Malachi 4:5–6 (NKJV)
5Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. 6And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.
When God created the world, He created it a realm of righteousness and peace – a place of blessing. Yet God warned our first parents that were they to reject His Word this good world would fall under a curse. This should have been no suprise. God Himself is the source of life and light. Hence, to turn away from Him is to sever ourselves from all that is good and right, from that which gives us blessing; even as an electric lamp depends for its light upon an electrical outlet, the world depends for blessing and joy upon the living God. Hence, to reject God and yet imagine that we can preserve peace and joy is foolish. The ultimate end of rebellion is always death and judgment.
Yet our first parents listened to the lies of the devil and rebelled against God. Thus the entire creation became twisted and distorted, it came under judgment. Where once there was only blessing now curses touched all creation. And this had been the devil’s intention – to destroy all creation, to destroy that which God had designed and made, by bringing it like himself under God’s wrath and curse.
But God had other plans. God intended to reveal His glory by rescuing the world; He would not abandon it to the folly of our first parents or to the malevolence of the devil. And it it this intention that is announced in our text today. God promised to send Elijah to prepare the way for the Messiah’s arrival and to restore family harmony under Christ, “Lest,” He declares, “I come and strike the earth with a curse.” John the Baptizer was this Elijah. God sent John as the forerunner of His plan of salvation, His plan to rescue the entire creation from the curse of judgment.
So Jesus declared to Nicodemus. “For God so loved the world – the kosmos, the creation which He had so lovingly and thoughtfully crafted – that He sent His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him may not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to judge the world but that the world through Him might be saved” (Jn 3:16-17). God acted in Christ to rescue all creation from its bondage to decay, from the curse of death.
So how did He accomplish this? He did this by making Jesus a curse for us. The ultimate end of rebellion is always judgment; God could not just overlook our injustice. To uphold justice, rebellion must be judged in order to uphold justice. And so, wonder of wonders, the eternal Son of God took on human flesh and gave Himself over to death for us; He became a curse for us, bore the just judgment that was due to us for our rebellion. And then Jesus rose from the dead, broke the power of death, and reversed the curse that once enslaved all creation. He died and rose again lest the earth be struck with a curse; He died and rose again to reconcile all things to Himself in heaven and on earth.
So now what of you? The ultimate end of rebellion is always judgment. Either we face that judgment ourselves – the end of which will be condemnation and death – or we turn in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ, who bore God’s judgment for His people, and so receive the blessings of justification and life. As we enter into His presence this day, He commands us to seek refuge from judgment through Jesus lest we be struck with a curse.
So reminded this morning that we can only escape the curse of judgment if we trust in Jesus who became a curse for us, let us confess our sins in Jesus’ Name, trusting that God will indeed forgive and bless all those who come to Him in faith. And as you are able, let us kneel as we confess our sins. We will have a time of silent confession followed by the corporate confession found in your bulletin.