Mal. 3:2-4 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 fullers’ soap. 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.
I first really began to think of this verse one Christmas after seeing a production of Handel’s Messiah. I kept thinking of the power of Christ’s first appearing and the unimaginable Second Coming. Who can abide the day of His coming ?! As you read this verse you think of the beautiful comparison of the work of a refiner and the work of a fuller (clothes washer). The fuller scrubs the stains from the garment with something like lye, he makes it spotless and clean. The refiner passes the gold through the fire for purification of the metal. This pictures the work of Christ in us. He washes us from our guilty stains with His blood. Then the work of the refiner begins. We have become like precious gold by the washing of His blood, now He begins to pass us through His fire to remove the impurities, all that remains of us begins to be consumed by fire. Matthew Henry has some powerful comments on this passage.
“Christ is the great refiner. Who are they that he will purify?—the sons of Levi, all those that are devoted to his praise and employed in his service, as the tribe of Levi was, and whom he designs to make unto our God spiritual priests, a holy priesthood. All true Christians are sons of Levi, set apart for God, to do the service of his sanctuary… How he will purify them? He will purge them as gold and silver, that is, he will sanctify them inwardly; he will not only wash away the spots they have contracted from without, but will take away the dross that is found in them; he will separate from them their indwelling corruptions, which rendered their faculties worthless and useless, and so make them like gold refined, both valuable and serviceable. He will purge them with fire, as gold and silver are purged, for he baptizes with the Holy Ghost and with fire… That they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness,”
Now that the Fuller and the Refiner has done His work on us, we are ready to offer our spiritual sacrifices back to Him. We are His priests, let’s bring Him a sacrifice of praise.