God’s invitation and the promise of redemption
What’s it all about? After announcing the judgment of the wicked and the vindication of His treasured possessions, God provides both a call to perseverance and a promise of salvation. Thus, the Old Testament closes with a call to obedience to Scripture, as well as a promise that a prophet will arise and prepare the way for the Day of the Lord (i.e., the final consummation).
So what? Throughout Malachi chapters 3 and 4, God promised to send His messengers to the people. The first would come in the spirit of Elijah (John the Baptist) and prepare the way for the second, who would be the messenger of the covenant (Jesus Christ). These promises remind the modern reader of God’s faithfulness to His covenantal people. The invitation was a call to repent (turn to God), believe (trust in God), and persevere (cling to God).
1. What role should God’s Word have in the life of a believer (4:4)?
2. How does reading, studying, and applying the Scriptures assist the believer in persevering in the truth (4:4)? (cf. Joshua 1:7-9)
3. What is the significance of God’s promise to send the prophet Elijah in relation to the ministry of John the Baptist? (cf. Matthew 11:11-12)
4. Describe the faithfulness of God considering His promise to save and sustain His people.
5. What significant theological truths (doctrines) have you learned throughout this study of Malachi?
Now what? The gospel has been declared throughout Malachi. God, who is faithful (perfect, good, holy, consistent), does not change. His love for His people will never fade, and His promises will never fail. Humanity, however, is rebellious and willingly suppresses the truth about God and exchange it for a lie. Yet, God still graciously calls rebels to repent and return to Him. Knowing that no one can save himself, God promises to send a redeemer. The savior that is promised (“the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings,” 4:2) will be preceded by a prophet who will both prepare the way and announce His arrival. John the Baptist, who came in the spirit of Elijah, declared, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29b). Jesus fulfilled the promise of the savior who would come to die for His people.
Until Christ returns for His people, the believer’s response must be steadfast faithfulness in proclaiming the greatness of God to each other and to the nations. As we persevere in the faith, we must encourage one another to proudly worship God and boldly proclaim the gospel of God to all.
“Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel. 5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. 6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” (Malachi 4:4-6 ESV)
Study Questions – Scripture: Romans 8:26-30
1. Explain the role and work of the Holy Spirit in the perseverance of Christians (8:26-27).
2. How does God’s sovereignty (absolute authority and rule) provide believers hope amid trials (8:28)?
3. What does it mean that God “predestined us to be conformed to the image of his Son” (8:29)?
4. What do each of the following mean (8:30):
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified (Romans 8:28-30 ESV).