Malachi 1:6-8 ESV
“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the Lord’s table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts.”
As true followers of Jesus Christ we are all kingdom priests. Now we can go directly into the presence of Almighty God because Jesus made the way for us to be made right with God. So, through faith in him we have access to the Father.
And, the sacrifice our Lord requires on his altar now is not the blood of animals, but it is our lives given over to him in surrender to his will and to his ways, no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world. And, that is because Jesus Christ was our final sacrifice for the sins of the world. He paid the price for our sins, so we can be delivered from our slavery to sin, and so we can live in his righteousness (Rom. 12:1-2; Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
Yet, many people profess faith in Jesus Christ, although they never did give their lives over to God. They never did truly repent of their sins, turn to God, and then walk in obedience to his commands. So, they think they are making sacrifices to God by things that they do, but truly it is not God’s altar on which they are making those sacrifices, but it is an altar to a false god.
For, they are still self-indulgent and foolish, void of the Holy Spirit of God, and fruitless with regard to the kingdom of heaven. They are still living sexually immoral lives, lying about it, cheating on their spouses, and they are perverse and corrupt. And, their pride keeps them there, too.
Their false god, though, is their own bellies – their own sensual appetites for the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. So, instead of being clothed in Christ and in his righteousness, which is what they claim, truly they are clothed in wickedness, debauchery, immorality and self-indulgence. And, this is reflected in their character, attitudes and actions.
Instead of God/Jesus being in control over their lives, they are the ones still in control, and they are holding on to that control, too, determined to not let go and to let God have control over their lives. And, if anything gets changed in their lives, it is them trying to do it on their own, and it is not a result of them yielding control of their lives over to the Lord.
For, they would have to give up what is deeply ingrained within them, what has been their focal point in their lives. And, that is unnerving for some people who have always maintained control over their own lives, and over their own thinking and beliefs and behaviors. My dad was one of those. And, he was also a hypocrite, professing one thing while he lived the opposite.
They Know the Truth
Yet, they know the truth. They know the way of righteousness. Many of them have been in attendance of the gatherings of the church since infanthood, or from early on in their childhoods. Even some of them have taught the Scriptures, or have been pastors of churches who have lived a double life so that they could hold on to their addictions.
So, it isn’t that they don’t know the way of righteousness, or that they don’t know what to do to be right with God and to walk in holiness and righteousness. It is just that their god is their belly and they won’t yield to any other god, even if they profess to believe in the one true God.
And, they may even admit, from time to time, their failings, and even confess that they know they are not where they ought to be. And, they may even confess that they know the way of righteousness, and they know the way out from underneath their addiction, and yet they will continue in their addiction with their god being their belly, because they won’t give their lives completely over to the Lord, and so they continue to struggle in the flesh.
So, the Lord does not accept their sacrifices to him, i.e. the things they are willing to give up, supposedly for God, because they are the ones still on the throne of their own lives, and truly the god that they worship is their own sensual appetites and not the God of the Bible.
Malachi 1:9-10 ESV
“And now entreat the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favor to any of you? says the Lord of hosts. Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand.”
So, what is the counsel here? It is that anyone in that situation, who is still holding on to control of his own life, and who will not let go so that God can be Lord of his (or her) life, to call on God in truth, in repentance, and in obedience to God, for this is a true entreaty for the grace of God to be shown to our lives (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24).
But, this is not works-based salvation. This is not trying to earn one’s salvation. It is the heart response of one who has genuine believing faith in Jesus Christ. For, our faith in Jesus isn’t a religion or lip service, but it is a surrendering of our lives to Jesus Christ to be Lord (owner-master) of our lives. And, it is, by the Spirit, dying with HIM to sin and that we might live with HIM to his righteousness (Lu. 9:23-26; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
Yet, so many people will not yield to God. They will not die with him to sin. They will not walk in obedience to his commands, either, for they don’t want to let go of control over their lives and yield control to another. And, this describes a large majority of those claiming faith in Jesus Christ today, at least here in America. And, this is being reinforced in many of these institutional churches, too, which are truly businesses of men, marketed to the world and human flesh.
And, literally, God has shut the doors to these businesses of men falsely called “church” where they are teaching this diluted gospel which requires no submission to Christ as Lord, no turning away from their sinful lifestyles, and no obedience to God’s commands, but which coddles people in their sins.
And, that is because God is working to move people’s hearts away from these institutions of men back to the cross of Christ, and to making Jesus truly Lord of their lives. And, he is working to move his church back to being his body, with him as their head, operating like the Scriptures teach we should operate as the body of Christ (Rom. 12; 1 Co. 12-14; Eph. 4).
For, God does not approve of these businesses of men falsely called “church”, so many of which are leading people away from pure devotion to Christ to following after the flesh and the idols of men.
Malachi 1:11-14 ESV
“For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.”
Bottom line? God is going to rule supreme! He does rule supreme! He is going to show himself for who he is through judgment, which I believe is what is happening right now. And, he is going to turn many hearts to him or back to him in true repentance, submission, and obedience, which are the elements of true abiding faith in Jesus Christ. So, His name will be praised!
High Above the Seraphim
Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16
High above the seraphim
Sounds an everlasting hymn;
Voices echo thro’ the hall
And shake the temple wall.
Living creatures bless the King,
Four and twenty elders sing,
“Worthy, He who overcame;”
“The Word of God” His name.
Praise the Seed of Abraham!
All dominion to the Lamb!
Sing of Him, in glory slain,
“Lord God Almighty reigns!”
Shout the God-breathed prophecy;
“He who was will ever be!”
“Kings of earth have passed away!”
The Son is Lord this day!
Night to night I come to Him,
Kneel before His diadem;
While a thousand thousand sing,
I fall before the King.
Soon will He be changing me,
Clothed in immortality,
Swallowed up in victory,
And evermore to be.
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