Settle Out of Court – Malachi 3

God watches over all of us but pays particular attention to the weak and helpless.  When Christ returns to rule and reign on earth in the last days, we will be held accountable for any abuses we have committed against the humble.  Best to approach the Judge now to confess and make amends for any offences we have made, as best we are able.

“But who will be able to endure it when he comes? Who will be able to stand and face him when he appears? For he will be like a blazing fire that refines metal, or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes. 

“At that time I will put you on trial. I am eager to witness against all sorcerers and adulterers and liars. I will speak against those who cheat employees of their wages, who oppress widows and orphans, or who deprive the foreigners living among you of justice, for these people do not fear me,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.  Malachi 3:2,5 (NLT)

Scripture tells us that we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  But it also tells us that if we confess our sins, by the grace offered through Christ, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Our human nature is a stumbling block that often gets in the way of righteous living.  It is quick to return to its old ways and behaviors, flashing negative emotions when we get angry, envious, or selfish.

Even the act of admitting and confessing our sins is often difficult for us to do.  My friend Wendy recently listed four things we tend to do when confronted with a wrong we have committed:

  1. Deny it.  “I did not do it.”
  2. Make excuses.  “I was not aware of what I was doing.”
  3. Minimize it.  “Oh, it was not that big of a deal.”
  4. Blame someone else.  “If they had not done this, I would not have done that.”

Does any of this sound familiar?  Unfortunately, it did to me.

God knows we are not perfect.  But He does expect us to admit when we are wrong and seek to make things right.

In his letter to the Colossians, the apostle Paul highlighted some of the areas we believers struggle the most with:

1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.  Colossians 3:1-10 (NIV)

These temptations are common to all people, but the Holy Spirit is working in the hearts of believers to clean them out.  It is a journey of progress, not perfection.

All sin is subject to God’s judgment.  But in Christ, we live in an era of grace where we can go to the Judge, confess our sins, and be completely forgiven.  As Jesus worded it in a parable, we are free to approach God now to sponge away our record of wrongs before being confronted by them at His final judgment.

25 “When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 And if that happens, you surely won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny.  Matthew 5:25-26 (NLT)

As we have now been forgiven, the Lord expects us to extend the same forgiveness to others who have harmed us.  This can be difficult to do, but it is important to try, with His help.

Jesus has given us a gracious opportunity to settle all of our offenses “out of court” with Him now.  This allows us to enter into His presence unashamed, fully redeemed for eternity by the blood of Christ.


Father, we come to You confessing our sin today, specifically these items on our hearts and minds.  We come to the cross of Christ for complete forgiveness.  Help us to make things right with those around us, making amends where we have done wrong and forgiving others for what they have done to us.  We ask this in the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

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