The Purifying Work (Malachi 3)
Have you ever asked, “What does Jesus do when He comes to work in our lives?” In the third chapter of Malachi, the ministry of Jesus is described to us. This is news of great joy: the Messiah, the very living God, would come to His temple. This was a promise. But the depths of what that means comes into clear view, and God uses startling terms to describe His Son.
"who can stand…?” – He will come suddenly in our lives, and He will do glorious things. But let's accept it now: He is going to refine His people like silver, and nothing of "us," our power, our impressiveness, our righteousness (also known as “filthy rags”), is going to stand. He will pick all of it apart. When Jesus comes to inhabit your life, you will not be able to hold onto anything other than Him. He will break you down and build you back up His way, if you’re holding onto Him. But if your grip is on something else, He is faithful to help you see it, so that you can repent. And you will gleam beautifully in His eyes, if you let Him continually remove every impurity from you.
“He is like a refiner’s fire” – It takes fire for silver to be refined. In our own lives, it is no different; for our impurities to go, we need fire! But notice that He is the fire! We must let relationship to Him consume our lives. Let Jesus take over every ounce of territory in your heart, every aspect of your life. Let His instruction reign in you and burn up your own way of thinking. He will transform it all. He will challenge us, check us, humble, transform, and encourage us, and no one is exempt. Don’t reject His voice if, when you want comfort, He brings a challenge. If we long for a hammock, but He sends a hardship, He is still our Lord. Remind your soul that all He does and says is good. If the rebuke or the trial is necessary to produce the silver, we must say, “Thy will be done!”
“and like fuller’s soap” – This type of soap is applied by pounding and beating the cloth that is being cleansed! The fuller would usually either use their feet or a club to repeatedly strike or stamp the cloth in order to drive the soap into it. This was the only way to get the impurities out. Are we ready for this cleansing work of God? His Word and His conviction will pound at our souls, but this will drive out the stains. His calling and His presence will stamp our pride down, but then we can be useful servants in the hands of our loving Master. As we submit, He cleanses us. As we come into the light and cast ourselves into God’s hands, He refines us, “for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29).
The Rock Church
(Credit to Sarah Mack for some of these reflections)