Job was no fool. When you’re right, you’re right…and when you’re wrong, you’re wrong. When you stand before your father with cake crumbs all over your shirt and frosting smeared from earlobe to earlobe, and dad looks straight at you as says, “Will you deny that you’ve been into your mother’s cake?” [“Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty?” Job 40:2]
Job’s reply? There would be no argument here. Not today. The NIV says, 4 “I am unworthy…”
King James puts it another way. 4 “Behold, I am vile.” I am guilty. I am sinful. I am not worthy of you. Rotten ole Job! Throw the book at him, Lord! Sinner!
Now hold on…hold on…HOLD ON! Just a minute! Isn’t there anything here that sounds just a little bit familiar? Do you know that there is not a single name in the entire Bible, nor outside of it, apart from Jesus Christ Himself, who couldn’t make that same statement apart from the blood of Jesus? Which, by the way, includes you and I. That same book could be thrown at all of us. James 2:13b says, “Mercy triumphs over judgment!”
In John 8, Jesus was teaching in the temple courts when the Pharisees and teachers of the law brought a woman in before Him who had been caught in the act of adultery. In an effort to trap Jesus in a no-win situation – if He ordered her to be stoned per the law of Moses, He violates Roman law (Jews were not allowed to carry out the death sentence), if didn’t order her stoned he’d be seen as not supporting Jewish law – they ask Jesus, 5“Teacher, the Law of Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”
Jesus bent down and starts writing in the dirt with his finger. Pretty soon he stands up and says, 7“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then he bent back down and resumed his doodling in the dirt.
This caveat seemed to put a bit of a twist in their trap. One by one, beginning with the older, I suspect, wiser ones dropped their stones and walked away until all that was left was Jesus and the woman. Jesus stands up and asks her, 10“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Go now and leave your life of “unworthiness”, of “vile-ness”. Mercy triumphed over judgement. And that’s what Jesus prefers for any of us. It’s what He offers to any of us. It’s us that chooses to continue in our life of depravity.
Another beautiful part of this story is that God loves us even while we’re still “vile” and “unworthy”, and “guilty”. Otherwise, how could we ever approach Him? Not only does He love us and permit our approaching Him, He calls us to Him! The apostle Paul could give pretty good testimony to the Lord’s pursuit while he was yet “vile”. Paul said in his letter to Timothy;
1 Timothy 1:15-16 15“It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. 16Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.”
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
And there lies the most beautiful part of the story. If it weren’t for Jesus’ sacrifice, once for all our sins, we would all be still standing “vile”, “unworthy”, and even worse, “guilty”, before our heavenly Father awaiting our just punishment.
So when you hear someone say things like Job said, “Behold, I am vile.”, or “I am unworthy!”; or maybe like what Simon Peter said when he first met Jesus on their first fishing trip. After Jesus told them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat and they caught so many fish they filled the boat, Peter fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” Luke 5:8 The folks we know may not use the same words today. What you may hear is, ‘You just don’t understand the kind of life I’ve led, the things I’ve done.’
‘I’ve just done too many bad things in my life. God could never forgive me. He’d never hear my prayers.’
‘You don’t understand the things I’ve done!’
Here’s what we do understand:
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners,Christ died for us.
Acts 2:21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
What you did before is water over the dam. What you do now and forward is what matters.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:11