THE PURPOSE OF DISCIPLINE
BEING FOR THE CLEANSING
According to the Word of God, discipline is for cleansing. Man is defiled; therefore, he needs to be cleansed. In the Bible there is not only one kind of cleansing. The first cleansing is the cleansing of the blood, that is, the cleansing by the blood of the Lord Jesus. The Bible mentions the cleansing of the blood over three hundred times. Here we will mention only two verses. Hebrews 9:22 says, "And almost all things are purified by blood according to the law, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." This verse speaks of the purification by the blood. Hebrews 1:3 says, "Who, being the effulgence of His glory and the impress of His substance and upholding and bearing all things by the word of His power, having made purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." Here we can translate "having made cleansing of sins." In the Bible we see the cleansing of our sins by the blood of the Lord Jesus. After He cleansed our sins, He ascended to the heights and sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. This is the first kind of cleansing in the Bible.
However, although many people have received the cleansing of the blood of the Lord Jesus, they still have many filthy thoughts while living on earth. They are still very much defiled by the world and have many fleshly sins. Because there are these many other things, God uses other means to cleanse us. This is the way of cleansing by discipline and chastisement which we will now talk about.
In John 15:2 the Lord says, "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes it away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it that it may bear more fruit." The pruning here is a cleansing. God cuts away the unnecessary, unimportant, and hindering elements that the branches may bear more fruit. This is God’s discipline. Hence, the purpose of God’s discipline is not for destroying us but for perfecting us, so that we may become more worthy of God’s glory, of God’s holiness, and of the righteousness that is set before us.
Thus, there are two lines and two cleansings in God’s Word. One is the cleansing by the blood of the Lord Jesus. The other is the cleansing by God which comes through our environment, our family, our personal health, or our job. If we indulge in what we should not indulge in or refuse to cut off what we should cut off, God’s disciplining hand will be upon us in our environment.
(Gospel of God, The (2 volume set), Chapter 22, by Watchman Nee)