Loving Sanctification’s Discipline
“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid. A good man obtains favor from the Lord, but a man of evil devices he condemns.” (Proverbs 12:1-2)
Do you have a love-hate relationship with something or someone? We use the phrase “love-hate” to describe conflicted desires toward people with certain personality traits or things that we want but don’t want, like camping with our families or eating fattening desserts and snacks. But the truth is that we can’t love and hate anyone or anything at the same time. We can love the experience and hate the results, or hate the experience and love the results. If we want to resolve our conflicted attitudes or desires, we must explore the source of our love and hate, and the best way to do so is with God’s help through Scripture, prayer, and godly counsel. Proverbs 12:1 speaks of those who love discipline because they love knowledge in contrast to the person who hates discipline and hates knowledge.
I imagine that not many of us would say that we love discipline coming from someone else, although we may like to be self-disciplined. When we study God’s Word over many years or decades the truths of God become our standard for our self-discipline, and thus we are being disciplined by the Lord. If we account for our self-control, submission to Christ, and obedience to the Bible by our power we are robbing God of his glory, and we imagine ourselves as the source of our success. However, it is the knowledge of God that is our driving force to receive God’s discipline—the knowledge that in Christ we have been delivered from an eternal death sentence. Thus we find ourselves, as transformed believers, to be the “good man” of verse 2 who has obtained God’s favor. The stupid man who has rejected Christ has rejected God’s discipline and is sinfully depending on his own devices is left in his condemnation, receiving what he deserves rather than God’s undeserved grace and mercy. When believers forget that we have been rescued from our death sentence we lose our strength and joy and choose to revert to our own devices (1). We won’t be eternally condemned but will probably be left to our consequences, unless we repent and remember that Christ has called us to a transformed life. Provers 12:1-2 reminds and encourages us to live the new life we’ve received in Christ, imitating his obedience to God’s instructions. Jesus “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:8)
Matthew Henry advises us, “Those who have grace, will delight in the instructions given them….Those that stifle their convictions, are like brutes.” How does this statement impact you and the way you respond to God’s Word? Or, does this statement from the Reformation Study Bible relate more directly to you, “The wise person accepts correction and consequently grows wiser, but the one who cannot accept criticism goes nowhere?” (3) How can you move toward Christ today?
(1) Kruger, Melissa B., “In All Things,” page 33, Multnomah Press, 2018.
(2) Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible, Proverbs 12:1, https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-concise/
(3) The Reformation Study Bible, Proverbs 12:2, Reformation Trust Publishing (Ligonier Ministries), Sanford, Fl., 2015.