In this Sunday’s sermon, we talked about how Christians that neglect their salvation are exposing themselves to the chastening hand of God. Hebrews called this drifting. Like a ship out at sea with anchor broken off, we are subject to wind and peril. The concept of divine discipline may come as a shock to us who are under grace, but to whom much is given, much is required! God’s discipline is a form of God’s redemptive, remedial grace in our lives. Only cruelty would allow someone to drift without warning, direction, and correction when certain danger lies ahead. Hebrews says God’s discipline is evidence that we are His children, and He seeks our good. Why, every good father disciplines his children so that they go on to maturity!
“It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they discipline us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good so that we might share in His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
When we think of divine discipline, we typically think of the Israelites in the Old Testament and are tempted to think we “New Testament people” in the Church get off scot-free no matter what we do. But God is not deceived and will not be mocked. His good purpose and love for us insists that He discipline us when we need it. In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul reveals that some believers were sick or even experienced physical death for their unconfessed sin. To the letter to the church at Thyatira in Revelation 2, Jesus warned them that because they tolerated a false and immoral prophetess in their church (Jezebel), and some even joined in on her Satanic practice, they would experience sickness or death if they didn’t repent. However, Jesus promised that he who is faithful and repents will, like a shining star, rule and reign with Christ over the nations in His Millennial Kingdom (Rev. 2:18-29)! What a reward! (By the way, please don’t get from this that every sickness or death is the result of divine discipline. As we talked about Sunday, it is a fallen world, and it is expected. He wants us to have faith in Him no matter what our circumstances are!)
But what does it look like for us to neglect our salvation? To drift spiritually? Like Corinth or Thyatira, we might neglect God’s sanctifying purposes to make us more like Christ. Sin grieves and quenches the Spirit who sealed us for the day of redemption (1 Thess. 5:10; Eph. 4:30). I think the cause of most spiritual drifting is due to unconfessed sin, neglect of God’s Word, of prayer, and of gathering with God’s people (Heb. 10:25). If we aren’t doing either one, we become spiritually dull and insensitive.
In his Hebrews commentary, Warren Wiersbe shares the story of Robert Robinson, the man who composed the hymn “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” Robinson was converted under the preaching of George Whitefield and was greatly used by the Lord as a pastor. However, he began to drift when he started to neglect spiritual things. Wiersbe says, “In an attempt to find peace, he began to travel. During one of his journeys, he met a young woman who was evidently very spiritually minded. “What do you think of this hymn I have been reading?” she asked Robinson, handing him the book. It was his own hymn! He tried to avoid her question but it was hopeless, for the Lord was speaking to him. Finally, he broke down and confessed who he was and how he had been living away from the Lord. “But these ‘streams of mercy’ are still flowing,” the woman assured him, and through her encouragement, Robinson was restored to fellowship with the Lord.”
I have no doubt that when Robinson was drifting, behind a smiling face was a man who felt much like David when he refused to repent of his affair with Bathsheba. David said in Psalm 32, “When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.” However, when David acknowledged his sin and confessed it, the Lord forgave him and restored him.
How's your relationship with God? Are you still sensitive to God’s voice? Are you anchored?
In His hands,
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