How can a mere mortal stand before God and claim to be righteous? Job 25:4 NLT
I love questions—especially the ones I have to think deeply about.
In an effort to make Middle School students use their critical thinking skills, I often asked them difficult questions answers. Among them: Why is there something rather than nothing, How do I know the universe really exists and is not merely an illusion, Do we have free will, Does God exist, Is there life after death, Can we really experience anything objectively, What is the best moral system, and What are numbers.
Job, however, offers an even deeper philosophical question: How can a person be innocent before God. Going free while being guilty is possible—at least in the American judicial system, if the judge sets bail and I can afford to pay it. But with God…
The Bible’s pronouncement on my predicament is clear: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Although I walk around in apparent freedom, there will come a day when I’ll be tried…unless.
Unlike in the court system, I cannot pay my way out of my spiritual predicament. I don’t have enough money to offer God a bribe or deal, nor can I perform enough good works to make up for my sinful acts.
Job’s fair weather friends told him sin was the cause of his bad fortune. He kept maintaining his innocence. Even though he asked the question—How can a person be innocent before God—he truly thought he was.
The good news is that I can be innocent before God. The process of God declaring me innocent comes through a big theological phrase: imputed righteousness. God takes what characterizes His Son, Jesus Christ, and imputes it to me. He credits the righteousness of Jesus to my account.
I’m not righteous because I’ve attained perfection or a sinless state. I’m righteous because God has made me so in Christ. When God looks at me, He views me in Christ. Living with that knowledge gives a new perspective on life. It changes how I view myself and others, and it gives me a deeper love for God. He did for me what I couldn’t do for myself.
So, yes Job, a person can stand as innocent before God, but only because of what Christ has done. Now that you know the answer, how are you standing?
Prayer: Father, thank You for the standing You have granted us in Jesus Christ.