The Sum of The Christian Life-Section 6 The Cross as Fatherly Chastisement

Section 6 The Cross as Fatherly Chastisement

 We may add, that our most merciful Father requires not only to prevent our weakness, but often to correct our past fault, that He may keep us in due obedience. Therefore, whenever we are afflicted we ought immediately to call to mind our past life. In this way, we will find that the faults that we have committed are deserving of such castigation. Yet the exhortation to patience is not to be founded chiefly on the acknowledgment of sin. For Scripture supplies a far better consideration when it says that in adversity, “We are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world” (1Co 11:32). Therefore, in the very bitterness of tribulation we ought to recognize the kindness and mercy of our Father, since even then He ceases not to further our salvation. For He afflicts [us] not that He may ruin or destroy, but rather that He may deliver us from the condemnation of the world. Let this thought lead us to what Scripture elsewhere teaches: “My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth” (Pro 3:11-12). When we perceive our Father’s rod, is it not our part to behave as obedient docile sons rather than rebelliously imitate desperate men, who are hardened in wickedness? God dooms us to destruction if He does not by correction call us back when we have fallen off from Him—so that it is truly said, “If ye be without chastisement…then are ye bastards, and not sons” (Heb 12:8).

 We are most perverse then if we cannot bear Him while He is manifesting His goodwill to us and the care that He takes of our salvation. Scripture states the difference between believers and unbelievers to be that the latter, as the slaves of inveterate and deep-seated iniquity, only become worse and more obstinate under the lash. The former, like freeborn sons, turn to repentance. Now, therefore, choose your class. But as I have already spoken of this subject, it is sufficient to have here briefly adverted to it.

Institutes of the Christian Religion

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“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,” Titus 2:11