Christ’s sacrifice satisfied the Father’s anger so that, as his child, you will receive his discipline but need not fear his wrath.
It is the bottom line of your acceptance with God. It is the foundational reason why grace is your only hope. Jesus fully and completely satisfied the Father’s anger so that you and I will never, ever again face the penalty for our sin. You do not have to live in fear of God’s anger. On your very worst, most rebellious, and most faithless day, you can run into the holy presence of your heavenly Father and he will not turn you away. Your acceptance has not been, nor will it ever be, based on your performance. You have not been welcomed into an eternal relationship with God because you have kept the law, but because Jesus did. If you obey God for a thousand years, you will not have earned more of his acceptance than you were granted the very first moment you believed. Here’s how radical the gospel of grace really is—you do not have to be something before God because Jesus accomplished everything on your behalf.
Since you are God’s child and he loves you dearly, he disciplines you. But in the face of his loving discipline, a very important distinction needs to be made. His discipline is not punishment for your sin, because all of your punishment has been borne by your Savior, Jesus. Rather than being punitive, his fatherly discipline is transformative. It is designed to change your heart. It is one of the tools God uses to propel and ultimately to complete his agenda of grace. His discipline is not teaching you what to do to earn your place as one of his children; his careful, loving discipline actually proves that you are one of his children:
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:7—11)
So God’s discipline is an instrument of his grace. It is a continuation of his work of personal heart-and-life transformation. God’s discipline is not him turning his angry back on us. It is God turning his face of grace toward us once again, and he will continue to do this until his grace has finished its work.
For further study and encouragement: Job 5:17—27
This excerpt taken from the March 20th entry in Paul David Tripp’s devotional New Morning Mercies.