All of Christ for All of Life
Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Christ Alone

14 September 2020 – Malachi 2:17-3:5

You have wearied the LORD with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”

“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.

“Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts. Malachi 2:17-3:5 (ESV)

Allen P. Ross writes:

The prophet Malachi had to deal with a different kind of situation now because people were wondering why God was not doing something to correct the sins and the corruption in the land. The only answer that they could come up with was that God was not just, that he was unwilling to judge sin. The prophet came down hard on this kind of shallow thinking; he made it very clear that if they really wanted the justice of God to be meted out, no one would stan! The individual who understands doctrine will always desire grace over divine justice. And we who live in the New Testament age understand this very well: what the justice of God demanded for our sins; the grace of God provided in the death of Christ on our behalf. And for those who are in Christ by faith, there I no condemnation.

In this prophetic message, the promise of justice (or judgment) is tied to the coming of the Messiah. And so here we get into Malachi’s eschatology (the study of last things). In anticipation of the material in this chapter we need to be reminded of a couple of things. Most informed Christians know that the word “Messiah” means “anointed one,” that is, the anointed king who is to come. The word was translated into Greek as “the Christ.” Every king who came to the throne of David was anointed and so a messiah, but as time passed the prophets began to write of the great coming King, the Messiah. And his kingdom, or the age that he would usher in, is called the Messianic Age. This hope was the desire of the nation, as Malachi 3:1 says.

But that golden age to come would begin with judgment on the world, for the Messiah would come and judge the wicked before establishing universal righteousness and peace. They knew the facts about the Messiah, but they did not have the time sequence of the event of the Messiah. They did not know that there was going to be a Second Coming of the Messiah, it appeared that there would be only one. When they spoke about the coming of eh Messiah, they could not quite understand how he could be born into the family of David as the heir of the throne and also come in the clouds with power and glory. But Scripture said he would do both.

MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 41
Q. 41. Where is the moral law summarily comprehended?
A. The moral law is summarily comprehended in the ten commandments.