Looking at life from the perspective of 40, 50 or even more years, it is possible to be completely mistaken about the importance of believing God and serving Him.
Today’s reading: Malachi 1-4; Revelation 22
18 Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him. Malachi 3:18
14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. Revelation 22:14-15
One of the advantages of a careful reading of the Bible is the reader gains God’s viewpoint on human history and destiny. Although Malachi wrote around 500 years before John penned his Revelation, these writings converge in a harmonious and glorious view of the final end of all things.
Malachi, like all the prophets, sees clearly the inward and outward sins of the people he addressed. He goes into detail about their idolatry, their failures in marriage, and their stealing God’s money. The Jews were presumptuous before God, thinking that either their status as descendants of Abraham exempted them from obedience or that the Holy One of Israel was unconcerned about righteousness in His people.
The prophet warns them that the day of the Lord was coming. They would see that there is a distinction between the righteous and the wicked. It does matter how one lives before God.
John points us to Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. Those who are accepted before God are those who recognize their sinfulness but come to have their robes washed in His blood (Revelation 7:14). They do not presume upon God’s mercy but receive the salvation which is offered in the gospel. They have access to the tree of life. They enter the city by the gates. Meanwhile, those who remain in their sins, such as immorality, murder, idolatry, and falsehood, are outside.
It does matter. No one gets away with their sin. All sin will ultimately be punished. For those who do not believe, they will be punished and barred from the city where God dwells with His people. For those who believe in the Lamb, their sin has already been paid for with the atonement of Jesus Christ. He bore our sins so that by His wounds we may be healed (1 Peter:2:24).
Be sure you know that there is a distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. Thank you for walking through the Scriptures with me this year and, if we have not met here, may we meet in glory to worship the Triune God. Our life here matters and it does matter forever.
Happy New Year!
Note: Tomorrow I will begin another year in the Bible using the reading plan from my book, “Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 Days.” You may purchase the book in either kindle or print editions by clicking here.