Q. In Hebrews 12:6 it reads, “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines”. My question is how does God discipline believers? Can we know when He is disciplining us?
A. There are several things to keep in mind when considering the Lord’s discipline. First, the word discipline comes from disciple, which means student. So discipline is for the purpose of instruction, not punishment. Since God has already punished Jesus for our sins, we are no longer subject to His punishment. Hebrews 12:6 is adapted from Proverbs 3:12 which sets the tone by saying the Lord disciplines us “as a father corrects the son he loves.”
Second, Romans 8:28 says that God is working everything together for the good of those who love Him. Therefore, any discipline we receive from God has to result in good for us. It can sometimes be uncomfortable, but it will always bring blessing. We can know we’re being disciplined by the fact that it’s drawing us closer to God, and that we’re benefiting from His instruction. Punishment increases our fear. The Lord’s discipline increases our love.