The Insufficiency of Our Integrity
“Oh, that I had one to hear me! Behold, here is my signature; let the Almighty answer me! And the indictment which my adversary has written, surely I would carry it on my shoulder, I would bind it to myself like a crown. I would declare to Him the number of my steps; like a Prince I would approach Him.” Job 31:35-37
We have been working through the book of Job during family worship, and it never fails to paradoxically surprise us with its boldness and meet our basest expectations for how human depravity tends to manifest itself. In this chapter and the ones preceding it, Job laments the perceived injustice of his suffering based on his confidence in his own integrity. He pridefully and disrespectfully declares the cruelty of God in ordaining his suffering despite his good works (which he lists in detail throughout chapters 30 and 31).
Verses 35-37 make up his culminating cry of desperation: Oh, that I could end this distress by bearing my sins and convincing God of my righteousness! What Job doesn’t understand—and what we likewise miss when we question God’s sovereignty in seasons of pain—is only Christ can successfully mediate between God and the sinful individual. And He has already done this through His atoning crucifixion and continued intercession (Acts 7:34).
Jesus has done what Job wished to do for himself: He bore our indictment as a crown of thorns and declares His own righteousness on our behalf as the Prince of heaven. We cannot view our own sense of holiness as a means to a prosperous end, not only because we could never hope to contribute what is required in order to save ourselves, but because this work is already finished.
Father, convict me through the Holy Spirit when I seek to pay for my sins with my own sense of righteousness, either in response to a sense of guilt or in an attempt to manipulate my circumstances. Forgive me for disregarding the finished work of Christ, which my own works, even in full sum, can never match in value. Give me Your grace to sustain me in times of suffering and prosperity, in the name of Jesus. Amen.
What are some subtle (or not-so-subtle) ways that you see yourself or others attempting to atone for the sin which Christ has already paid for?
Jessica is a native to the Appalachian mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, although she now resides in northern Virginia with her husband. She has been a lover of reading since elementary school and a lover of Christ since high school. She is a full time English major, in hopes that her studies will help her more effectively minister to other through written words. Her favorite things in the world are British tea, old books, autumn leaves, dry humor, and rainy weather. Her goal as a writer is to demonstrate how the Gospel, objective truth, and sound theology are not only applicable, but essential, to all aspects of life as a woman, especially in a world that celebrates sin, false doctrine, and self-sufficiency.