The Ministry of Chastisement
The people to whom the writer was addressing himself were having fainting spells...spiritual fainting spells. And much of the Book of Hebrews deals with trying to encourage these Hebrew Christians...trying to cure their disheartenment because of trials, tribulations, sufferings and difficulties that have come their way. In the passages preceding this one he's been giving why they should not be disheartened because of adversity. Remember chapter 11 is that great faith chapter and the writer there is pointing out to them the example of the great men of faith...their faith was brought out through suffering and trials and adversity.
Then, in chapter 12, he uses the example of Jesus as one who suffered...therefore they should not be disheartened when they suffer. There is a third reason that they suffer and much of their discouragement and disheartenment is a result of their forgetting a primary truth in the spiritual life and in verse 5, he picks up this third reason that Christian suffer...this thing that they have forgotten which has led to some doubt and frustration which in turn has caused some disheartenment in their own Christian life.
So, let's begin reading with the verse 5 and read through verse 17...
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 are rebuked of him: for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 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? For they verily for a few days chastened us after ...
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