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From Treacherously to Faithfully?

January 18, 2019

Is faithfulness an essential part of the DNA of a Christian? In what areas? If Christ affects all areas of our lives, then we should reflect Christ in all areas of our lives, whether that be personal life, in our relationships, in our work, school, and church. Colossians 3:23 tell us, “Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people”.

Once we allow compromise into one area of our life, it’s easier for it to come into others. In the book of Malachi, the problem with the offerings that was addressed in chapter 1 was an indicator of something more, something deeper going on. The Lord spoke through Malachi and used a word that is translated “treacherously” in many translations, which means unfaithful or referring to betrayal. Those are serious charges, but they were true.

When sin seeps in, when disobedience is allowed to enter our lives, it can spread and take root so subtly that we don’t recognize it. I suspect that is part of what is going on with the Israelites in Malachi’s day. Let’s look at the charges God levies against them. Notice the word “treacherously” in five instances.

Malachi 2:10-1210 Don’t all of us have one Father? Didn’t one God create us? Why then do we act treacherouslyagainst one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers? 11 Judah has acted treacherously, and a detestable act has been done in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the Lord’s sanctuary, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god. 12 May the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob the man who does this, whoever he may be, even if he presents an offering to the Lord of Armies. 13 This is another thing you do. You are covering the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning, because he no longer respects your offerings or receives them gladly from your hands. 14 And you ask, “Why?” Because even though the Lord has been a witnessbetween you and the wife of your youth, you have acted treacherouslyagainst her. She was your marriage partner and your wife by covenant. 15 Didn’t God make them one and give them a portion of spirit? What is the one seeking? Godly offspring. So watch yourselves carefully, so that no one acts treacherously against the wife of his youth. 16 “If he hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord God of Israel, “he covers his garment with injustice,” says the Lord of Armies. Therefore, watch yourselves carefully, and do not act treacherously.

There are wo major indictments from the Lord through Malachi

  1. They were acting treacherously toward one another, compromising relationships, living self-absorbed lives
  2. They were covering the Lord’s altar with tears but not understanding why their offerings weren’t being received

They had become so inwardly-focused that they couldn’t see that they had lost their way – it was subtle. Sin starts with a desire, that gives way to a thought, which leads to a behavior, and can become a practice if we are not careful. We like to justify our actions because of the situation we are in, but quite frankly, faithfulness is a choice. 

Sometimes we have to take hold of our circumstances and stop the bleeding. Here are 5 practices that can help us move from living treacherously to faithfully. We must choose to be…

Faithful to one another(v10). We all have one Father, we all belong to God, and there is no reason to be divisive. Kindness draws people in. Being trustworthy keeps them in. As believers, we should be loyal people of our word.

Faithful to personal purity(v11). Our priorities show our true focus and are demonstrated in our behavior. For the Israelites in Malachi’s day who were failing to honor God in worship, He told them they may as well just shut the temple down. If God has our heart, He will change our behaviors. 

Faithful to relational discipleship(v14). They didn’t recognize the gift of having a wife and its purpose. Marriage was created for the purpose of discipleship and to create Godly offspring. Happiness is a by-product of choices to have a God-honoring marriage.

Faithful to marriage covenant(v15). The Israelites were not only divorcing their spouses, but for pagan women. They were leaving behind their covenant with God to give into selfish lust. Once marriage becomes about things other than its true purpose, our lives get out of balance, and we become nothing more than pleasure-seekers.

Faithful to Kingdom focus(v16). They were making life about themselves and subjecting themselves to consequences. It is said that the Israelites were allowing hate to come in, which brings division, which weakens God’s power.

Do not let yourself be beat down by areas of your life where you are struggling. God pursues a loving relationship with you that is both real and personal. In what areas of your life have you allowed treacherous-ness to enter in? God will meet you and lead you to faith.

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX

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