He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years. “Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts. “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts.
The Lord Jesus when he came, and John the Baptist too, called the Jews to repentance. They were very harsh with the religious authorities for as the religious leaders go so do the people. And we see in the Gospel accounts many do flee the coming wrath of God to be baptized by John and then later by Jesus’ apostles.
And now Jesus still calls his people to purify their hearts with the good news so they, as royal priests, may offer up spiritual sacrifices to the Lord our God. His priests now are not called to offer up bulls and goats and other animal sacrifices, Jesus has fulfilled them with his own precious death on the cross, but rather 1Pe 2:9 “that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” And again, Heb 13:15-16 “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. (16) Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
In Jesus’ first advent he did not come to judge but save, that is to say, he did not come to execute the final judgment, for it is obvious Jesus judges immoral behavior as such and calls all men to repentance. But at Jesus’ second advent he will indeed judge the nations beginning with the Church. How do you measure up? Have you been living immorally? Have you been merciful to those who needed mercy? Did you treat people fairly and impartially?
The Lord doesn’t change and that has two consequences. One is that his judgment against immorality doesn’t change. His standards are still the same. Secondly, he will have mercy on his people. Because of that the Israelites and the Jews were not totally consumed because of their rebellion against the Lord Jesus Christ. He has preserved a remnant for himself who would repent and believe him that he may be faithful to his servant Abraham.
And so it is now, the Lord Jesus Christ calls to his people, the Jews and the Israelites, and now even the Gentiles, to return to him as he is YHWH, their Lord. He offers all people a free and true salvation based on his sacrifice on the cross. The Holy Spirit through this gospel turns our hearts to Jesus and returns to us with mercy and grace.
O Holy Spirit, turn our hearts by the good news of Jesus Christ to our Lord that we may see how he as returned to us with grace and mercy. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.