With the remission of sins that happened through Jesus, Christians became justified. Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, [who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit] (Romans 8:1 NIV, emphasis KJV). So much love from the Father, isn’t it?
While the seat of God is not a throne of condemnation, it is a wellspring of discipline. As His sons, we boast of a loving Father: and sure He is! Discipline is a critical element of God’s love towards His sons. “…the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son” (Heb 12:6; see also Prov 3:12).
God is not in the business of raising spoilt brats. According to Hebrews 12 “if you are not disciplined…you are illegitimate children and not true sons” (8). “For what son is not disciplined by his father” (7)? Besides, “…the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in” (Prov 3:12).
Christ’s sacrifice was and is the epitome of God’s love. While it is the cradle of grace, it is the epicenter of discipline. It would be delusional to think of the love of the Father and Christ as devoid of discipline. The same sonship that accorded as grace, is the same that makes us eligible for godly discipline and even rebuke!
That we are liberated through the Amazing Grace is no doubt. However, liberation in grace does not make sons libertine! Therefore, “…do not resent His [the Lord’s] rebuke” (Prov 3:11). While the Wise Solomon writes that, an open rebuke is better than hidden love (Prov 27:5), the Lord will rebuke and discipline you in LOVE!
What then is discipline and perhaps rebuke?
I would begin to define discipline and godly rebuke from a perspective of what it is not. The Lord’s discipline is not cold-hearted and sadistic punishment. But that does not discount the fact that it will point out our sins. If for instance you are prostituting, telling you that it is sin is not condemnation! It will never be right anyway. Personally, I will tell you it is wrong and that you ought to divest from the behavior and that is made possible through Christ!
Back to our definition: discipline is that which is meant to make you godly, and rebuke is an abrasive element thereto meant to cut off the chunks of fleshy behavior in humans. And why do we have to bear with the scrape and refinement? 1 Peter ch. 1 offers the answer, “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do (15); for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy” (16; see Lev 19:2).
Grace is the epitome of discipline!