This Sunday was the second installment in our Advent series. We started the series with the promise of the Savoir; and saw this past Sunday in Malachi 3, the purpose of the Savior. We saw that Jesus comes as the Savior to purify His people and to judge sin.
- The Savior Comes to His People: v.1
The first thing we see is that the Savior comes to His people. There are two significant components of this that we must keep in mind.
God’s Initiation: We must be reminded that Jesus proactively and purposefully comes to us. He is the one who is drawing near. God is the initiator and we are the beneficiary of His initiation.
God’s Incarnation: We are also reminded of the fact that Jesus comes to us as a man. Sometimes we can be inoculated to the depth of how shocking this is. Jesus will live the perfection of heaven; to live in a very broken world, veiling His divinity with flesh. When we speak of Jesus coming to His people, that is a loaded statement that requires our thanks and praise of Him!
- The Savior Purifies His People: v.2-4
Malachi uses two illustrations to help us understand this; a refiner and a launderer. Each of these illustrations help us to see the intensity of God’s refining work, but they also speak to the comprehensive nature of purification. We notice a couple of really significant truths that bear out here. The first is God’s purification of His people. What must be seen here is that when God does this, there’s a totality and fullness to it. Consider this: when you think about your own failures and shortcomings before God and move to the place of thinking, “there’s no way God could truly cleanse me of this,” the truth is that’s exactly what He’s done! He has washed away the stain of sin in it’s entirety! What a glorious truth. Then in response to that, we bring to God a righteous worship.
- The Savior Judges Those Who Do Not Fear God: v.5
The text concludes with a difficult but necessary truth, that God judges those that do not fear Him. You may find yourself saying, “wait a second, I thought God came to save people, why are you talking about judgment?” The appropriate follow up question to that question is save us from what? This is what God saves us from, the judgment that is necessary for sin. Salvation and judgment are two sides of the same coin. While this is a hard truth, it’s helpful to remember that God’s initial response is to purify His people. For those that reject that, judgment is what awaits.
As we closed our time on Sunday, we left some time to reflect and consider with respect to a few questions. Here are the questions that we spent time considering. I’d encourage you to take a few minutes considering these questions again or for the first time.
- In what ways, do I need to be challenged in thinking about Jesus coming on my behalf?
- In what ways, do I need to thank God for His purifying work in my life?
- In what ways, do I need to respond in worship to God’s purifying work?
- Are there attitudes or behaviors in my life that I need to repent of?