Sunday, August 21, 2011

August 21, 2011 | John Bayles | The Fourth Dispute: The Weariness of Injustice (Malachi 2:17-3:6)

Weariness can be an erosive force. It's power is in delay. As the Proverbs state: "Hope deferred makes the heart sick." Waiting for the full restoration of their nation, the people had lost touch with the God who formed them, built them, disciplined and deported them, and finally re-formed them. Sadly, after only a short period of time they had lost touch with their God and lost hope in their historic identity. In this malaise, Israel established their own system of morality and from it their own brand of justice.

Our text today opens with three assertions by the nation:

1) Good and evil are what we say they are.
2) God approves of our conclusions because...
3) He has left our presence and is not coming back.

In his covenant enforcement, Malachi presses the people to repentance by announcing to them that a new day was coming and with it a new person, the messiah, to bring the return of God's standards of justice. For those who would respond, He would wash them with His cleansing soap; for those who resist, He would come with the judgment of the refiners fire. None would escape His discipline or wrath. The passage is not vague – Malachi outlines specific sins found to be contemptible in God's eyes and an abomination of His loving justice. The very reading of the text brings about a sense of dread and accountability.

The case is made that we are saved by grace alone, but not by a grace that is alone. Jesus will one day say, "Enter my rest, good and faithful servant." Will He say this to ones who have not been good and faithful? Will we hide behind a view that grace is exclusively directed at what we once were, or will we humble our hearts, confess our sins afresh, and be moved by a grace that forgives and sets us apart to be a holy and righteous people? Please listen and weigh-in with your reactions and insights as to how and why this most precious grace has been twisted into an unjust and unholy shape in our day as well.

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August 21, 2011 | John Bayles | The Fourth Dispute: The Weariness of Injustice (Malachi 2:17-3:6)

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