Malachi 3

* The coming of Christ. (1-6) The Jews reproved for their

corruptions. (7-12) God's care of his people; The distinction

between the righteous and the wicked. (13-18)

1-6 The first words of this chapter seem an answer to the

scoffers of those days. Here is a prophecy of the appearing of

John the Baptist. He is Christ's harbinger. He shall prepare the

way before him, by calling men to repentance. The Messiah had

been long called, "He that should come," and now shortly he will

come. He is the Messenger of the covenant. Those who seek Jesus,

shall find pleasure in him, often when not looked for. The Lord

Jesus, prepares the sinner's heart to be his temple, by the

ministry of his word and the convictions of his Spirit, and he

enters it as the Messenger of peace and consolation. No

hypocrite or formalist can endure his doctrine, or stand before

his tribunal. Christ came to distinguish men, to separate

between the precious and the vile. He shall sit as a Refiner.

Christ, by his gospel, shall purify and reform his church, and

by his Spirit working with it, shall regenerate and cleanse

souls. He will take away the dross found in them. He will

separate their corruptions, which render their faculties

worthless and useless. The believer needs not fear the fiery

trial of afflictions and temptations, by which the Saviour

refines his gold. He will take care it is not more intense or

longer than is needful for his good; and this trial will end far

otherwise than that of the wicked. Christ will, by interceding

for them, make them accepted. Where no fear of God is, no good

is to be expected. Evil pursues sinners. God is unchangeable.

And though the sentence against evil works be not executed

speedily, yet it will be executed; the Lord is as much an enemy

to sin as ever. We may all apply this to ourselves. Because we

have to do with a God that changes not, therefore it is that we

are not consumed; because his compassions fail not.
7-12 The men of that generation turned away from God, they had

not kept his ordinances. God gives them a gracious call. But

they said, Wherein shall we return? God notices what returns our

hearts make to the calls of his word. It shows great

perverseness in sin, when men make afflictions excuses for sin,

which are sent to part between them and their sins. Here is an

earnest exhortation to reform. God must be served in the first

place; and the interest of our souls ought to be preferred

before that of our bodies. Let them trust God to provide for

their comfort. God has blessings ready for us, but through the

weakness of our faith and the narrowness of our desires, we have

not room to receive them. He who makes trial will find nothing

is lost by honouring the Lord with his substance.
13-18 Among the Jews at this time, some plainly discovered

themselves to be children of the wicked one. The yoke of Christ

is easy. But those who work wickedness, tempt God by

presumptuous sins. Judge of things as they will appear when the

doom of these proud sinners comes to be executed. Those that

feared the Lord, spake kindly, for preserving and promoting

mutual love, when sin thus abounded. They spake one to another,

in the language of those that fear the Lord, and think on his

name. As evil communications corrupt good minds and manners, so

good communications confirm them. A book of remembrance was

written before God. He will take care that his children perish

not with those that believe not. They shall be vessels of mercy

and honour, when the rest are made vessels of wrath and

dishonour. The saints are God's jewels; they are dear to him. He

will preserve them as his jewels, when the earth is burned up

like dross. Those who now own God for theirs, he will then own

for his. It is our duty to serve God with the disposition of

children; and he will not have his children trained up in

idleness; they must do him service from a principle of love.

Even God's children stand in need of sparing mercy. All are

righteous or wicked, such as serve God, or such as serve him

not: all are going to heaven or to hell. We are often deceived

in our opinions concerning both the one and the other; but at

the bar of Christ, every man's character will be known. As to

ourselves, we have need to think among which we shall have our

lot; and, as to others, we must judge nothing before the time.

But in the end all the world will confess that those alone were

wise and happy, who served the Lord and trusted in Him.

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