"clean up your act"
"He will sit refining and purifying [silver], and He will purify the sons of Levi." —Malachi 3:3
Before Christ's coming this Christmas, we must be purified. In fact, that's putting it mildly. We need to be refined by fire and have our crimson-stained sins (Is 1:18) whitened by "the fuller's lye" (Mal 3:2). We need to be purged, detoxified, and baptized in repentance (Mk 1:4).
Most Christians don't consider themselves so dirty as to require such extreme forms of purification. I'm sure Zechariah, being a just man and a blameless priest (Lk 1:6), didn't think he needed nine months of being a mute to "clean up his act" (Lk 1:20). Most Christians think they need to be merely dusted off, not put in a blast furnace.
However, God knows His children better than they know themselves. Most little children don't recognize dirt the way their parents do. The children are quite content to make a mess and live in it. Children don't usually tell parents to clean their rooms, but vice versa. In today's Scripture readings and in this Advent season, God the Father is telling us, His children, that we may be dirtier than we think.
Ask the Spirit to convict you of sin (Jn 16:8). Repent! Go to Confession before Christmas. Be clean and pure — by the Father's standards.
Prayer: Jesus, this Christmas by Your grace I will be pure as You are pure (1 Jn 3:3).
Promise: " 'What will this child be?' and, 'Was not the hand of the Lord upon him?' " —Lk 1:66
Praise: "O Emmanuel, King and Lawgiver, Desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God."
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Effects of Sin on audio AV 81-3 or video V-81 or download CD 81-3 or DVD 81 at presentationministries.com.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 2015
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