Even if The Old Testament did say to hit children, it also says to sacrifice animals and to stone rebellious teenagers (and other sinners). So, anyone who spanks (or strikes) their children is living under the Law and therefore, not under Grace. If we are living by Grace, we must apply grace to our children.
God does not have a rod in His hand to hit us with every time we don’t obey. He punishes us by our own consequences. God tells us to not turn to our right nor to our left, to stay on the straight and narrow path which are His commandments and if we don’t, we will suffer the consequences.
Here are some examples. Let’s talk about Adam, in Eden, remember? (Gen. 2:15-17) God told him not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. God warned him of the consequences they would suffer if they disobeyed. And when Adam ate the fruit, God didn’t scold him, nor did He hit him with anything. Adam suffered his own consequences for his disobedience. And what were the consequences? He took away the privileges of being able to live forever, so he had to die. He also was no longer allowed to stay in Eden and live a life of leisure. (Gen. 3:22-24)
Now, let’s look at Moses’ consequences. When God told Moses to speak to the rock and instead he hit the rock, the consequences of his disobedience were that he would not enter the Promised Land, he would not enjoy the land, nor be the one to distribute the land to 9.5 of the 12 tribes of Israel. (Num. 20:7-8, 11-12) No amount of begging on the part of Moses could change His mind, God finally refused to discuss it further with him. (Deu. 3:23-26) He did not hit Moses, He simply took away those privileges and Moses was remorseful. So what we see here is the discipline of the Lord.
These are only 2 of many examples of God disciplining His children. Also, notice that Adam and Moses were adults. The Bible does not show instances of God punishing or hitting little children in order to teach them or make them obey.
If our children do not obey, we have to explain to them what we require and why. We take away privileges when they don’t obey, as God does to us. He takes privileges away from us when we are disobedient. He only does this with His children.
Here are some examples. The ungodly may prosper (Psa. 73:3, 12) but when God’s children disobey, they suffer the consequences. That is the way that God scourges us. (Heb. 12:6-8) Who are God’s children? The ones who have The Holy Spirit. (Rom. 8:14) And who has the Holy Spirit? Those who have received and believed with all their heart in Jesus Christ as their personal savior. (Act. 2:38; Act. 10:47)
Let me remind you of what Jesus said when the disciples stopped the children from coming to Jesus. He said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” (Mar. 10:14) What happened after? He blessed the little children. What we learn from this is that Jesus rebuked the disciples for scolding the children. Jesus teaches us by this verse that we have to listen to our own children, not yell at them, nor spank them, nor mistreat them in any way. We must communicate with them, not just say, “Do this because I say so.” We must bless our children as well as discipline. Discipline does not mean spanking or hitting. It means to make someone our disciples by teaching them. How do we get disciplined? By repetition. We must be patient with our children as God is patient with us. He gives us our own freedom of choice to decide how we will respond, He does not want robots. Nor should we train our children to be like robots, obeying without thinking.
The Bible says, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture (Greek paideía: discipline; training and education of children, hence: instruction; correction) and admonition (Greek nouthesía: a warning, admonition, counsel) of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4) This means to respect your children so that they will learn to respect you. Because if you don’t respect them first, they will not respect you. And the training here does not mean that kind of training you would do to animals because it’s the training of the Lord and the Lord does not train us like animals. Training here means instruction, correction and nurture. And admonition means counsel, a warning, calling attention to, mild rebuke.
Don’t forget, when your time is up to go face God, you have to give an account for how you treated your children. I believe that according to the Bible, hitting them for any reason and with any thing is abusing them. And if anyone is abusing their children in any way, they are violating The Word Of God in Eph. 6:4.
We are called to love our children, not to abuse them. The Love of which I speak here is (Greek agapé) as defined in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a.