Righteous, Not Perfect {Learning from Job – post 3}

Book of Job3

Job was a righteous man.  The (unknown) author of Job states this fact in the very first verse of the very first chapter.  God himself agreed just a few verses later (See Job 1:8).

As I mentioned here, God has brought me back to the book of Job because I have lots more to glean.  In my last post  God impressed upon me the need to read this book with His steadfast love at the forefront of my mind.  Knowing of both God’s deep lovingkindess, and Job’s righteousness made me think about Job’s repentance.  It almost seems, at first glance, unnecessary.

Did you do the “homework” from the last post?  Or have you read Job before?  Then you know that toward the end of the book, Job repents.  If he was righteous, why was repentance needed?

“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  (Rom 3:23)

Because, Job was righteous… not perfect.

I can so identify with those last two words.  Can you?   I am so painfully far from perfect!  I often struggle and battle for perfection within myself but realistically, I know I can never come close to achieving it.  I long to be holy and live in a way that glorifies God, but find myself frustrated over my blaring lack of godliness.  My list of sins is long.  Really long.  I find myself often battling impatience, hasty judgments, selfishness, lack of motivation, fear, worry, and so on… and so on.  I just don’t feel very righteous.  But the fact of the matter is… I am… well, obviously not my sin nature in and of itself, but my spirit… I stand in righteousness before God only because of Christ’s righteousness that comes by faith in what He’s done. That’s what clothes this believer.  And you, too.  Thank you, Jesus!

And righteousness by faith in God was what clothed Job.  The Bible tells us that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness.  (See Rom 4: )  That tells us that righteousness comes from faith, not  from works—if it did, “faith means nothing and the promise is worthless.” (Rom 4:14b, NIV, and see also Titus 3:5)

So yes, Job was righteous.  But he wasn’t perfect.

Job said some pretty bold and self-righteous things when conversing with his friends.  He questioned God’s wisdom in allowing such suffering in his life.  Job really wanted to argue his case of righteousness before the Lord… as if God didn’t know who Job really was.  See, Job saw affliction as punishment.  Since Job felt he was righteous, why was he suffering?  I didn’t make sense to him.  And Job was hurting.  Badly.  He felt God was being entirely unfair and he just didn’t understand that suffering could actually be a blessing of spiritual purification.

God can use those times of pain in our lives!  We can learn valuable, life-changing spiritual lessons and experience exponential spiritual growth during times of great distress.  God can use it all for good.  It’s all part of this walk of faith… this process of sanctification.  And, in the words of Job, we can also say… “Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him.” (Job 13:15) God promises to work it for good and to give us a hope and a future.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28, ESV)

Where is the encouragement in all of this?  The encouragement always goes back to God’s steadfast love.  Everything does, really, doesn’t it?  The encouragement for us is in the simple fact that we aren’t perfect and we can never be.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t be righteous in God’s eyes.  Because He loves us so much.  He loves us with a beautiful, gracious cross-shaped love.  There’s hope in that fact for me and for you.  Hope in knowing the extent of His power and authority.  Hope in knowing that regardless of our sins and imperfections, self-righteousness, or even flickering trust, His love is steadfast!  And the righteousness Christ imparts is perfectly complete and covers all Believers.

So, take heart, Christian friend.  You may not be perfect, but you are righteous.

**If you would like to use this series as a Bible study, here are daily assignments until next week:

  1. Read these commentaries on Job 1:1 that discuss Job’s righteousness.  (I find the Pulpit commentary and John Gill’s exposition helpful.)
  2. Study God’s words in Job 40:8 and Job’s reply in Job 42:3-6.  Journal your thoughts.
  3. Read Job 24 for more perspective on Job’s feelings on God’s fairness.  Did Job feel like the wicked were getting “what they deserve”?  Look for specific examples.
  4. Read Job 26.  Contrast Job’s feelings in this reply with Job 24.  Notice that although Job questions God’s fairness, he states His power and authority over all creation.
  5. Read commentary on Job 26.  The last few sentences really expound on Job’s contradictory thoughts.

How has God reminded you of your righteousness in Christ lately?  How does that strengthen and encourage you?

Ali

{This is the third in a series of posts I’ll be doing on lessons learned from the book of Job.  The posts, thoughts, and gathered research have all materialized out of my personal quiet times with God and morning Bible studies. I’m also linking this post right here for Faith Filled Fridays over at MissionalWomen.com.}

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