Malachi 3:18: So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.
God said: say to the righteous it shall be well with him, because he shall eat of the fruit of his labour (Isaiah 3:10-11). Also for the wicked we read: woe to the wicked, it shall be ill with him. Going further the bible says that the person who digs a pit shall be the one who will fall into it (Proverbs 26:27). However for the righteous: his path is expected to shine brighter and brighter unto the perfect day (Proverbs 4:18).
The focus verse shows that it is the divine intention for there to be a difference between those who serve God on one hand and those who do not on the other, between those who are righteous on the one hand and those who are wicked on the other. The choice is yours, to choose the side difference you will be, for better or for worse.
In the land of Egypt when judgments of plagues were coming in thick and fast on the land, God made a difference between the land of Goshen where the children of Israel stayed and where the Egyptians were. When there was thick darkness on the land where the Egyptians were, Goshen had light (Exodus 10:22-23).
Righteousness and wickedness
For Adam and Eve, there was clear difference, pre and post their sin in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). Before the sin, they enjoyed full fellowship with God, the provision in the Garden of Eden, with trees with fully ripe fruits for easy picking, bringing endless satisfaction. But after the sin, man had to eat by the sweat of his brow. Sin brought death and difficulty were once there was life and ease. The difference was clear.
Between the righteous and the wicked, the difference is clear in the outcome of their lives, one goes to heaven and the other goes to hell respectively. But there is also a difference in how they think. One has the fear of God (the righteous), while the other does not care about what God thinks (the wicked).
Note that believing in Jesus makes you righteous and anything else means you are wicked, an opposer of God. The bible says that the wrath of God abides on the wicked constantly (Psalm 7:11), and you are wicked if you are in opposition to God. And you are in opposition to God if you have not aligned with the second Adam– Jesus Christ, but are still in the camp of the first Adam, who rebelled against God.
Everyone is born in sin (in the line of the first Adam), be we have the opportunity to come freely to Jesus to take on his righteousness (2Corinthians 5:21). That is what is called righteousness by faith; the righteousness of God himself that cannot be improved upon.
Serving God and not serving Him
And one difference between the person who serves God and the one who doesn’t is the reward that the servant of God will have.
Paul wrote towards the end of his life about getting ready to receive his reward, receive crown of righteousness from God when he leaves the earth (2Timothy 4:8). Serving God makes the difference. There is reward. There is promotion.
The prophet Haggai told a people that the reason they are facing all manner of hardship was because they neglected the work of God’s house, in building it and setting it in order (Haggai 1:1-11).
Jesus said that the branches in him being the vine that does bear fruit the father prunes so that it will bear more fruit, but the one who does not bear fruit will be taken away and cast into the fire (John 15:1-8). You better be useful or you will be set aside.
Paul said God set him apart from his mother’s womb (Galatians 1:15). God told Jeremiah that before he came forth from his mother’s womb, he has ordained him (Jeremiah 1:1-5). Just like them, God has plans for you, for your service to him.
God gave Jonah an assignment to a place but he went in the opposite direction. But he did not find things palatable from then on. Running away in a ship, a serious storm rose up the sea, and eventually he was thrown into the sea and spent three days in the belly of a fish due to disobedience to God’s call of service.
Serious service by God entails serious training. Moses who was meant to take the children of Israel from the land of Egypt to Canaan land spent forty years in the house of Pharaoh and forty years in the wilderness.
He might have thought that he was offered the wrong “fortune” in life. After all his education and standing in Egypt to now be following sheep! The loneliness of it might have gotten to him. But God saw it differently. God was training his man.
He invested a lot in his training. And Moses was going to deliver no matter what. That was why with all the objections of Moses, when the time came for his life assignment, when the time came for God to send Moses to take the children of Israel from the wilderness, God would not take no for an answer (Exodus 3:1-4:23).
Adam and Eve were meant to serve God as his emissaries on the earth, made in his image and sharing his dominion. They decided to rid themselves of the rulership of God, following Satan’s dictate, doing his desire. But see where that led them. They lost the Garden of Eden. They lost the best of God, because the path of service is the path of the best of God.
We are meant for the master’s use. Paul wrote that in the master’s house there are many vessels, some for honour and some for dishonour. But to make ourselves to be of honour, we would need to purge ourselves of impurities and be committed to holiness (2Timothy 2:20-21). Therefore, to embrace sin is to reject the service of God, while to reject sin is to qualify yourself.
The Lord has great plans for you. You are made for impact that’ll resonance eternally, because your God is eternal and he created you in his image. We are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which he has predestined that we walk in them (Ephesians 2:10). We need to recognise that fact and walk in its reality.