—Malachi 2:17-3:3 (NASB)
One of the sure signs that our faith in Christ is waxing and waning the wrong way is when we begin to posit the “only” possible explanations for things we do not like. In Malachi’s time the Jews were upset that although they were God’s Chosen People, it was all those about them who were NOT “chosen” who were experiencing the greatest material blessings. How could this possibly be? The only possibility in their estimation was either God “delights” in those who do evil, or that He was an unfair God incapable of implementing the kind of justice which would reverse the situation. The notion that it might possibly have something to do with their own lack of faithfulness was not even a possibility in their mind.
In the face of their incredible accusations, God states that He is going to send the Messiah preceded by His messenger preparing the way for that visitation. But because of the quality of their spiritual state and the fact that they have completely focused on the wrong things, they are not going to be ready for the visitation of John the Baptist and Jesus the Christ. Because they had a narrow view of the Messiah’s coming that focused solely on making them the center of the world and bringing them untold wealth, adherence to their own version of the Faith-Prosperity doctrine would result in a far different work of the Messiah when He comes, one that involves spiritual purification and refinement which are here described as very extreme, unpleasant processes.
I am having difficulty believing that we, as the parallel to that generation who are awaiting the Second Coming, are much different than those leading up to His First Coming. I am not sure why we think there will be no purification and refinement of the church, who is far more guilty of the same crimes and unfaithfulness, than they were. Just as the initial salvation experience involves a frank purging of sin, so are the demands of both His comings.
Why is the church losing nearly every single battle today? Does that sound gloomy? Tell me…is there more or less divorce today than 20 years ago? Are there more or less abortions today than 20 years ago? Is there more or less sexual promiscuity among Christians today than 20 years ago? Is homosexuality more or less accepted in the church today than 20 years ago? Pick any moral issue and apply this test. And yet, like those of Malachi’s day, I so often hear declarations that this is so for any number of reasons EXCEPT the deteriorating quality of personal faithfulness within the church.
It is far more likely that if we sincerely repent and walk exclusively according to His Word and ways that things will turn around for us than having to endure what is inevitably to come in order to separate us into the sheep and the goats and risk ending up on the wrong side.  color=”olive”>†††