19 April 2009

Punished as wicked or scourged as a son?

They may look the same, superficially; but they are not the same.

"It is for chastening that ye endure" [Hebrews 12.7] not for punishment, nor for vengeance, nor for suffering. See, from that from which they supposed they had been deserted [of God], from these he says they may be confident, that they have not been deserted. It is as if he had said, Because ye have suffered so many evils, do you suppose that God has left you and hates you? If ye did not suffer, then it were right to suppose this. For if “He scourgeth every son whom He receiveth,” he who is not scourged, perhaps is not a son. What then, you say, do not bad men suffer distress? They suffer indeed; how then? He did not say, Every one who is scourged is a son, but every son is scourged. For in all cases He scourges His son: what is wanted then is to show, whether any son is not scourged. But thou wouldest not be able to say: there are many wicked men also who are scourged, such as murderers, robbers, sorcerers, plunderers of tombs. These however are paying the penalty of their own wickedness, and are not scourged as sons, but punished as wicked: but ye as sons. ~ John Chrysostom, Homily on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 29.

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James Frank SolĂ­s
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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