As adopted children of God, believers in Christ are subject to the loving discipline of the Father. This is a preserving grace.
At the time of salvation, all sinners who put their trust in Christ become children of God. This is the beginning of a saving relationship that can never be broken, even given the ongoing presence of sin in believers’ lives. God disciplines, but never abandons, His children when they sin:
“For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” 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? —Hebrews 12:6–7
When a believer sins, he does not lose his sonship. A son never ceases to be a son in God’s family. But God disciplines every son whom He receives. It is through this painful chastisement that God removes sin from a believer’s life. Making a careful distinction between divine punishment and discipline, Kistemaker writes, “Does God punish His children? He does send us trials and hardships designed to strengthen our faith in Him. Adversities are aids to bring us into a closer fellowship with God. But God does not punish us. He punished the Son of God, especially on Calvary’s cross, where He poured out His wrath on Jesus by forsaking Him (Ps. 22:1; Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34). As sin-bearer, Jesus bore God’s wrath for us, so that we who believe in Him will never be forsaken by God. God does not punish us, because Jesus received our punishment. We are disciplined, not punished.”
—Steve Lawson, Foundations of Grace (Reformation Trust, 2006), 491.