No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous - Neither correction, wholesome restraint, domestic regulations, nor gymnastic discipline, are pleasant to them that are thus exercised; but it is by these means that obedient children, scholars, and great men are made. And it is by God's discipline that Christians are made. He who does not bear the yoke of Christ is good for nothing to others, and never gains rest to his own soul.
The peaceable fruit of righteousness - i.e. The joyous, prosperous fruits; those fruits by which we gain much, and through which we are made happy.
Exercised thereby - Γεγυμνασμενοις· To the trained. There is still an allusion to the Grecian games; and in the word before us to those gymnastic exercises by which the candidates for the prizes were trained to the different kinds of exercises in which they were to contend when the games were publicly opened.
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous - It does not impart pleasure, nor is this its design. All chastisement is intended to produce pain, and the Christian is as sensitive to pain as others. His religion does not blunt his sensibilities and make him a stoic, but it rather increases his susceptibility to suffering. The Lord Jesus, probably, felt pain, reproach, and contempt more keenly than any other human being ever did; and the Christian feels the loss of a child, or physical suffering, as keenly as anyone. But while religion does not render him insensible to suffering, it does two things:
(1)it enables him to bear the pain without complaining; and,
(2)it turns the affliction into a blessing on his soul. “Nevertheless afterward.” In future life. The effect is seen in a pure life, and in a more entire devotedness to God. We are not to look for the proper fruits of affliction while we are suffering, but “afterward.”
It yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness - It is a tree that bears good fruit, and we do not expect the fruit to form and ripen at once. It may be long maturing, but it will be rich and mellow when it is ripe. It frequently requires a long time before all the results of affliction appear - as it requires months to form and ripen fruit. Like fruit it may appear at first sour, crabbed, and unpalatable; but it will be at last like the ruddy peach or the golden orange. When those fruits are ripened, they are:
(1)fruits of “righteousness.” They make us more holy, more dead to sin and the world, and more alive to God. And they are
(2)“peaceable.” They produce peace, calmness, submission in the soul. They make the heart more tranquil in its confidence in God, and more disposed to promote the religion of peace.
The apostle speaks of this as if it were a universal truth in regard to Christians who are afflicted. And it is so. There is no Christian who is not ultimately benefited by trials, and who is not able at some period subsequently to say, “It was good for me that I was afflicted. Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now have I kept thy word.” When a Christian comes to die, he does not feel that he has had one trial too many, or one which he did not deserve. He can then look back and see the effect of some early trial so severe that he once thought he could hardly endure it, spreading a hallowed influence over his future years, and scattering its golden fruit all along the pathway of life. I have never known a Christian who was not benefited by afflictions; I have seen none who was not able to say that his trials produced some happy effect on his religious character, and on his real happiness in life. If this be so, then no matter how severe our trials, we should submit to them without a complaint. The more severe they are, the more we shall yet be blessed - on earth or in heaven.
“David learned wisdom from God's dealings with him and bowed in humility beneath the chastisement of the Most High. The faithful portrayal of his true state by the prophet Nathan made David acquainted with his own sins and aided him to put them away. He accepted counsel meekly and humiliated himself before God. ‘The law of the Lord,’ he exclaims, ‘is perfect, converting the soul.’” [Testimonies for the Church 4:14, 15 (1876).] 5T 683.1
“If ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye ... not sons.” Our Lord has said: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.” “No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Though bitter the discipline, it is appointed by a Father's tender love, “that we might be partakers of His holiness.” 5T 683.2Read in context »
God hears every sincere prayer. He would place you in connection with His work that He might bring you more directly to the light. And unless you should seal your vision against evidence and light you would be persuaded that if you were more distrustful of yourself and less distrustful of your brethren you would be more prosperous in God. It is God who has led you through strait places. He had a purpose in this, that tribulation might work in you patience, and patience experience, and experience hope. He permitted trials to come upon you, that, through them, you might experience the peaceable fruits of righteousness. 3T 416.1
Peter denied the Man of Sorrows in His acquaintance with grief in the hour of His humiliation. But he afterward repented and was reconverted. He had true contrition of soul and gave himself afresh to his Saviour. With blinding tears he makes his way to the solitudes of the Garden of Gethsemane and there prostrates himself where he saw his Saviour's prostrate form when the bloody sweat was forced from His pores by His great agony. Peter remembers with remorse that he was asleep when Jesus prayed during those fearful hours. His proud heart breaks, and penitential tears moisten the sods so recently stained with the bloody sweat drops of God's dear Son. He left that garden a converted man. He was ready then to pity the tempted. He was humbled and could sympathize with the weak and erring. He could caution and warn the presumptuous, and was fully fitted to strengthen his brethren. 3T 416.2
God led you through affliction and trials that you might have more perfect trust and confidence in Him, and that you might think less of your own judgment. You can bear adversity better than prosperity. The all-seeing eye of Jehovah detected in you much dross that you considered gold and too valuable to throw away. The enemy's power over you had at times been direct and very strong. The delusions of spiritualism had entangled your faith, perverted your judgment, and confused your experience. God in His providence would try you, to purify you, as the sons of Levi, that you might offer to Him an offering in righteousness. 3T 416.3Read in context »
The Lord is coming in a little while, and are we performing the duties that result from righteousness? Love is the basis of godliness. No man has love to God, no matter what his profession may be, unless he has unselfish love for his brother. As we love God because He first loved us, we shall love all for whom Christ died. We shall not feel like letting the soul who is in the greatest peril, and in the greatest need, go unwarned, unlabored for, and uncared for. We shall not feel like holding the erring off, and being critical and exacting, or letting them alone to plunge into further unhappiness and discouragement, and to fall on Satan's battleground, for God will deal with us as He deals with our brethren or the younger members of the Lord's family. TDG 239.3Read in context »
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.... And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vainglory, provoking one another, envying one another.” 5T 650.1
The enemy will seek to intrude himself even amid your religious exercises. Every avenue will need to be faithfully guarded lest selfishness and pride become interwoven with your work. If self has really been crucified, with the affections and lusts, the fruit will appear in good works to the glory of God. I entreat you, in the fear of God, not to let your works degenerate. Be consistent, symmetrical Christians. When the heart has given its affections to Christ, old things have passed away, and all things have become new. 5T 650.2
Our religion must be intelligent. The wisdom from above must strengthen, establish, and settle us. We must go on and on, forward and upward, from light to still greater light, and God will still reveal His glory to us as He doth not unto the world. 5T 650.3Read in context »