Written by William Nicholson, 1862
This will be the first of third sessions of ten thoughts we have that are great insight if we will list and follow his advice.
“He will be like a refiner’s fire! He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver!” Malachi 3:2-3
“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 launderers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the LORD an offering in righteousness. Malachi 3:2-3 NKJV
In the context, Malachi predicts the coming of the Messiah, which, to the pious Jews, was an object of great desire. But, at that time, the majority of the Jews were wicked, or formalists and hypocrites. To them the prophet intimates that Messiah’s appearance would involve a test or trial which very few would be able to stand. “But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears?” Verse 2. Who shall stand the test of his doctrines, the trying dispensation which shall attend the setting-up of his kingdom? No hypocrite can endure his doctrines, or stand before his tribunal.
The bestowal of his grace, the allotments of his providence – are designed to promote purity, and to this the carnal mind is opposed. Persecutions, for Christ’s sake, test men.
1. A Refiner must be distinguished by ability and skill suitable to his calling.
Jesus Christ possesses pre-eminent qualifications for refining and purifying a people unto Himself. His knowledge, wisdom, skill, and searching penetration – are infinite. He understands the nature of the materials he has to purify – what degrees of refining heat they require to render them pure. He has himself been subjected to the refining process. He knows how to feel for others. Hence, his sympathy is unbounded. All that he did and suffered is designed to refine. “He gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:14
2. Gold or silver, previous to the refining process, is full of dross. In its natural condition it is mixed with earth and other matter, which must be separated.
Christ delivers his people from this present evil world. He calls them from its condemnation, its practices, its defilement, and from the love of it — to the service of God. Their hearts are full of corruption, full of evil — but he refines them. He purges away their dross, and says of them, “This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise.”
That there is dross in the soul, see Job 25:4; Matthew 15:19.
As gold and silver sometimes become tarnished, by neglect and carelessness — so God’s people become unwatchful, partly lose their zeal, and neglect the means of grace; they accumulate dross, and it is necessary to submit them to the furnace to quicken and refine them.
3. A Refiner has his Furnace, to the heat of which he subjects the precious metals, for the great purpose of purification.
So Christ has his Furnace, his “fiery trial, which is to try them.” 1 Peter 4:12. To purge his people from the dross of sin, as seen sometimes . . .
Part 2 – Tomorrow