenient, they will never learn self-discipline which is what I am responsible for teaching them in the first place.

We discipline our children so that they know what the right choices are, why we make them, and to lead them down a path of righteousness. We discipline our children because we love them, and if they can’t differentiate right from wrong as children, how are they going to function as adults?

Furthermore, if they never learn self-control, self-governance, respect for authority, or any of the fruits of the Spirit, we, as parents are doing them a disservice when it comes to how well they will function as adults.

Children with poor self-control end up turning into adults who live in the flesh. They drink, do drugs, are promiscuous, have trouble with authority, and run into financial trouble because they have poor impulse control. It’s also a harder lesson to learn as an adult than as a child because you have more at stake.

God disciplines His children because He wants us to make choices that will lead us into victory. Scripture tells us that God’s plans for us are to prosper us, to give us a future, and a hope. It’s not that we perish, or engage in destructive behaviours. So, sometimes God will correct us by forcing us to live with the consequences that we’ve made in hopes that we will repent, turn to Him for help, and that it will refine us.

Those that are unable to learn, or who aren’t teachable, end up struggling the most. Their reliance is not on God, but on self, and their own control will end up being their downfall (pride comes before a fall). They tend to make the same destructive mistakes over and over again without learning a thing.

But God still loves them anyway, and He still gently tries to get their attention.

Regarding Correction, How Does God Get Our Attention?

  1. Through the conviction of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will convict us that we’ve done something wrong, and we need to repent.
  2. Through the Word/Preaching. You can’t correct what you don’t know. God will reveal areas in your life that you need to improve on through revelation in His Word. It’s how we grow, and how God refines our character.
  3. Through other people. Other people can correct us through a Word of Knowledge from God. This is usually after we are being quite stubborn, and destruction is imminent. It’s God wanting to be heard- not to embarrass you, but because you need to listen.
  4. Publicly through a person such as a preacher, teacher, etc who receives a Word. This is definitely what you don’t want to happen, but can if God chooses.

God is indeed grace and love, but it extends so far. We can repent for our choices once convicted, but as scripture tells us, to sin no more. Grace covers a multitude of sins, but only as long as we are truly repentant and learning. Willful disobedience is not covered by grace, and God will try to correct you for it.

Correction from God is not meant to cause fear or harm, but is meant to put us on the right path in life. Much like the parent who wants to see their child succeed, that is what causes God to correct us. He doesn’t want us to go down a path of destruction, but to a road of victory. That is where and when He will correct us, and He will do it out of love.

So, God will not smite you, and it should be noted that not every bad thing is God teaching you something or correcting you. Sometimes life just happens- whether it’s our own doing or Satan. It’s not always about God correcting/refining you. As believers, we need to know the difference otherwise Satan can take you out just because you won’t fight back.

God’s correction is always for our greater good, and while it may not be pleasant, it is for our benefit. We may war against our flesh, but in the end, the reward will be freedom from sin, and a better life.

Learn to listen to God, and pray for His wisdom. Watch where you life will go.

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