Jon Bloom on Hebrews 12

Is God punishing me? that is the question we sometimes ask when things aren’t going well. Jon Bloom takes a look at Hebrews 12 and concludes:

These saints were not to interpret their painful experiences as God’s angry punishment for their sins. That angry punishment was completely spent on Jesus—once for all—on the cross.

Rather, this was the message they were to understand from their hardships: God loves you! He has fatherly affection for you. He cares deeply for you. He is taking great pains so that you will share his holiness (12:10) because he wants you to be as happy as possible and enjoy the peaceful fruit of righteousness (12:11).

….

It is crucial that we remember that everything God feels toward us as Christians is gracious. When God disciplines us it is a precious form of his favor. It’s what a loving father does. He is not giving us what we deserve because he “canceled the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands…nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14). Instead, he is training us in righteousness. Because he loves us so very much.

HT to the Ramblin’ Pastor Man..

UPDATE:

this is from Randy Alcorn’s blog today:

However, Luther refused to see his illness as divine punishment but rather as a natural consequence of man’s sinful state. It was to be countered with both prayer and medication but one relied ultimately on the will of God. Indeed, he felt God’s presence and power more acutely in his sickness than in times of greater vitality. After recovering from an illness so serious that his basic life signs were undetectable, Luther wrote the great hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” in which he expressed his trust in God’s victory over the devil’s forces with these concluding words, “Though life be wrenched away, they cannot win the day. The kingdom is ours forever.”

Also, take note of the following words from the great British preacher, Charles Spurgeon. He too dealt with poor health all his life, but especially in his last decade when he was nearly incapacitated. He writes, “I have suffered many times from severe sickness and frightful mental depression seeking almost to despair. Almost every year I’ve been laid aside for a season, for flesh and blood cannot bear the strain, at least such flesh and blood as mine. I believe, however, the affliction was necessary to me and has answered salutary ends. But I would, if it were God’s will, escape from such frequent illness. That must be according to His will and not mine.”

This is a frank admission of the pain that trials involve but, near the end of his life, Spurgeon also wrote this, “I venture to say that the greatest earthly blessing that God can give to any of us is health, with the possible exception of sickness. Sickness has frequently been of much greater use to the saints than has health.”

emphasis added

what a timely word.

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