Mine. My Treasured Possession

June 24, 2013

Friends,
In Mal. 3:17 we read, “‘They will be Mine,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘My treasured possession, in the day when I act.”

For those whom the Lord calls His treasured possession –what a privileged position! To be called such affectionate names / titles by the Most High is glory for sure. And certainly comfort, security, happiness, and joy. It would seem that all of us would strive to achieve this status. It would seem that all of us would spend our days seeking to learn how best to attain such esteem.

Yet how many people do actually live their daily lives with this honor as their goal? How many people place importance on having God call them His? –His treasured possession? How many people, after years of having claimed to be “be saved”, can reflect back on their lives and know that God has been pleased with them, has delighted in them, and has been in intimate, unhindered relationship with them? And how many people can feel confident that God treasures them, and know, from His Word, why He does?

It would be wise for those who consider themselves belonging to God to consider whether or not they are, at present, a real treasure to God. Because if not, the status of being called “My treasured possession” could hardly be the Lord’s description of them, which would have to mean that truly belonging to God would also have to be seriously questioned.

Most in Christendom would have no fears about claiming that they were secure in the knowledge of being God’s treasured possession. If we ask them why they feel this way, they would answer something about having “accepted Jesus” as their Savior. And they may reason on about how much God loves people.

Let’s look, though, at the immediate context surrounding Mal. 3:17, for what it reveals is what all of God’s Word reveals: That God esteems as His own treasured possession those who…. –who what? The answer is –those who serve Him, obey Him, and revere His name. (3:13-4:4) And that these are they who have been washed, refined, and purified, and who bring Him offerings in righteousness. (3:3,4) We know that under the New Covenant these offerings are those of praise and worship, and Christ-like acts done in obedience, love, and holiness. (John 14:15 // Rom. 6:18,22 & 12:1,2 // Heb. 12:14 & 13:15,16 // 1 Peter 2:9 // Rev. 1:5,6)

God continues in Mal. 3:17: “I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him.” Spared from what? Spared from the fire reserved for every evildoer. (4:1) There it is, as always: “Doer.” Scripture is continually making a distinction about deeds: Deeds done that are evil and disobedient to God, and deeds done that are righteous and obedient to God. Jesus confirms this very clearly in John 5:29 when He says, “Those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” Or when Eph. 5:3-6 and Col. 3:5-10 both inform us that not even a hint of impurity, or sin of any kind, is tolerated by God.

The Lord continues in Mal. 3:18: “And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.” The word “serve” means: to attend to, to obey, to assist, to work for, to be employed by, to help… Do we understand the comparison then? It should be obvious: The righteous are those who are God’s obedient employees (slaves, actually –Rom. 6:22), while the wicked are those who do not work for Him.

It is about being employed –which means work– and engaging in it according to the standards set. Righteousness is about conduct. Wickedness also is about conduct. Therefore, being saved from the fire of God’s wrath is not about claiming to believe and to follow Christ. It is, instead, about what we do. It is about what works, actions, and attitudes a person does, has, and exhibits. It is about lives and lifestyles that comply with the requirements of the King. It is about having pure consciences and holy behavior just as God’s moral laws have always demanded.

That is the Gospel. And we are able to rise to the Lord’s instructions daily by the power of the Spirit in us. But rising to it IS most definitely required, and walking in it is the only path of salvation. (Rom. 8:13,14 // 1 John 2:6) As Jesus says, “If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.” (Matt. 19:17)

Sadly, most of Christendom insists that to “serve in the new way of the Spirit” (Rom. 7:6) does not include the necessity for obedience and the necessity for conducting oneself in purity and holiness. No matter how many verses we point out.

So, in the day when God acts, who, really, will be given the title by God, “Mine. My treasured possession.” –?

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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