Malachi 3* The coming of Christ. (1-6) The Jews reproved for theircorruptions. (7-12) God's care of his people; The distinctionbetween the righteous and the wicked. (13-18)1-6 The first words of this chapter seem an answer to thescoffers of those days. Here is a prophecy of the appearing ofJohn the Baptist. He is Christ's harbinger. He shall prepare theway before him, by calling men to repentance. The Messiah hadbeen long called, "He that should come," and now shortly he willcome. He is the Messenger of the covenant. Those who seek Jesus,shall find pleasure in him, often when not looked for. The LordJesus, prepares the sinner's heart to be his temple, by theministry of his word and the convictions of his Spirit, and heenters it as the Messenger of peace and consolation. Nohypocrite or formalist can endure his doctrine, or stand beforehis tribunal. Christ came to distinguish men, to separatebetween the precious and the vile. He shall sit as a Refiner.Christ, by his gospel, shall purify and reform his church, andby his Spirit working with it, shall regenerate and cleansesouls. He will take away the dross found in them. He willseparate their corruptions, which render their facultiesworthless and useless. The believer needs not fear the fierytrial of afflictions and temptations, by which the Saviourrefines his gold. He will take care it is not more intense orlonger than is needful for his good; and this trial will end farotherwise than that of the wicked. Christ will, by intercedingfor them, make them accepted. Where no fear of God is, no goodis to be expected. Evil pursues sinners. God is unchangeable.And though the sentence against evil works be not executedspeedily, yet it will be executed; the Lord is as much an enemyto sin as ever. We may all apply this to ourselves. Because wehave to do with a God that changes not, therefore it is that weare not consumed; because his compassions fail not. 7-12 The men of that generation turned away from God, they hadnot kept his ordinances. God gives them a gracious call. Butthey said, Wherein shall we return? God notices what returns ourhearts make to the calls of his word. It shows greatperverseness in sin, when men make afflictions excuses for sin,which are sent to part between them and their sins. Here is anearnest exhortation to reform. God must be served in the firstplace; and the interest of our souls ought to be preferredbefore that of our bodies. Let them trust God to provide fortheir comfort. God has blessings ready for us, but through theweakness of our faith and the narrowness of our desires, we havenot room to receive them. He who makes trial will find nothingis lost by honouring the Lord with his substance. 13-18 Among the Jews at this time, some plainly discoveredthemselves to be children of the wicked one. The yoke of Christis easy. But those who work wickedness, tempt God bypresumptuous sins. Judge of things as they will appear when thedoom of these proud sinners comes to be executed. Those thatfeared the Lord, spake kindly, for preserving and promotingmutual love, when sin thus abounded. They spake one to another,in the language of those that fear the Lord, and think on hisname. As evil communications corrupt good minds and manners, sogood communications confirm them. A book of remembrance waswritten before God. He will take care that his children perishnot with those that believe not. They shall be vessels of mercyand honour, when the rest are made vessels of wrath anddishonour. The saints are God's jewels; they are dear to him. Hewill preserve them as his jewels, when the earth is burned uplike dross. Those who now own God for theirs, he will then ownfor his. It is our duty to serve God with the disposition ofchildren; and he will not have his children trained up inidleness; they must do him service from a principle of love.Even God's children stand in need of sparing mercy. All arerighteous or wicked, such as serve God, or such as serve himnot: all are going to heaven or to hell. We are often deceivedin our opinions concerning both the one and the other; but atthe bar of Christ, every man's character will be known. As toourselves, we have need to think among which we shall have ourlot; and, as to others, we must judge nothing before the time.But in the end all the world will confess that those alone werewise and happy, who served the Lord and trusted in Him.
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