The Holy Spirit & the Local Church 7

How the Holy Spirit Sends Correction
by Pastor John Hamel

“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” 

“Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?  For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.  Now 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.” (Hebrews 12:5-11)

In our last study we saw some things that everyone needs to understand about the Holy Spirit’s caring correction and discipline.  We saw that correction is not punishment.  Punishment is vengeful.  Correction is a form of affection.  We saw that the Holy Spirit corrects us because He cherishes us and we belong to His family.  He is seeking to develop character in us.  

Finally, everyone understands that correction is not fun.  It is not supposed to be fun.  The Holy Spirit is not looking to put the “fun” back into “dysfunctional.”  He is looking to steer His family away from dysfunction.  

In today’s study we are going to look at the primary ways that the Holy Spirit sends correction. 

The Holy Spirit Prefers to Use Direct Correction

“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I WILL GUIDE THEE WITH MINE EYE.  Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.” (Psalm 32:8,9)

When God said that He would “guide thee with mine eye,” He meant that He would guide us directly with His “knowledge” and His “presence.”   Direct guidance is internal guidance.  God always prefers to guide us directly through the written Word of God, unless of course, there is no Scripture to tell you what to do. 

For example, we have Scripture that tells us to not marry an unsaved person. (2Corinthians 6:14)  God does not have to speak to us about that through a dream, a vision or a prophecy.  We already know His will.  But if we are thinking about moving to another state, there is no Scripture that says, “Thus sayeth the Lord, thou shalt move to Poughkeepsie.”  So we must look internally for God’s guidance.  

The primary way that God guides apart from the written Word of God is through the inner witness of His Holy Spirit.

“And let the peace (soul harmony with comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds]…” (Colossians 3:15 Amplified Bible)

The Holy Spirit is your inner umpire.  He will tell you inwardly whether you are “safe” or “out” concerning all decisions that arise in your mind.  If the inner umpire is giving you “unrest” on the inside about your move to Poughkeepsie, you would do well to stay in place.  If the inner umpire is giving you “peace” on the inside about your move to Poughkeepsie, you would do well to start packing immediately. 

God will speak to you through the Bible and/or through the inner witness of the Holy Spirit, first and foremost.  Some call this “intuition,” “gut instinct,” “perception,” “inner knowing,” etc.  

He can also speak to you through your conscience, His still small voice, His more authoritative voice, a dream or even a vision.  These are all Scriptural forms of guidance, as long as they line up with the written Word.  

However He speaks to you, do not violate it or He will have to move on to other forms of indirect guidance that I call “the bits and bridles of caring correction.”  We will look at some of the “bits and bridles of caring correction.”

The Holy Spirit Will Resort to Indirect Correction 

Nowhere in the Bible are Believers ever referred to as “horses or mules.”  Jesus calls His people “sheep” because sheep obey the Master’s voice.  Sheep do not need restraining devices because they willingly follow.  Horses and mules need restraining devices because they are self-willed.  I am determined that the Holy Spirit is never going to have to slap a bit and a bridle on me.  I am determined that the Holy Spirit will not have to resort to the indirect forms of correction in my life.

Indirect Correction through Family & Friends

Spiritual leadership in the home can be a bit and a bridle.  Our fleshly parents are to correct us when we are wrong and refusing to do what we know is right inwardly.  Sometimes the rod of correction must come into play with children. (Proverbs 13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 23:13; 29:15,17)  Husbands and wives occasionally have to help discipline one another in love when one or the other is not obeying the Bible or the inner witness of the Holy Spirit.  (Ephesians 5:22-6:4; Proverbs 31:26,27) 

Other family members and friends can be used by the Holy Spirit to correct us.  Keep in mind here that we have absolutely no business taking it upon ourselves to correct people that we do not know personally.  The Bible clearly states that, “Open rebuke is better than secret love.  Faithful are the wounds of a friend …” (Proverbs 27:5,6)  We have no business “wounding” someone if they are not first our friend. 

Indirect Correction through Church Leadership

Church leadership is also an external form of indirect correction.  When we refuse to listen to the Bible, when we refuse to listen inwardly and when we refuse to listen to family members or faithful friends, the Holy Spirit will move further out in the periphery of our lives.  He will involve the Pastor or some other spiritual leader who is familiar with us to pull us back in line and to spare unnecessary suffering or potential tragedy. 

“Be responsive to your Pastoral leaders.  Listen to their counsel.  They are alert to the condition of your lives and work under the strict supervision of God.  Contribute to the joy of their leadership, not to its drudgery.  Why would you want to make things harder for them?” (Hebrews 13:17 Message Bible)

When the Holy Spirit begins to involve spiritual leadership to get you back on track, it is time for you to wake up and start listening to the gravel on the side of the road.  You are about to drive into a ditch.  You are about to make things exceptionally and unnecessarily difficult for yourself.

Indirect Correction Comes through the Reproof of Life

The reproof of life is another bit and bridle of correction.  You will not enjoy this one at all if and when it comes.  This one is almost guaranteed to wake up even the most stubborn of God’s children. 

“The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.” (Proverbs 15:31) 

Let us say for example, you refuse to listen to the Bible, to your conscience, to the inner witness of the Holy Spirit, possibly the voice of God, a dream or a vision.  So the Holy Spirit puts it on the heart of family members or friends to speak a word of correction into your life and you still refuse to listen.  

Next, the Holy Spirit moves on spiritual leadership to appeal to your sense of better judgment, yet you still stubbornly and foolishly resist.  Now you are really getting in over your head.  The reproof of life takes over.  The Law of Sin and Death takes over and you did it all to yourself. 

Thine own wickedness shall correct thee and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God and that my fear is not in thee, sayeth the Lord God of Hosts.” (Jeremiah 2:19) 

For example, God has tried to tell you through all the above forms of correction that He does not want you to enter into a certain immoral business venture with an unsaved person.  But you insist and persist.  The next thing you know, you are one hundred thousand dollars in debt, you lost your home and you are now sitting in the divorce court with a handkerchief to your face, crying, “Why me, God?  Why me?” 

The answer is you ignored the Holy Spirit’s direct and indirect caring correction.  You are now going toe to toe with the reproof of life.  When you enter into that realm, your whole life begins to fall apart.  There is no better time to run TO God rather than further AWAY from Him. (1John 1:9) 

No one is exempt from the reproof of life, the Pupil, the Pastor, the Pope or the President.  If you are motivated by self-will and pride, instead of God’s Word, you are headed for big time trouble.  God loves you but you are still headed for trouble.  You chose to be a mule not a sheep.  You got too big for your sheepskin and now it is time to pin the tail on the donkey.  

Do not blame God, either.  He wanted you to play by the rules, but you wanted to run and play with the fools.  Now it is time to drink from the bitter cup.  Repent.  God will help you out but don’t think He’s going to allow you to use Him.  You’re going to have to give Him your word that you’ll listen the next time.  He’ll take you at your word, too.

Indirect Correction through Civil Authorities

Civil authorities are a form of indirect correction that is an even bitterer cup to drink.  If you rebel against all of the other levels of authority and still insist on doing your own dumb thing, the Holy Spirit will definitely place you under this one.  He loves you too much to let you get away.

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and THEY THAT RESIST SHALL RECEIVE TO THEMSELVES DAMNATION.  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:” (Romans 13:1-3)

In verse two the Greek word for “damnation” is “krima.”  It is the word from which we get our word “crime.”  It means “a decision to go to law and to judgment.” 

If you would like to see police officers, attorneys, judges and the prison system up real close and personal, keep messing around and you will experience them all.  Keep blowing off God’s bits and bridles and you could very easily come to the place where the Holy Spirit Himself will allow civil authorities to come and bring His correction to you.  It is guaranteed that you will not enjoy that when it happens.  

You will wish you had listened way, way back there where the Bible, your conscience, your family, your friends and spiritual leadership were trying to help you.

It is possible to rebel to the point that you become so hardened to the Bible, conscience, family, friends, spiritual leadership, civil law and the preciousness of human life that you begin to murder.  The Holy Spirit said that when it gets to that point, it is time for your life to be taken. 

“Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” (Genesis 9:6)

Murder is a crime against the image of God.  It is a crime against society.  It is a crime against the murdered individual’s family as well as the one whose life was taken.  It is bad enough to take the life of a Born Again person before they can accomplish God’s will in their life.  But it is especially abhorrent to God when someone murders an unsaved individual, robbing him or her of the chance to spend Eternity in Heaven. 

Somebody always says, “The Bible says thou shalt not kill.  We should not practice execution in a civilized society.”  Well, if society were civilized, we would not have to do so.  Plus, the Bible does not say thou shalt not kill. The original Hebrew says, “Thou shall not take a life in an unjustifiable manner.”  (Exodus 20:13) 

If God says taking someone’s life for pre-meditated murder is justifiable, then justifiable it is.  That is why if you are a police officer, attorney, judge or prison warden, you should never feel guilty when the time comes to do what God has told you to do.  You were birthed into the Earth for this purpose.  Just lead that criminal to Christ and he will go right on into Heaven.  You are just going to have to ignore the “Christians” who picket the prison with “Thou shalt not kill” banners.  They are ignorant of their Father’s written Word. 

You can also ignore the excuse that “Genesis 9:6 has passed away because it is part of the Old Testament Law.”  That is not the truth.  Genesis was written before Moses’ Law was given.  This means that the principal of capital punishment was intact before the Law; therefore, it is intact after the Law, just like tithing.  Capital punishment continues after the Law, as well. 

God permits life to be taken when someone murders and during times of defensive warfare.  God is opposed to aggressive warfare but allows humanity to defend against aggressors.  We must understand that there are two kinds of warfare in the Bible, aggressive and defensive.  The Bible treats them differently.  

If you choose to lie, defraud, cheat, manipulate and even murder, the Holy Spirit will put the proper authorities right on your trail.  You can be sure when you launch heat seeking missiles to destroy others that, one way or another, they’ll always find their way right back to your own tail pipe.  When that happens, do not start whining that Satan is harassing you.  It is not Satan. (Proverbs 11:3)  It is you and the Law of Sin and Death squaring off, according to Romans chapter thirteen, because somewhere, way back there, you blew off the Bible, your conscience, the inner witness, family, friends, spiritual leadership and the reproof of life. 

But even if you have come this far, what Satan means for evil, the Holy Spirit can still use for good if you will repent and allow Him to do so. (Genesis 50:20)


In our final study in this series, we will see how an individual is to deal with correction when it comes.


Be Blessed … John and Barbara Hamel



How to Be Born Again (Receive Christ as Your Savior)


How to Receive The Holy Spirit & Power



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