Not By Works - Job
“So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.” “Because he justified himself rather than God” – (Job 32:1,2).
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” – (Eph.2:8,9).
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us…” – (Tit.3:5).
Don’t pronounce Job with a long ‘o’ as we do but pronounce Job with a short ‘o.’ When you pronounce it this way then you have the key to the truth of this book. Job means work, and through this book God is showing the world that the most perfect and upright man on earth needs to repent of his sins, which is the exact opposite of resting upon your good works in pride. The primary theme of the Book of Job can be summed up in three words – “Not by works.”
Job was perfect (in man’s eyes) but not sinless, only the Lord Jesus was. Job was righteous in his own eyes – self righteous. He wanted to be justified by his own good works (by his job) in the sight of God. Look how good I am – and he was a good man, the goodest of the good, but only in man’s eyes. In God’s eyes- “There is non righteous, no, not one. There is none that doeth good, no, not one. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” – (Rom.3:10,12,23). God was showing us through Job, the goodest man on earth, that all are sinners and need to repent and turn to Christ our savior and be saved from our sins by God’s grace. “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God” – (Rom.3:19). When God stopped Job’s self-righteous mouth, He proved the truth of this verse.
To illustrate the theme “not by works” and to make evident to every man the importance and necessity of repentance, God takes up the case of Job and gives us in detail an account of the process of his boasting of his good works and his pride and that led him at last to cry out – “Wherefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes” – (Job 42:6). And God did not choose a bad man to be our example of a sinner in need of repentance, he picked the goodest man on earth to shut the mouths of all people, the good as well as the bad. Lest the self-righteous would say “Yes, I realize that that great sinner needs to repent because his sins are many and his wickedness great. But thank God, I am not as he. I am a just man needing no repentance.” As it is written – “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this Publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the Publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” – (Luke -14). Job started off like the proud Pharisee and ended up humbling himself like the repentant Publican and got right with God. It took Job 42 chapters to see himself as a sinner and repent. Can you not see the wisdom of God in selecting the best of men to show forth the need that all men must cease from self-righteousness in their own works and repent and be saved by Christ and receive the righteousness of Christ and be justified in the sight of God?
See how the proud Pharisee used the word “I.” It’s the middle letter in prIde and in sIn and the center of self-centered, self righteous people. In three chapters (Job 29,30,31) Job used the pronouns “I,” “my,” and “mine” 189 times – the big “I” of pride – amen. “For job hath said, I am righteous” – (Job 34:5). Job was like the proud Jews of Paul’s day – “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteous of God: For Christ is the end of the law for righteous to every one that believeth” - (Rom.10:3,4). It’s very difficult to get a good man saved because he trusts in his good works. A bad man can’t trust in his good works, for he has none. Bad man saved – good man lost. It was not the goodness of Job that got him right with God – it was the goodness of God. “Or despiseth thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance” – (Rom.2:4). The goodness of God led Job to repentance.
God told Job – “Then will I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee” – (Job 40:14). Man wants to save himself, he wants to be his own savior. And that’s what happens when we reject the Savior on the cross, the Lord Jesus. If God’s right hand of Christ doesn’t save us then we must save ourselves by our own good works. It’s not by your work, it’s not by your job that saves you – “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” – (Tit.3:5). Job teaches us, that no matter how good we think we are, we need to see ourselves as God sees us. “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags…” – (Is.64:6).
Job scraped himself with a piece of pottery and sat in the ashes and in (Ch.42) he repented in dust and ashes. It’s better to have a loathsome disease like Job and sit in ashes and get saved, than burn in hell because of your pride. At the end the only thing Job had left was his pride and that was the one thing he needed to lose. Job had leprosy of the soul and not only leprosy of the body. Leprosy of the body is likened by God to sin in the soul – it’s abhorred by God. Man must see his condition as God sees him. A holy and righteous God abhors sin.
Job said – “I put on righteousness and it clothed me…” – (Job 24:14). He clothed himself with his good works to no avail. Like Adam and Eve, he was trying to cover his sin with good works, to clothe himself in his own self-righteousness. We need God’s robe of righteousness from His Lamb of God. “For he hath clothed me with garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness….” – (Is.61:10). “Saying, blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” – (Rom.4:7,8).
Job does a good job at patting himself on the back. He told what an outstanding, influential, good man he is. He points his fingers at others who commit such sin and says they are to be judged. But not himself – he’s the good man that’s so hard to find. He can’t see why he’s judged so severely when he’s such a wonderful fellow – he nearly breaks his arm patting himself on his back. He’s the spiritual father of the self-righteous Pharisee. He is saying, in effect, “I have been so good that God is punishing me unjustly – God is wrong”. We hear no confession, no admission of failure. We see nothing of a broken, contrite spirit in Job until (Ch.42:6). He will not own up to his sins and that’s the beginning of repentance. Humility is necessary for salvation. “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit” – (Ps.34:8). Job is righteous in his own eyes, but Job is not righteous in God’s eyes.
Elihu, listening in on Job and his three friends and had more wisdom than his elders. He reminds Job what he heard him say. “Surely thou hast spoken in mine hearing, and I have heard the voice of thy words, saying, I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me” – (Job 33:8,9). Again in (ch.35:2) “Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidest, my righteousness is more than God’s”. Then Elihu tells him where to get his righteousness – “I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe righteousness to my maker” - (Job 36:3). Elihu prepares the way for God to preach to Job out of the whirlwind – “For the word of God is quick, and powerful….” – (Heb.4:12). Like a whirlwind.
God tells Job – “Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? Wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?” – (Job 40:8). Which is exactly what Job had been doing. Then God zeroes in on Job’s pride. “Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath: and behold every one that is proud, and abase him. Look on every one of that is proud, and bring him low: and tread down the wicked in their place” – (Job 40:11,12). “He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride” – (Job 41:34). Job had been abased and brought low physically and he needs to humble himself and abase himself spiritually by repentance to God and let God exalt him.
And then Job sees himself a sinner in need of repentance and he gets right with God. Job finally found out that he could not get right with God, he could not get righteousness with God by his Job – Not by your works – Job. He moved from the self-righteous Pharisee in (Luke18) to the repentant Publican and went to his house that day justified in the sight of God. Hearing God’s words with his ears, opened his eyes, not hearing his friends words.
Jesus said “I tell you nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” – (Luke 13:3). Repentance is the first word of salvation. “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations….” – (Luke 24:47). We are justified through faith in Jesus Christ. God imputes the righteousness of Christ to us – God justifies us when we exercise faith in the righteous Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Repent of your sins and by faith believe on Christ in your heart for forgiveness and remission of sins and you will be born again and have eternal life.
Remember, you cannot be saved by your Job (works).
Pastor Mike Storti
5000 N. LaCholla-
Would love to hear from you!