See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2 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; 3 he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness.
One of my enduring childhood memories is my Dad’s bar of Lava soap. When he came in from working in the garage, he would spend several minutes scrubbing his hands with that gritty (and smelly) cleaner. These verses remind us that making us clean requires a lot of heat and a lot of scrubbing. Our salvation was bought at a price—a price that was paid when God sent His only Son to be born in a manger and die on a cross.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote about cheap and costly grace in his book, The Cost of Discipleship. He wrote that “cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. … Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field…Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ.”
The Incarnation we celebrate during Advent is God’s expression of costly grace. We were refined in the fire of Christ’s suffering and scrubbed clean in the blood of the Lamb.
Does your life reflect that it was dearly bought? Are you fervently seeking the good news of the gospel as a valued treasure? May we resolve this Advent Season to pursue lives of grateful discipleship for God’s immeasurable gift.
Contributed by Dennis Brewer