Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 23, 1970
NUMBER 11, PAGE 7,8b

Job And Justification

Kenneth Green

Having just read the book of Job in one sitting, I see a thread of thought that I have not seen before. The great questions surrounding justification are constantly raised in this, what is likely, the oldest book of the Bible.

The Setting

Job is introduced in the first verse as perfect and upright, one that feared God and eschewed (avoid) evil. He was also healthy, wealthy, and happy. "Yet trouble came" (3:26).

His sons and daughters were killed, his possessions were stolen, his body smitten with sore boils, his wife lost patience, but Job did not sin or charge God foolishly.

Job's three friends had admirable intentions, but they all proceeded from the false supposition that all suffering is direct payment for sins committed. Since Job suffered greatly, they logically concluded that he had sinned greatly.

Charged With Sin

Eliphay said: "Remembered, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? ... they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same." (4:7, 8)

Bildad added: "If thou went pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous." (8:6)

Zophar was more stringent: "Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth." (11:6)

These charges are repeated in chapters 15, 18, 20 & 22. Then "these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes." (32:1) We are then introduced to Elihu, a mannerly but exceedingly self-confident and vain young man. His speech is in chapters 32-36. He said of Job, "he addeth rebellion unto his sin." (34:37)

Job's Defense

Job steadfastly maintained that he had not lived in sin and iniquity: "Thou knowest that I am not wicked" (10:7) "How many are mine iniquities and sins? make me to know my transgression and my sin." (13:23); "My face is foul with weeping, and on my eyelids is the shadow of death; not for any injustice in mine hands: also my prayer is pure." (16:17); "My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me, so long as I live." (27:6); "Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity." (31:6)

Principles Of Justification

In this debate on the guilt or innocence of Job, certain integral components of man's justification with Jehovah are mentioned: (1) How? "Then Job answered and said, I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God?" (9:1, 2); "How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?" (25:4)

This is a question that is as old as sin. It is the most monumental question to ever grace the thoughts or the lips of man. It is the question raised: by those on the day of Pentecost: "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37); By the jailor in Philippi: "What must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30); By Paul as he depicted man without grace: "0 wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Rom. 7:24). (2) Need of a go between: "Neither is there any days man (footnote-umpire) betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both." (9:33) Job recognized the essentiality of a mediator between God and man. The Christian has one. One who took part of flesh and blood and was made like unto His brethren in all things (Heb. 2:14, 17). One who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities and through whom we may approach boldly the throne of grace (Heb. 4:15, 16). One who stands as our advocate before the Father (I Jn. 2:1). One who is the one mediator between God and man (I Tim. 2:5). One who might "lay his hand upon us both." (3) Need of pardon: "And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away mine iniquity?" (7:21) Job realized that once sin was committed, the sinner could not stand justified by his own merits. He would either have to find forgiveness or pay the penalty for his sin.

No man, from the beginning, has been saved apart from the grace (forgiveness) of God. Paul said, "Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying 'Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered." (Rom. 4:7, 8). (4) Confession: "He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light." (33:27, 28)

The first step in justification has always been the recognition of one's sin. Paul, upon identifying the means of salvation in Rom. 1:16, 17, immediately proceeded to prove all under sin. (Conclusion — Rom. 3:23)

John wrote: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:9).

"The word homolo'geo, from which the word 'confess' is translated, means to say the same thing, to speak together, and figuratively implies a dialogue between God and the sinner, in which the Father describes the condition of the sinner, and the sinner finally accedes to the correctness of the description and thus confesses that God is right!" (Commentary on I John by Guy N. Woods).

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