Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Malachi 3:2

Malachi 3:2,3, " ... For He is like a refiner's fire and like launderer's soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify (all who are made priests unto God in righteousness) and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness."

"The purifier sits before the crucible, fixing his eye on the metal, and taking care that the fire be not too hot, and keeping the metal in, only until he knows the dross to be completely removed by his seeing his own image reflected (Ro 8:29) in the glowing mass. He will sit down to the work, not perfunctorily, but with patient love and unflinching justice. When the dross is taken from the gold of the Christian, he will be for ever delivered from the furnace of trial. The purer the gold, the hotter the fire now; the whiter the garment, the harder the washing [Moore]."

A two-fold process - fire to burn off the dross and alkali to whiten - fire will burn the dross of iniquity and soap will wash out the stain of sin.

Zechariah 13:9, "And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, 'They are My people,' And they will say, 'The LORD is my God.'"

"Salvation is a slow journey though the purifying love of God. Sin is "forgiven" when we embrace the harsh consequences of sin and move through the painful fire. Salvation isn't a simple "forgiveness," avoiding God's consequences for sin. Salvation, in short, is about character formation. And this formation must, absolutely must, involve removing sin from our hearts and minds. God wants us to be clean. Not pseudo-clean, not bait and switch clean, not imputed righteousness clean, not "God sees Jesus and not me" clean, but really, truly clean. You and I, finally, coming into the love of God and becoming the people we were created to be. And you have to go through the purifying fires of hell to get there. God wants to save us from sin. Not the consequences of sin."

This is not about our destruction, it is about our purification; it is not about dieing, it is about being resurrected in Christ; it is not about guilt and contrition, it is about forgiveness and cleansing; it is not about passive acceptance of a propitiary sacrifice, it is about living (surviving) the purifying baptismal work of the Holy Spirit of the Living God.
We have this wonderful Churchinese language which seeks to articulate the Christian experience, words like justification, sanctification, righteousness, propitiation and numerous others, and I will not refute thier importance in the conversation of spiritual life in Christ, I will say that what must be truly communicated in our 'language' is the reality of a God Who is an all-consuming fire; Who seeks those: "... who will humble themselves under the mighty hand of God,"; who will face the "... grevious trials of faith, that the genuineness of faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it be tested by fire, may be found to praise, honour and the glory ..." of God; who follow God's counsel and "... buy gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed..."; those who "Hear ... (that) thy soul shall live;..."

We cannot manufacture holiness, we are absolutely powerless in the face of our own devastating sin to rise above Hell and stand before God. And yet...

Job 23:10, "... He knows the way I take, when He has tried me I shall come forth as gold."

He calls us into life, beyond the physical, beyond what we feel, to a life in which we feel our heart as God sees it. "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
2 Corinthians 4:7, "We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us."

What possesses our hearts, by whom is our heart possessed? 
Only purging and cleansing of the heart can bring about holiness and purity and as with gold and silver only the smelting pot will suffice.
Who really holds the heart of a man? Is it the one who has it locked away, safeguarding it from tampering and danger? Or is it the One who has touched it, felt its rythym, rejoiced in its ecstasies, cryed in its pain, suffered in its trials?
Which one has the greater investment the heart's health and well-being?
There is One who has prepared a way for its life, for only life can possess life.

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