Question: When God chastens Christians, does He punish them because of hate?
Answer: When someone refers to God's bringing of adversity into a believer’s life; the King James translation uses the words “chastening” and “chastisement.” Some of your modern versions use the words “punish” and “punishment” in the same verses. There are three different, but related, Greek words involved. The Greek word “paideia,” a noun, is found six times in the New Testament. In the King James it is translated “chastening” in Hebrews 12:5,7,11. It is translated “chas-tisement” in Hebrews 12:8; “instruction” in 2 Timothy 3:16 and “nurture” in Ephesians 6:4. Therefore, the Greek “padeia” refers to “upbringing, training and instruction.” The basic idea of this word is that of discipline which is associated with training and education.
The verb “paideuo” is found thirteen times in the New Testament and is translated in the King James as follows:
- “Chasten” in 1 Corinthians 11:32; 2 Corinthians 6:9; Hebrews 12:6,7,10; and Revelation 3:19
- “Chastise” in Luke 23:16,22.
- “Instruct” in 2 Timothy 2:25
- “Taught” in Acts 22:3; Titus 2:12
- “Learn” in 1 Timothy 1:20
- “Was learned” in Acts 7:22
As a verb, it has to do with the act of instructing, bringing up, educating and training. Like the noun “paideia,” the verb “paideuo” involves CORRECTION; therefore, being a part of the process of training and educating. Now, the third Greek word “paideutes” is used in reference to the PERSON who does the training or the upbringing. The word appears twice in the New Testament, and is translated in the King James as “instructor,” in Romans 2:20 and “which corrected” in Hebrews 12:9.
Now, lets examine Hebrew 12:5-11 where the Greek words appear 8 times.
“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening (paideia) of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:” (5)
“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth (paideuo), and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” (6)
“If ye endure chastening (paideia), God dealeth with you as with sons, for what son is he whom the father chasteneth (paideuo) not?” (7)
“But if ye be without chastisement (padeia), whereof all are partakers, then ye are bastards, and not sons.” (8)
“Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected (paideutes) us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” (9)
“For they verily for a few days chastened (paideuo) us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.” (10)
“Now no chastening (paideia) for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” (11)
Another word for “chastise” would be “discipline.” I believe that “discipline” would probably be a better translation of the Greek words than “chastise” or “punish.” “Punish” is more negative; whereas, it involves correction for wrong doing. “Chastise” or “discipline” has a more positive purpose, which is to motivate a person to change his behavior. (Hebrews 12:10). “Discipline” would, therefore, include a penalty for disobedience and disgraceful actions; BUT, it also has a teaching purpose. It is not an end in itself.
Psychiatrist Dr. William Glasser in his book, Reality Therapy, distinguishes between “discipline” and “punishment.” In his chapter, “The Treatment of Seriously Delinquent Adolescent Girls,” Dr. Glasser writes: “Girls are willing to accept discipline; but, not punishment: they differentiate between the two by seeing whether the disciplining person shows anger and gets satisfaction by exercising power.” (P.78).
It is very true that God hates the sins committed by His children; BUT, He does not hate His children. God does not chasten believers because He receives satisfaction from it, or wants to display His power. His chastening is to bring us back to where we left the Lord, so we can glorify Him with our lives and He can bless us with His blessings. God disciplines and permits trials and adversities in our lives to make us stronger as Christians, knowing,
“That the trial of your faith is more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” - 1 Peter 1:7
God’s discipline is also to keep believers from bringing undue heartache into their own lives. God hates sin because He knows how it can destroy a Christian’s life. God condemns the sins we do in the flesh while not living in obedience to the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:1). BUT, He does not condemn the believer! All of our sins, even those committed after we are a Christian, are eternally paid for by the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. John 5:24 makes this perfectly clear,
“He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me (Christ), hath everlasting life, AND SHALL NOT COME INTO CONDEMNATION; but is passed from death unto life.”
We are not serving an angry God who delights in punishing us every time we fail; but, rather, a God of love and grace who bore all of our condemnation and only disciplines us for our own good and His glory. He corrects us for wrongdoing; but, His purpose is to bring about more responsible behavior from us which will be glorifying to Him. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every Christian purpose in their mind the words of one of our familiar songs!
“How could I do less,
Than give Him my best,
And live for Him completely,
After all He’s done for me.”