What Is the Distinction Between Those Who Serve God and Those Who Do Not?

We should be presenting the gospel to the world as we wait for Christ to return. We are assured that it will be worth it all as we are looking for that blessed hope of our Savior appearing.

Contributing Writer
Published Jul 26, 2022
What Is the Distinction Between Those Who Serve God and Those Who Do Not?

The last of the prophets of the Old Testament was Malachi. He preaches to the priests and to the people, reminding them of their sins and transgressions, calling them to repentance and the coming of the Messiah. Soon, all prophecies would cease for roughly 400 years.

In Malachi 1:1-2:9, we read of the sinful priests, God’s love for his people, God rejecting the imperfect sacrifice, and God warning his priests.

In Malachi 2:10-3:15, we read of the sinful people, the treachery in Jerusalem, the coming of the Lord, and how God’s people rob him.

The last few verses of Malachi are to the faithful few, and we learn of the great judgment day of the Lord.

Amidst the wickedness that prevailed throughout the land, there are yet a few people that had remained faithful to God. And as such, God would pour out blessings upon them.

What Does it Really Mean to Fear the Lord?

Here we have the faithful few who stay devoted to the Lord, that feared and loved him, and showed respect and honor to God. And I also think that this involved them having church meetings.

The part about “a book of remembrance was written” (Malachi 3:16), I believe, is referring to the Book of Life (Psalms 69:28; Isaiah 4:2-3; Daniel 12:1; Luke 10:20; Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 20:12; Revelation 21:27).

God’s people are his “jewels.” A jewel is made from material of the ground, formed under pressure and heat. So, think of a pearl inside an oyster. It starts off as a grain of sand, which over time and pressure, becomes a pearl.

Other precious gems from the ground must be put under pressure. The rough edges are hewn and cut away, then polished so that the beautiful jewel shines through. True believers will go through many trials and tribulations.

The Holy Jeweler will use these circumstances to transform the hardness of our lives into gleaming gems. What tool will God need to use on us to make us “jewels,” a jeweler’s hammer, a sledgehammer, or a jackhammer? (Nehemiah 13:22; 1 Peter 1:13-16).

How do we discern the righteous from the wicked, a believer from a non-believer? We will know the difference between the two types of fruit that are shown and on display (Psalm 58:10-11; Amos 5:15; Matthew 7:16; Galatians 5:22-26). People cannot call themselves righteous and good if they are out living in sin (Matthew 6:24).

On the day of judgment, God's anger toward those who did not respond to his grace will be like the radiating heat that comes from an oven (4:1), and the wicked shall be consumed (Revelation 6:8).

Be that as it may, he will resemble the mending warmth of the sun to the people who love and submit to him.

John the Baptist forecasted that with the approaching of Jesus, the sunrise was going to break with light for those in transgression's obscurity (Luke 1:76-79).

In Isaiah 60:20 and Revelation 21:23-24, we discover that no light will be required in God's blessed city since God himself will be the light (2 Samuel 23:4; Isaiah 30:26).

In the Old Testament, the Sun of Righteousness, and in the New Testament, the Bright and Morning Star are the same person (Revelation 22:16).

The “healing in his wings” tells us that there will be no more physical ailments for those who believe in him and are his chosen people.

The lame will leap, the mute will speak, health will be restored, and all wounds will be healed because God will have cured all diseases (Isaiah 35:6; Jeremiah 30:17; Jeremiah 33:6).

These last stanzas of the Old Testament are loaded up with hope and trust. Notwithstanding the way that life looks now, God controls the future, and all will be made right. We who have cherished and served God anticipate a celebration full of joy.

Do We Truly Follow God in Our Daily Lives?

This expectation for what is to come is our own when we begin to entrust God with our lives. Where will we spend eternity, heaven or hell? (Isaiah 5:24; Isaiah 9:18-19; Matthew 3:12).

The laws given to Moses on Mount Horeb (Sinai) were the basis of Israel’s ethical, civil, and ceremonial life (Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 4:5-6). 

Now we see the foretelling of the coming of Elijah before the coming of the Lord. He was probably one of the best prophets who had lived during the Old Testament (1 Kings 17-2 Kings 2). With Malachi's passing, the voice of God's prophets would be quiet for quite a long time.

Then, later on, a prophet would come, similar to Elijah, to proclaim the coming of Christ (Matthew 17:10-13; Luke 1:17). This prophet was John the Baptist. His speaking prepared individuals’ hearts for Jesus by asking them to atone for their transgressions.

This would bring solidarity and harmony, yet additionally judgment onto the individuals who would not abandon their transgressions (Matthew 11:14; Mark 9:11-13).

Malachi gives us encouragement in our desire to glorify the Lord. God merits the best that we bring to the table (Malachi 1:7-10). We should strive to change our fallen approaches to everyday life (Malachi 2:1-2).

We ought to focus on family (Malachi 2:13-16). We ought to invite God's refining cycle into our lives (Malachi 3:3). We ought to give tithes (Malachi 3:8-12). There is no space for pride in our lives (Malachi 3:13-15).

Malachi finishes his message by highlighting that incredible last Day of Judgment. For the individuals who are centered on God, it will be a day of satisfaction since it will introduce time everlasting in God's presence.

The individuals who have overlooked God will “be stubble,” that will be consumed by fire (4:1). To assist the people with getting ready for that day, God would send a prophet like Elijah (John the Baptist) who would set up the way for Jesus, the Messiah.

The New Testament starts with this prophet compelling the people to abandon their wrongdoings and to move in the direction of God.

Such dedication to God requires extraordinary penance on our part; however, we should rest assured that everything will eventually all work out (Isaiah 24:6; Matthew 11:21; Revelation 19:15).

Who Are Faithful Christians in Everyday Life?

The faithful are:

  • Christians who were once lost but now are found.
  • Christians who are saved through the love of the Son, Jesus Christ.
  • Christians that have no perfection within; Christians that have Christ in them.
  • Christians that will not back down; Christians that will stand their ground.
  • Christians that will see Jesus’ face; Christians who are saved through God’s marvelous grace.

Why Does This Matter?

We should be presenting the gospel to the world as we wait for Christ to return (Mark 16:15). We are assured that it will be worth it all as we are looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearance of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13).

For further reading:

What Is the Fear of the Lord?

How to Know the Marks of a True Christian

What Are the Marks of a True Believer?

What Are Trials and Tribulations? Bible Verses and Meaning Today

What Is the Refiner’s Fire in Christianity?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/studio-fi

Chris SwansonChris Swanson answered the call into the ministry over 20 years ago. He has served as a Sunday School teacher, a youth director along with his wife, a music director, an associate pastor, and an interim pastor. He is a retired Navy Chief Hospital Corpsman with over 30 years of combined active and reserve service. You can contact Chris here, and check out his work here.

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