Can Man Be Right?
Job 4:17 (ESV) -- Can mortal man be in the right before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker?
We live in a culture filled with folks who think they are good people. If you asked the average person at work or on the street, “Are you a good person?” They would quickly answer “Yes.” Very few people would acknowledge their wicked and sinful nature. Most think they are good.
The reason for this is because the average person compares themselves with other people, not God’s standard. They judge themselves off the worst people in society, not God. Of course we are good people when we compare ourselves to rapists, murderers, thieves, and con artists. But when we compare ourselves to God, nobody is righteous.
Our passage today reminds us of this truth. Man lacks a righteousness that would commend him to God. In Job 4, Eliphaz the Temanite is responding to Job. He asks a question that is rhetorical. The answer is assumed to be understood. He asks, “Can mortal man be in the right before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker?”
Think about his question? Can a mere mortal man be right before God? The answer is “no.” Because every mortal man is sinful and incapable of standing in righteousness before God. He asks the question in a different way. Can a man be pure before his Maker? Again, the answer is “no.” We are not pure before God. We have sin, bad motives, evil thoughts, and fleshly tendencies to rebellion. We are not pure and blameless before the One who made us. So, the only proper response to Eliphaz’s questions is “No.”
As believers, we recognize those are the facts. But we celebrate the reality that God, our Maker, became a man to die for us. Jesus came to make us pure. Jesus came to give us righteousness so that we could stand in righteousness before God. On our own, we cannot be pure before God. But if we place our trust in the finished work of Jesus, and look to Him, we have assurance of right standing with God. Put your faith in Jesus. Give thanks for what He has done. And when you seek to answer Eliphaz’s questions, you can answer both “No” and “Yes.”
Reflection & Journal:
- Why is man not righteous or pure before God?
- How can man ever be made righteous in God’s sight?
- What can we do to remind ourselves each day that we are not righteous on our own, but also give thanks that we are?
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