FORGIVENESS, CHASTENING AND MERCY
When we sin, God forgives us, in that He delivers from the righteous punishment for sin which is spiritual death and separation from God in hell for eternity; however, He still chastens so that we will bring forth the fruit of righteousness and so not continue in or go back to sin again.
Hebrews 2:2 AMP: For if the message given through angels [the Law spoken by them to Moses] was authentic and proved sure, and every violation and disobedience received an appropriate (just and adequate) penalty,
Hebrews 12:6 MKJV: for whom the Lord loves He chastens and He scourges every son whom He receives.”
Hebrews 12:11 MKJV: Now chastening for the present does not seem to be joyous, but grievous. Nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who are exercised by it.
Proverbs 20:30 NIV: Blows and wounds cleanse away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being.
Proverbs 27:6 MKJV: Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
John 15:14 MKJV: you are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
1 Corinthians 11:31-32 MKJV: (31) for if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. (32) But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
We see this in God’s forgiveness of David after his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and murder of her husband, Uriah; God forgave David but chastened him by the death of four sons.
2 Samuel 12:13 MKJV: and David said to Nathan, I have sinned against Jehovah. And Nathan said to David, Jehovah also has put away your sin; you shall not die.
2 Samuel 12:6-7 MKJV: and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity. (7) And Nathan said to David, You are the man! So says Jehovah, the God of Israel, I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul.
2 Samuel 12:14 MKJV: Only, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of Jehovah to blaspheme, this child born to you shall surely die.
2 Samuel 12:9-11 MKJV: why have you despised the Word of Jehovah, to do evil in His sight? You have stricken Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon. (10) And therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife. (11) So says Jehovah, Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house, and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor. And he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun.
David’s forgiveness was instant, but the chastening lasted for the rest of his life; he was also denied the privilege of building the temple.
1 Chronicles 28:2-3 MKJV: (2) And David the king stood up on his feet and said, Hear me, my brothers and my people. I had in my heart to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building. (3) But God said to me, You shall not build a house for My name, because you have been a man of war and have shed blood.
If David had known how severe and long the chastening would be, he would not have committed that sin. So, when we know the certainty of God’s judgement to chasten us when we sin, it gives us the fear of God which causes us to depart from evil.
Proverbs 16:6 MKJV: By mercy and truth, iniquity is purged, and by the fear of Jehovah men turn away from evil.
The good news in all of this is if we not only confess our sins, but in addition forsake them by practicing righteousness by the Spirit to avoid and overcome sin, then the mercy of God will be given to us which will reduce and even over time totally eradicate the chastening that God is giving because of our sins.
Proverbs 28:13 ESV: Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
James 2:13 ESV: For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
The lesson to learn here is this: the earlier you confess and forsake sin, the faster the mercy of God will overcome the chastening or judgement (1 Cor. 11.31-32) that is being meted out because of the sin.
If David had repented immediately and did not kill Uriah, he would not have lost four sons. The longer you conceal your sin and continue in it, the longer and the more severe your chastening will be.
God has recorded this chastening of David, for all generations to know that even if like David, you are a man after God’s own heart, and you sin; God will forgive you but He will still chasten you and the severity of the chastening will depend on the gravity of the sin and how quickly and completely you repent of and forsake the sin.
It is vital to note that God chastens or judges us by removing His protective covering around us like He did for Job (Job. 1:8-22) so the enemy can hit us: it is Satan who does the stealing, killing and destroying (Jn. 10:10) not God; however, God allows it when we have sinned to chasten us.
2 Corinthians 12:7 KJV: And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
So, it is best to avoid sin, by the power of the Spirit as much as possible and even when you sin, be honest about it and be quick to repent and forsake it to reduce the severity and the longevity of the judgment or chastening that is released because of the sin.
1 John 2:1-2 NIV: My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense‚ Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. (2) He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 Corinthians 15:34 KJV: (34) Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
Many New Testament Christians erroneously believe that in the New Testament once God forgives you He no longer chastens you; we will examine understanding God’s chastening in the New Testament in our article next week.