According to Galatians 6:1, only spiritual people get to discipline. Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. (Gal. 6:1) This means that you cannot spank if you are not spiritual. In my opinion, this means that only faithful Christians ought to spank their children. This also shows us that God’s principles work in part even when handled by unbelievers. We all know the well-behaved children of nominal or even of non-Christian parents. While they do not pass the test of being truly spiritual, they are able to copy some of the outward manifestations of spirituality and get a good result. These folks have a strict home and require good behavior. Their expectations are not disappointed.
On the flip side of this, we also know many Christians who apply discipline in a very mechanical and wooden fashion. For them, spanking a child is merely cause and effect. You simply beat the bad behavior out of them. While there is some biblical truth to this (Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. Prov 22:15), we don’t only want to beat the bad behavior out of them. We also want to instill the good behavior into them. It is important for parents to have both aspects of this truth in their heads when disciplining children.
Parents, some of you may not be able to spank your children. You are not self-disciplined enough yet to discipline anybody else. This does not mean that you get out of it. Not at all. You need to get with it. You must change your behavior so that you can be obedient to God in molding your children’s behavior.
Spanking ought not to be seen as direct punishment. We do not want the children to pay for their sins, because they cannot do so. We need to remember that we are teaching our children to know and love God, our Father. The entire discipline process should be leading them to discipline in the Lord. This means that they need to learn to do the right thing because they love to do the right thing.
This is essential in our relationship to God. We want to do His will because He loves us and we want to please Him. This is duty bound to love and is the right picture to paint for your children. Furthermore, they need to understand that they cannot earn God’s favor through deeds done or through an expiation of sin. God’s kindness is given to us because He loves us. Because He loves us, He disciplines us. His discipline process shows us how to love Him more.
The same thing is going on with our children. As we discipline them, they begin to learn discipline. And when they learn this discipline well, they are enabled to show their love of us and to us.
We do want them to see the link between bad behavior and bad fruit. We should see discipline and especially spanking as the real fruit of bad behavior and understand that it is a great incentive not just to not do wrong but also and more importantly to do right.