A related article on differentiating the punishment of God and the chastisement of God, the latter, a blessing, reserved for Christians, the former for the damned.
In August 1876, a gifted young theologian names Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield and his bride were honeymooning in Germany. While sightseeing in the Black Forest region, they were suddenly caught in a severe storm, and something that was never quite explained happened to his bride, rendering her an invalid for the rest of their lives together.
In the 1950s the Independent Presbyterian Church of Savannah congregation called a young preacher to take the reigns of a very divided church. He came with his wife and their five children, the youngest only three years old. Within a year and a half, Anton Van Puffelen developed a brain tumor, and in just over two years after he started his work in Savannah the Rev. Van Puffelen was dead.
How do you explain these things? Perhaps just as baffling, how do you explain the responses of these individuals?
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
But, Lord, tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
Great article! I very much enjoy A.W. Pink’s writings. I think he did a good job of explaining chastening.
One other thing. The Hebrews reference was actually a reference back to Proverbs:
Pro 3:11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:
Pro 3:12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
That “chastening” in Proverbs is the Hebrew “musar” meaning “properly chastisement; figuratively reproof, warning or instruction; also restraint: - bond, chastening ([-eth]), chastisement, check, correction, discipline, doctrine, instruction, rebuke.”
It’s a terrible thing to NOT be chastised, because we all deserve it:
Heb 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
I bet that passage has been excised from the “prosperity gospel” bibles.
I usually respond by depression and crying.... Hey, just being honest
Those who have come out on the other side of trials and tribulations can look back and clearly see the hand of God carefully guiding us through and doing as He promised - working all things together for the good of those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose. It's only when we have been through them that we realize they made our faith stronger and our witness that much more firm for the Lord.
When you think about it, who wouldn't devote his life to a master who promised nothing but good things - wealth, prosperity, bountiful health, no pain, no loss, no want? But would it really be out of genuine love or our all-too-human desire for a Santa Claus/Fairy Godmother kind of God? True and genuine love, sincere and sure faith ONLY comes when it has been tested. Like gold or silver, that have to be refined through fervent heat to remove impurities, so our faith must also go through the same fiery process. The most amazing and wonderful result is when we come to realize that the faith we have is a faith built on solid rock - unmovable, unshaken - and is a faith that comes FROM God, who will never let us fall.
Thank you for the edifying article.