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Journey to Bethlehem, Our Christmas Devotional Day 8 Malachi 3:1-5

Sunday, December 9

Malachi 3:1-5

1 “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.

Everybody loves the baby Jesus. What a peaceful image we have of him… in a manger, surrounded by Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and the animals. But that was then. The next time we see Jesus, he will be coming in gory to judge the living and the dead.

Judgement. We are of two minds on this. We want the Hitlers of this world to be held accountable for their crimes. But cruel monsters aren’t the only people who will be judged. So, too, will everyone. We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). 

That will be a scary time. Every thought, every word, every deed, everything left undone… in other words our entire inner and outer life will be openly examined. Secrets that we thought were forever buried will be exposed. Our final exam will be all inclusive. And, it won’t be pretty.

If we are honest, we know that. After all, how often do we fall short of our own standards? God’s standards are higher. Thus, our rap sheet will be extensive. It is hard to admit… but our lives condemn us. That’s bad news. 

Here’s good news. Our judge is our advocate. “If anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins…” (1 John 2:1-2) The word “propitiation” means that Jesus received the righteous wrath of God in our place. 

So, Jesus, before whom we must make an account of our lives, has already served the penalty for our failures, shortcomings and rebellion. The blood of Jesus makes us clean from all sin. And if Jesus has made us clean, we are clean indeed. 

We will have all eternity to thank and praise him for it.

Blessed are you Lord Jesus, our judge and our savior. Amen.