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Although discipline is often defined as an "act of punishing," it's actually based on the same root as disciple i.e. a student. Discipline refers more directly to "a branch of knowledge" and "a system of rules of conduct or method of practice." Punishment is merely the natural result of rejecting what is being taught, often requiring no other person to do the punishing e.g. those who refuse to learn not to touch hot things will themselves be the one that gets burned. The same principle applies to God's offer of salvation.
"Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life"
The author of Hebrews (most probably the apostle Paul - see notes for the next chapter) emphasizes that physical life is meant to be a journey toward spirit life (see the Fact Finder question below; listen also to the Sermons First Day of Unleavened Bread: Beginning The Journey To Salvation and Seventh Day of Unleavened Bread: The Road To Life from our Sermons page). "Let us run with patience the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1 KJV) and "12:13 make straight paths for your feet" (Hebrews 12:13 KJV) reiterates Christ's "7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:13-14 KJV; see When Will You Be Judged? and I Did It My Way).
"12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author [see The Author of Life] and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross [see Crossing The T], despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God [see What Is Jesus Christ Doing Right Now?]. 12:3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
The Lord's offer of salvation is made once, sooner or later; there are no "second chances" for those who have been given the means to understand (see When Will You Be Judged?). "12:25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven" (Hebrews 12:25 KJV) is a dire warning against refusing God's offer of life.
"12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; 12:16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. 12:17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.
Fact Finder: What is a true believer?