As Seemed Best to Them...
We have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.Reflecting on the phrase "as it seemed best to them," John Owen explained:
"They used their judgment as unto the causes and measure of chastisement; they did it 'as it seemed good unto them.' It is not said that they did it for or according to their pleasure, without respect unto rule or equity; for it is the example of good parents that is intended: but they did it according to their best discretion; wherein yet they might fail, both as unto the causes and measure of chastisement."1Owen's remarks are extremely instructive. Godly parents discipline their children according to "their best discretion." The Lord gives us broad and general principles in the Scriptures (e.g. all of the Proverbs) that we are then to labor to apply to our parenting--no less than to every situation in life in a discerning and wise manner. This takes meditation, thoughtfulness and prayer. Note that Owen insists that even godly parents "might fail, both as unto the causes and measure of chastisement." After all, there is a contrast drawn between the chastisement of an earthly father and the chastisement of the Heavenly Father. This is in no way a license to ever abuse our children in any way whatsoever. Rather, the entire section on discipline in Hebrews 12 is placed under the rubric of the love of God the Father. The father who loves his children will, therefore, discipline them. The father who wants good for his children will seeks to discipline them "as it seems best to him." It is the father who longs for his children to know Christ and to walk in paths of righteousness who lovingly seeks to raise and discipline his children "according to his best discretion." Only a loving father does these things; and, he does them because he knows that the loving Father in Heaven disciplines His children in order to make them partakers of His righteousness. As Owen noted, in our attempts we "might fail, both as unto the causes and measure of chastisement." However, we acknowledge that the loving hand of our heavenly Father never fails. After all, we trust Him to bring our children to saving faith. We cast ourselves on the sovereign God who alone can remove our children's hearts of stone and give them hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). We pray in accord with His promises and seek to use all the means that He has appointed--all the while acknowledging that we do not have the ability either to bring them to saving faith or to spiritual maturity. We teach them and discipline them "as it seems best to us" while acknowledging that our Father in Heaven metes out exactly what we and they need with perfect wisdom and discretion. 1. John Owen The Works of John Owen (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1862) vol. 24 pp. 268-269
More in Blog
May 27, 2023The Forgotten Side of Sanctification
May 20, 2023More Mercy in Christ than Sin in Us
April 28, 2023What Does 'Salvation" Mean?
Leave a Comment
Comments for this post have been disabled.