How Does God Correct Us?
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” 2 Timothy 3:16 NKJV
One of my favorite concepts of the goodness of Jesus is in how He brings about correction for us as His children. It is an area of great misunderstanding in the Body of Christ and therefore makes people fearful of getting close and intimate with the Lord. Many people believe that God punishes those of us that fall short. We have been taught that He will punish you (because He loves you) and this is how He corrects us. People always go to the verses that say He chastens those He loves.
6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” 7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Hebrews 12:6-8 NKJV
The common explanation of that is that the Father is going to punish us to teach us a lesson and this is evidence of His love. If I am not living right He will allow a bus to hit me to get my attention. That is not your Father in heaven. What natural father, who operated in love, would allow his child to suffer harm just to teach them a lesson? We do not believe our natural father would do this, yet we quickly accept the premise that our heavenly Father (who is the definition of love), would chasten us in this fashion.
This is not just my hope or interpretation. No, God actually tells us in His Word how He corrects us and it is not by punishing us. As we read the verse above we see that His correction comes to us through His Word. His Word reproofs and corrects us! The Greek word for “reproof” means to convict. A lot of people say that Holy Spirit comes to convict us, really that is not true. He brings us wisdom, understanding, encouragement, and power, but it is not His job to convict us. It is the Word, the scripture that brings conviction and reproof. Reproof also means to admonish, but the implication is that it is for good. A bus hitting me is not for my benefit, but rather my harm.
2 Timothy also says that scripture is for correction. So first it convicts us, admonishes us making us aware of the wrong, then it corrects us in that same love. The word for “correction” in the Greek means to restore to a right state, to improve, to improve the life and character of one. It brings the individual to a better state. The Word brings correction and reproof by the power that is the Word. And remember Isaiah 55 tells us the word will not return void but accomplish what it was sent to do, and it will prosper where it was sent. Love the Word and seek its instruction for righteousness in life.
J Todd Hostetler