“See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years. – Malachi 3:1-4

Do you ever feel like those who do evil never get what they have coming? Do you ever wonder when God will carry out his justice on the earth? The people of Malachi’s day did. Many questioned God’s justice and wondered if he was going to do anything about all of the evildoers around them. Malachi spoke to both warn and reassure God’s people: “Don’t worry! The Lord himself will come suddenly.” But instead of thinking about what he would do to others, each person should ask himself, “How can I stand when he appears?”

Have you ever thought about that? How can I stand in the presence of the almighty God who demands absolute perfection and holiness? How could I possibly endure the judgment of the One who knows even my thoughts and heart? Nobody can stand before the Lord on the basis of their own holiness. Everyone falls short. Everyone deserves God’s wrath and punishment.

But when our Lord Jesus Christ came in fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy, instead of immediately annihilating all those who had disobeyed him, he came to refine and purify. He did this by keeping God’s law so perfectly that it shows us just how terribly we have failed. Any idea that we can stand before God on our own is melted away. But then after we have been stripped of any trust in ourselves, God offers us his promises of love and forgiveness. He turns our hearts to Jesus who purifies us from every sin. When we are led to trust in him, our hearts are purified like precious gold that has passed through a blazing fire and had all of its impurities burned off.

Who can stand in the presence of the Lord? Because of Jesus and what he has accomplished, you can!