Part 3 – The Way of Grace

This Article is part of a multi-part Study Series called Does God Chasten Us When We Sin?.

Paul’s words tell us how the Lord reacts to our failing (sinning)… He does NOT React. He simply permits the flowering of what we’ve sown into our lives.

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. [8] For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption (the natural ruin of sin); but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap (of the) life everlasting(Galatians 6:7-8).

Many Corinthians preferred drunkenness and gluttony, so God let them exercise their free will to pursue it. Although Jesus Christ has taken away the eternal penalty of our sins (we are no more destined for everlasting “death” in “the lake of fire”), we must understand that God will not remove the consequences of our poor judgment and choices.

If we choose a lifestyle of drugs and alcohol, God will not shield us from the ill effects and poor health such a lifestyle brings. God will not keep us out of prison if we murder someone, commit theft, and so on. Again, the Corinthians were experiencing the natural results of their bad behavior. It was not God directing sickness and death to trouble them.

Here is where dispensational Bible study is so important. This is why “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15) is the key to understanding how God deals with us today. Today, God does not bless us on the basis of our works, our good performance, but rather on the basis of faith in Christ’s cross-work for us; moreover, neither does God curse us on the basis of our bad works, or bad performance. This is made abundantly clear in Paul’s epistle to the Romans and in his epistle to the Galatians.

“sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God Forbid (Of Course Not!).” (Rom. 6:14-15)

The fact is that Jesus suffered and died to bear all the suffering that came to humanity by sin… He died for us, to pay our sin-debt. He took all the punishment that was due us.

So, as result of the cross, we will never see the angry face of God, neither in this life are in the age to come. The fact is that we are already unconditionally blessed with every spiritual blessing only because of Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork, not because we confessed our sins, lived a good life, prayed often, gave money to the church, got water baptized, etc. Our good works or bad works are not the issue!

Now, those who claim that God chastens believers today will cite Hebrews 12:5-11:

“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: [6] For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. [7] If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? [8] But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. [9] Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? [10] For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. [11] Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”

The book of Hebrews is especially cited regarding chastening in the lives of today’s Christians because it is often assumed that Paul wrote that book, thus, it is supposed, making Hebrews applicable to us. While beyond the scope of this study, there is plenty of Scriptural evidence to indicate that Paul did not write the book of Hebrews. We need to note that Hebrews 12:5-11 has a context - it quotes Proverbs 3:11-12, concerning Israel.  “My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: 12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” (Proverbs 3:11-12)

This is passage we are discussing is written to and about Israel, as seen in the book’s title – HEBREWS! It’s overwhelmingly clear that Hebrews is still a Jewish book with a Jewish title. It is the book to the Hebrews. The book of Hebrews is not written to us or about us, “the Church… the Body of Christ,” so we should not try to extract Israel’s legalistic teachings and try to force them on ourselves or any other grace age believers.

And, if we study the book of Hebrews, we learn that its contents are yet future, speaking of “the world to come” (Hebrews 2:5, cf. 3:6, 14). The book of Hebrews is written to people who are anticipating Jesus Christ’s Second Coming (Hebrews 10:25), but we of “the Body of Christ,” are NOT LOOKING TO His 2nd Coming to earth, we are looking for our soon coming Rapture to dwell “eternal in the heavens” (2Cor 5:1b)! The book of Hebrews is actually written to believing Israel living during the seven-year Tribulation. As per the Mosaic Law, “the Old Covenant,” if Israel disobeyed God, then she would receive a series of increasingly harsher judgments. The seven-year Tribulation is the conclusion of those judgments, God’s chastening of Israel for her many centuries of pagan idolatry. This is the chastening of which the book of Hebrews speaks; it has nothing to do with God punishing individual believers today, but rather God judging and purging the nation Israel of its non-believing apostates during the seven-year Tribulation, so that “the Israel of God” can be God’s spotless nation to go into His everlasting earthly kingdom, which will begin with the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ. Non-believing Israel is the Israel of Satan and it will be judged.


If God is punishing Christians for bad behavior, that means that He is imputing (counting) their sins to them. But, He said our sins are not being imputed or counted to believers.  “(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.” (Romans 5:13) and we know as a believer “… ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:14). The word is clear!

To still impute or count our sins to us would means that Jesus Christ did not adequately take care of our sin problem at the cross in order to make grace work.

If God has to punish us for our sins, then what is the purpose of Christ’s Cross as our Redeemer and Savior? Does the Bible not say that God is not imputing our trespasses unto us (Rom. 4:1-8)? Doesn’t the Bible say that God has forgiven us of all trespasses (Col. 2:13)?  “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (Col. 2:13)

If God were holding sins against a Christian, then that person could not actually be a Christian, for even one sin applied to one’s account would keep him or her out of heaven.

Do you see the dangerous implications of these foolish Satanic ideas bring when we don’t understand that divine chastisement has no place in our present “Dispensation of the Grace of God”?

Furthermore, since everyone sins, including Christians, and if God is punishing Christians for sins, then every Christian would stay sick, stay poor, stay cursed. Even the Christian preachers who “beat up” the “sinful” suffering Christians... themselves SIN. After all, Paul wrote that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23). I don’t know any Christian who is sinless. Thankfully, we know this truth of Paul’s grace gospel for this age of grace.

“To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted IN the beloved (Eph. 1:6).

If we have to do good works in order to maintain fellowship with God, if we have to be good in order to get God to bless us with grace and favor, that is legalism. The Satanic idea of God chastening Christians with difficult circumstances during today’s “Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Eph. 3:2) is nothing more than legalism with a different face, a sneaky teaching indeed, another form of performance-based religion.

Again, I do not question the sincerity of the people teaching divine chastisement during the Dispensation of Grace, but, on the authority of the Holy Bible rightly divided, I simply cannot agree with them and will not agree with them. Their teaching is dangerous because it allows legalism to creep into the Christian life and it makes God’s grace “of none effect” (Gal. 4:5). These promoters have not really learned what God’s grace is all about, they need to learn how to distinguish between law and grace, works-religion and grace-relationship. Paul wrote this to the backslidden Galatians who left grace to go back under the Law.

“Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3).

To argue that God manipulates our circumstances in order to punish us is to ignore the authority of the completed Bible. We don’t need God to speak to us apart from the Bible; there is no such thing as continuing doctrinal revelation today. God has already spoken and His words are written in the Holy Bible, preserved for us in English in the KJV Bible. God is not teaching us anything by sending problems our way… except to continually trust Him in “all things.”

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17That the man of God may be perfect (complete), throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

Do we want to learn what God has to say, what He wants to teach us (“doctrine”), how He wants to reform our behavior (“reproof”), how He wants to correct our bad thinking (“correction”), and how He wants us to live (“instruction in righteousness”)? Then, we have to go to the Scriptures, rightly divided, dispensationally, and to note Paul’s epistles (Romans through Philemon) that written to us for today.

We do live in a fallen world, and sin’s harmful results are to be expected. Those ‘normal’ problems of life that fall upon believers are within the context in which we apply sound grace Bible teaching. “That ye (Israel) may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:45)

No matter who we are all mankind faces the issues of life. But, the issues of life for believers are for their learning as He uses “all things,” working them for the eternal good of believers (cf. Rom. 8:28-29).