“God is like a refiner’s fire and launderer’s soap . . as a refiner and purifier.” Malachi 3:2 NKJV
“Sin devalues the soul and diminishes your God-given design and potential.”
My thoughts and comments today are about “refining and purifying.”
The simple reality is that none of us is all we should and could be, apart from the grace and mercies of God. You know the drill – words you wish you had left unsaid, behavior you regret, grudges too long unforgiven, relationships strained and unrestored, and obedience to God delayed. God loves you the way you are, but also loves you too much to leave you the way as you were. The good news is that God loves you too much to leave you less than you could be.
The prophet, Malachi, encourages Israel with this understanding of their God, and ours, “For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier . . that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness.” Malachi 3:2-3 NKJV. What a faithful, loving God. And His purpose is not merely to expose your sin, but to separate it from you that you may be “to the Lord an offering of righteousness.”
The process of refining removes impurities that diminish value and reduce usefulness. We are all a sad mixture of motives and behaviors. What a wondrous picture of the gracious work of the Holy Spirit in hearts and lives. Listen to Jesus’ words about the Spirit’s work, “When the Comforter comes, He will reprove/convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.” John 16:8 NIV. Sin devalues the soul and diminishes your God-given design and potential. “And I will . . refine them like silver and test them like gold. 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 our God.’” Zechariah 13:9 NIV.
The process of laundering cleanses what has defiled and restores original condition. “Therefore, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1 NKJV. Maybe you could accomplish that to some extent as regards external things, such as outward practices of conversation or conduct; but can you successfully cleanse internal things, tendencies and vulnerabilities resident within your spirit? Read Psalm 51:1-12 NIV.
“Christ loved the Church. He gave up His life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by baptism and God’s Word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious Church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, the Church will be holy and without fault.” Ephesians 5:25-27 NLT. Nothing and no one else promises new life like Jesus does. How does God accomplish this cleansing of body, soul, and spirit? “The blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.” Read 1 John 1:7-9 NKJV.
People too easily confuse condemnation and conviction. Neither condemnation nor conviction feels good when happening, but they are not at all alike. Condemnation comes from your Adversary and yourself, pushing you away from the only One who can help you and leaving you feeling all the more guilty and unworthy. Conviction comes from the Holy Spirit within you as He draws you back toward God, with assurance of salvation and provides your only means for cleansing the soul and restoring unhindered fellowship. Read Romans 8:1-4 NKJV.
My prayer for you today is that you trust God’s purpose and process to refine and purify your heart.