The Lesson Of Job

Q. Thanks so much for all of the great articles, they are very much appreciated. The latest one however had a disturbing misunderstanding of scripture which could lead to undue pain to a new Christian (or an old one for that matter). There is nothing in the book of Job which states or leads one to believe Job was out of fellowship or being pained due to sin, or that Job had the sin of self-righteousness to deal with at all. The self-righteousness did not come out until Job was well into the trials, and explaining himself to his “friends”. God does not hold us accountable to confess sins we have not yet committed and would not commit if we were never given a specific trial in order to bring them out of us.

Please reconsider and study Job from the perspective of God’s sovereignty, His plan for us, and the process of sanctification. Sanctification is often why God allows us to suffer trials, to bring things out of us, to make us more holy. The gold goes into the fire appearing perfect, and only when the fire is lit do the impurities show up and flow out. That is the perspective we should approach the book of Job with. It was sanctification, not sin or lack of fellowship. To have a clear understanding of the book of Job is to have a clear understanding of God Himself. It’s a very important book. I humbly ask you to reconsider this. And again, thanks for all you do for the Church.

A. You’ve given an illustration in your question that confirms my position. You said, “The gold goes into the fire appearing perfect, and only when the fire is lit do the impurities show up and flow out.” Job appeared to be nearly perfect by man’s standards, and even God remarked on His righteousness when compared to the rest of the world. Yet He allowed Satan to afflict him. There had to have been some impurity that God needed to reveal to Job before it destroyed him. That impurity was Job’s self righteousness. It was a sin that that brought down his hedge of protection.

God’s sovereignty does not extend to violating His own character. One of his attributes is that of being just, and as such He couldn’t arbitrarily allow allow Job to be so harshly attacked without cause. You’re right, the scriptures don’t mention Job’s sin problem until later. But that doesn’t mean he hadn’t committed it well before the events. We’re expected to know that God’s character would never allow Him to authorize such an attack if it was unwarranted. Our faith in Him is all we have. To believe that He would do such a thing to Job without cause is to believe that He would do the same to us.

It sounds like your view of God’s sovereignty is that He can do whatever He wants whenever He wants to. If that’s the case, why did He have to die for us? Why didn’t He just cancel out debt? Answer? Because His need for justice wouldn’t allow it. Some one had to pay for our sins, and because there was no one else He did it himself.

Too many people justify the problems they’re experiencing by saying that God has allowed their suffering or even brought it on them. They never consider their own sin. The number one lesson from the Book of Job is that when we justify ourselves we’re really accusing God of being unjust. Job had to learn that lesson the hard way so we could be spared a similar one. As Mark Twain said, “The only time experience is the best teacher is when it was some one else’s experience.”

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