Mal.3:2 – 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 launderers’ soap.
The presence of the Lord and the gospel of Jesus Christ effect the lost and the saved in different ways. In Malachi’s prophesy it gets even more specific in chapter four.
“For behold, the day is coming,
Burning like an oven,
And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble.
And the day which is coming shall burn them up,”
Says the LORD of hosts,
“That will leave them neither root nor branch.”
For the lost, the return of Christ is a terrible thing. It will be the ending of all joy and the beginning of a sorrow and misery that will never end. For the saved, it will be the most amazing day ever. Every tear wiped away, sorrow is gone never to return, a peace that comes from being in His immediate presence will be ours forever. Here is how Edwards describes that day for the lost.
“Though now unbelievers are not tormented by it (the gospel), but flatter themselves with it and make use of the glorious and joyful tidings it brings of God’s infinite mercy and readiness to pardon as a pillow on which they may indulge their sloth and quiet their consciences in ways of sin; yet it shall be tormenting to them hereafter, when they shall [not] be able to flatter themselves and soothe their carnal inclinations and affections with it any longer, but the remembrances of those gospel offers and calls that they have had, and which they rejected, will be as fire in their souls, will fill them with inexpressible torment, and will make their souls like an oven. And it will be an inextinguishable fire, for they shall never be able to forget the glorious gospel offers and opportunities that they once had and neglected; they shall never be able to expel the thoughts of them out of their minds, and the thoughts of them will forever be inexpressibly tormenting to them.”
Two things stand out to me in this quote. First, people have always twisted the message of grace to cover up their sinful lifestyle. When Christ comes all that foolishness will be done. The second thing is this, the eternal nature of our choices. For those who refuse Christ in this life they will be tormented with the thoughts of the gospel for eternity. In light of this we need to all make peace with God. Only He can arise in our hearts and heal us from the drama we face everyday. Christ is coming, who can endure that day? Those that have had their sins forgiven by His precious blood.