Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Truth About Job: No innate Righteousness -- Must be Received by Faith

When confronted by the Almighty face to face, Job can express unutterable self-contempt.

"Then Job answered the LORD, and said,

"Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.

"Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further. (Job 40: 3-5)

Like Isaiah in the six chapter of the prophet's writings, Job can only stop his mouth:

"Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

"Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: 7And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged." (Isaiah 6:5-6)

Isaiah was confronted with the ineffable awe of the Lord God Almighty, and the prophet could do nothing but acknowledge his own sin, his own irreparable wrong in the presence of the Almighty.

Such is the outcome for all who presume on their own righteous until they face the almighty and unassailable righteousness of the Lord. Paul the Apostle explained this in Romans:

"Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." (Romans 3: 19-20)

No matter what good works he did, Job could never make himself righteous before God. That is a matter of grace received by faith:

"Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith." (Habakkuk 2:4)

followed in the New Testament with:

"By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

"Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2: 8-9)

This is the message which today's readers must take from the Book of Job. Instead of the false image of an arbitrary God who punishes or abandons His faithful followers on Earth, but rather as a Father who until He reconciled us to Himself through the Finished Work of Jesus Christ, could do nothing to protect us from the curse of Adam.

For those who believe on Him through the death of His Son Jesus Christ, no more will God remember our sins against us. No more do we have to fear an Enemy who has accused the brethren for failure to uphold God's law, for Christ fulfilled the law by His death and resurrection on the Cross. No more do we have to busy ourselves with works in order to please God, for He has already accepted those who believe in His beloved Son, Jesus Christ.

For those who trust in the Lord, they no longer have to worry about making themselves righteous, for:

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Corinthians 5:21)

For any believer who insists on trying to earn God's favor, establish his own righteous, he can only suffer the same harrowing fate that befell Job:

"For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

"But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith." (Galatians 3: 10-11)

For this reason, many in the Body of Christ still live upset and uprooted lives like Job, men and women who are preoccupied with their own efforts to establish their own standing before God. The New Covenant, written in Christ's shed blood, which speaks better things than the blood of Abel (cf Hebrews 12:24) and offers not just redemption, but a right and righteous standing with God in Christ Jesus:

"Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

"For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

"For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

"And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." (Romans 8: 12-17)

Instead of trying to be right with God, as Job attempted, let us received adoption into the Body of Christ through the Finished Work of Jesus, and rest in receiving double for all our trouble! Amen!

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