Monday, August 29, 2011

Divine discipline

“At the head of the pattern [of dealing with sin] is divine discipline. Divine discipline for human sin is often presented simply as punishment for violation without being part of a larger pattern that sees it prompting a human response. This is displayed most vividly in the Torah, especially in the early stories of Genesis and in the penalties associated with the legal codes. Punishments of this sort are designed to remove serious violators from the camp or to discourage the violator or others from repeating the violation. However, even in these cases divine discipline refines the community by removing the rebellious and warning the rest of the community. As part of the larger pattern, divine discipline prompts repentance from the willing. The fact that full punishment is rarely exacted but rather more often a punishment is mitigated reveals its disciplinary design.”—A Severe Mercy, page 520

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