Malachi 3:1-3 KJV
This being the last chapter in the Old Testament indicates that Malachi is pointing toward the future. The fulfillment of Verse One takes place 400 years later. The first messenger mentioned is John the Baptist, the one who prepared the way of the Second Messenger mentioned, the Messenger of the Covenant, Jesus Christ. Mankind had been waiting for the Lamb of God since that grim day in the Garden of Eden when sin entered the world. Suddenly He came to Earth in the form of man. All the Old Testament prophecies had suddenly come true after hundreds of years.
Luke 2:21-35 speaks of Simeon, a righteous man who served in the temple. The Holy Ghost had revealed to him that he would not die until he would see the One that was promised to be the ultimate sacrifice for sin. After years of waiting, finally one day ,Joseph and Mary had brought a baby into the temple and Simeon knew this was the One. He held the promised One in his arms, thanked the Heavenly Father for Him and said, “Lord, I can now leave this world in peace according to Thy Word, for I have now seen Your Salvation.” Malachi 3:2 then asks the question, “Who can abide and endure, in the day of His coming? Who can stand when He appears?”
It would seem that when Jesus, the Saviour of the world, came and gave His life for us that all would accept Him. Would that not be common sense that everyone would receive Him as Lord and be saved from the curse of sin? Yet we know from history recorded in the New Testament Gospels and the writings of Paul, that not everyone received Christ as Lord. It is sobering to think that from the moment Jesus came to Earth until the present day, there have been more that have rejected Him than accepted Him. How can that be?!
There can be many answers to that question, but simply put, there is still a three-fold battle for the spirit and soul of man. We still battle our flesh, our selfish carnal nature. We still battle the earthly concepts of the world that is godless and sensual. And we still battle the prince of the power of the air. The ruler of darkness, satan himself, is the innate power behind the choices of man to reject Christ.
1st Thessalonians 4:13-18 explains that those who have died knowing Christ as their Saviour will experience a resurrection. Those who are still alive when Jesus comes will also experience a resurrection at that same moment. In the twinkling of an eye we will be caught up together, receive our new bodies and meet the Lord in the air. It is at that moment for us that death will finally be defeated. Until that moment takes place , while we are living, we have a choice to receive or reject Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. Malachi is asking , until that day takes place, who can abide and stand? He quickly answers the question. “For Jesus is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers soap. And He shall sit as a Refiner and Purifier of silver.”
The natural refining process is very simple. The ore is mined from the Earth. Fire is then used to heat the ore and the material in the ore that is not pure silver rises to the top. The impurities or the dross is then removed and the pure silver remains. This process happens spiritually in every believer. It is not just a one-time event when we are born again, but the refining process is continual.
It is through this process that we abide and stand. It is not an easy process. The selfish fleshly part of man despises it. But the spirit of man, the pure silver, comes forth from the inward part of man and is pleasing to God. At the initial point of salvation, the dross of sin is immediately removed and we are a new creation in Christ. But because we are still in this world and still in the flesh, the refining process continues. This is why Malachi said Jesus sits as a refiner. It does not mean that Jesus sits uncaringly and enjoys watching his children go through the fire. The word “sit” simply indicates that it is a continual process. He sits at the right hand of the Father indicating that He is in authority. He sits as the refiner indicating that He allows Holy Spirit to perform His sanctifying work in us. If that refining process was not continual, then we would return to the original state of the ore with impurities within us. Just as it is a choice to experience the initial refining when we are born again and sin is removed, there is a choice we make daily to experience a continual refining in our lives so sin “would no longer have dominion over us” (Romans 6:14).
As believers, we must understand that the continual choice to be refined by the Refiner is our choice and no one else’s. It is a daily decision. Paul said, “I die daily” to flesh. He was saying, “I choose to be refined by Christ every day so I will be a pure vessel unto Him.”
There is a word that Holy Spirit is continually speaking to me and to those who attend Rhema House of Worship. That word is surrender. We are continually hearing it because it is the first step in entering the Kingdom of God, and it is the daily step in remaining in the Kingdom of God. The surrender is unto Christ initially at the point of salvation and daily during our life. The surrender is unto Holy Spirit Who is the Agent that processes the refining in our lives daily.
2nd Thessalonians 2:13 is very clear that Holy Spirit is our Cleansing Agent here on Earth. Paul is speaking these words to the believers at Thessalonica, “We are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of this truth.”
I will first address the end of that Scripture and proclaim we are on a quest for truth. We cannot believe truth unless we know truth. Jesus Christ is Truth. Our foundation of truth is no different than it was in the initial birth of the Church; Jesus Christ, His life, His death on the cross, and His resurrection. And I might add His return. All truth is rooted and grounded in Christ and the simple message. The refining process that is taking place in believers today is bringing us back to pure faith in pure truth. And Holy Spirit is performing that refining process within those choosing to surrender to Christ.
The Scripture above clearly says Holy Spirit sanctifies us. We might say Holy Spirit is the Sancti-Fire. Confirmation of that can be found even before Jesus entered into His years of ministry when John the Baptist was about to baptize Jesus in water. “I indeed do baptize you with water unto repentance but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear. He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.” Then John the Baptist leaves no question about the Holy Spirit’s work. “Jesus will separate the chaff from the wheat with His winnowing fork. Then He will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into His barn but burning the chaff with never ending fire.” This is not only a picture of the judgment upon non-believers in the last day, but this is a truth of the continual refining process in the life of a believer daily.
Remember that Malachi said the cleansing process can be like a fullers soap as well (Malachi 3:2). Every believer can use a good Holy Ghost scrubbing every day. We live in a contaminated world. Even if we do not feel that we have sinned at the end of the day, we can still use a good Holy Ghost shower.
Titus 3:5 says, “It is not by our own works of righteousness or anything that we have done that causes us to be saved, but it is by God’s mercy. We experience that salvation daily by the cleansing bath of the new birth and by the daily renewing of the Holy Ghost.” There is nothing better than to know we are clean, forgiven of sin, washed in the blood of Jesus, and a child of God. Sure sometimes the scrubbing process is painful as Holy Spirit scours the dirt and sand out of our scrapes, but it is the way that we experience true healing. Surrender daily to Holy Spirit and allow Him to wash you clean.
It is actually a sign of spiritual maturity when we submit to the cleansing of the Lord. When my grandson was a baby he did not like it much when during his bath we would scrub deeply into his ears to be sure they were clean. He would make faces , squirm to get away from the wash cloth and even fake a little cry. Now that he is a bit older I have noticed that it doesn’t seem to bother him as much and he just keeps playing with his bathtub toys and enjoying the water. As believers it would be wise that we submit to a good scrubbing of the ears so we can be sure we are hearing clearly the voice of the Lord. Those who ward off the cleansing will not hear the voice of the Lord clearly and it will lead to spiritual ear infection.
Ephesians 5:26, 27 states that “Jesus sanctifies and cleanses the Church, the believers, with the washing of water by the Word so that He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish.” How wonderful are those words! We are made clean through the blood of Jesus, and He keeps us clean through His Word and by the sanctifying power of Holy Spirit. Jesus did not come and save us that we would remain in our sins. He has saved us from our sins.
So the result of refining is that we are cleansed individually. Look at the result found at the end of Malachi 3:3 and the entirety of Verse 4. “They will offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness and the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasant unto the Lord as in the days of old, as in the former years.” The refining and cleansing causes us to be pure worshipers of the Lord, not only in song, but with our lives.
Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service (worship). Be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is good, acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Refining. Cleansing. Purging. Pruning. Sifting. Shaking. All necessary experiences in the life of a believer that we would live our lives as a pure worship to God. It is a sign of spiritual maturity to allow Holy Spirit to be the Sancti-Fire. Let us surrender to Holy Spirit that we would abide in Christ and stand in the faith together.