New Believers Series: Discipline of God, The #19, by Watchman Nee


Verse 10 says, "For they disciplined for a few days as it seemed good to them." Often parents discipline their children in a poor way, because they act and discipline according to their own whims. Not much benefit will come out of this discipline.

"But He, for what is profitable that we might partake of His holiness." This is not a discipline driven by temper nor a discipline that is merely a punishment. No discipline or reproach of God is merely a punishment; it is educational in nature, and it is there for our profit. The purpose of discipline is not just to hurt us. The hurt produces something; it is there for a purpose. He does not punish us simply because we have done something wrong. Whoever thinks this way is altogether in the realm of the law and the courtroom.

A. Partakers of His Holiness

What is the benefit of such discipline? It is to make us partakers of His holiness. This is glorious! Holiness is God’s nature. We may say that holiness is also God’s character. It is for this that God uses many ways to discipline His children. From the time we believed in the Lord, God has been disciplining us. He disciplines us with the view that we may partake of His holiness, His nature, and His character. The Bible speaks of a few kinds of holiness. The holiness in Hebrews specifically refers to God’s character. For Christ to become our holiness is one thing. For us to be sanctified in Christ is another thing. The holiness spoken of here is something wrought into us; it is not a gift. It has to do with our constitution. This is something we have been emphasizing for years. This means that God works something into us in a gradual way. The holiness here is a holiness that is constituted through His discipline, something constituted through His scourging and daily, inner working. His discipline and operation are for the purpose of making us partakers of His holiness.

After we suffer a little chastisement, we partake of His holiness. After we suffer more chastisement, we learn more holiness. If we remain under God’s discipline, we will gradually realize what holiness is. If we continue under God’s discipline, there will be a gradual constitution of holiness into our character. If we stay under God’s discipline all the way to the end, we will become holy in our character. Nothing is more crucial than this! We must realize that the result of discipline is the constitution of God’s character into our being. All discipline has results, and we should reap the fruit from all of them. May the Lord be merciful to us so that His discipline, whenever it is upon us, may produce a little more holiness. May it result in more holiness, in more lessons learned, and in more constitution of God. Holiness must continually increase in us!

B. The Constitution of a Holy Character

After we accept the Lord and become God’s children, He daily arranges many things in our environment to discipline and chastise us. All these things are lessons to us. Time after time these lessons come to us for the purpose of adding His holiness to us. We need much discipline before God can work out a holy character in us! In the eyes of God we have only a limited number of years to live our Christian life. If we neglect God’s discipline, and if it does not produce the needed effect in us, our loss will be an eternal loss indeed!

(New Believers Series: Discipline of God, The #19, Chapter 1, by Watchman Nee)