Sometimes we hear the expression, “well, no one is perfect!”. Especially if that one wants off the proverbial hook. This is so convenient. And natural, according to the nature of the fall. What can one say to this? It is difficult to not agree, albeit reluctantly perhaps. It diminishes our hoped-for case. Another translation of the statement could be “well, I’m no worse than you!” Remember Catch 22...?
Aside from the mental gymnastics and one-up-man-ship, we really do need to know - is no one perfect? Has anyone ever been perfect - other than God that is...? The statement by the defendant above is true of all present living mortals because of the little word, “is”. But has it always been true? The fictitious person in the quote might say that it has always been true and always will be, which would strengthen the case. However, it has not always been true. There has been someone, a mere mortal as you and me, who was absolutely perfect. Not just perfect by mortal standards, but absolutely perfect in righteousness, and attested by God Himself:
“And Jehovah saith unto the Adversary, `Hast thou set thy heart against My servant Job because there is none like him in the land, a man perfect and upright, fearing God, and turning aside from evil?'“ (Job 1:8 YLT).
Yes, Job was perfect. Even Satan could not gainsay that fact. Most certainly he would have if it were so. All he could do was to say that the reason Job was perfect was for selfish reasons - because God had blessed him for being so. If this were so, there would a self contradiction, for if he were perfect because it paid him to be perfect, then he would not be perfect. Satan wanted to prove that Job was a hypocrite, which would prove that he was not really perfect.
There is an important point that is often missed regarding the whole story of Job. Most of the commentators on the book of Job (especially those without a biblical worldview) feel that it is a story or essay illustrating the unjust suffering in the world. This of course makes God into a sadistic monster in order to prove a point. God is not fair they often say. We as Christians know God is not such, but sometimes struggle with the real focus and purpose of this marvelous book - probably the oldest of the sixty six.
Although perfect, there were problems with Job’s perfection. The first thought might be that this too, is a self contradiction. How could Job be “perfect” and not be perfect? Isn’t this just double-talk? Here is where God shows those who areto become heirs of eternal life what its all about - what the requirement for the coming of Jesus as very God is all about, what the gospel is all about, and what the Christian life is all about. In so many ways, Job is about us - and we are about Job. The question arises then, is it possible for us to be perfect in this life, in the flesh, right now? Yes - Job proved it is possible. Indeed some may be perfect, even now. If so, then why did Jesus have to come and die so horribly, why did the Apostles sacrifice time, limb, and life if we can be perfect without all this suffering (Job was perfect before his suffering), that we are called to endure?
Job was perfect. He was as perfect as any human can be. Then wasn't it pride that caused God to allow Satan to torment him. God does not say that is was because of pride that he allowed Satan to do so. Pride does not nullify perfection in the flesh. Pride in perfection allows it to still be perfection. But pride is also still pride, and is a spiritual problem.
So where are we now in this incredible saga about Job? As is so often the case, we cannot understand the Old Testament without the New Testament. God intended it so. Neither can we comprehend the New Testament with the Old Testament. We must consult the New in order to grasp this part of the Old. The Apostle Paul gives us the real lesson of the book of Job:
“But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ - the righteousness from God based on faith [My goal] is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead.” (Philippians 3:7-11 HCSB)
The righteousness of Job was perfect. But it was not Gods righteousness. It as a perfect righteousness created by human effort, strain, and determination. It was not of God. The righteousness that guarantees eternal life is the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Now we can see the real reason for the last few chapters of Job. Space does not allow us to go there, but Job finally saw his perfection for what it was - his perfection. Not God’s. In the last chapter Job - by seeing God’s perfection - received a saving faith. He was perfect, but his perfection was not God-centered, not God-resourced. By this time Job has now known the fellowship of the sufferings of Christ that Paul desired. He was now willing to receive the only perfection that will last, and last forever - perfection that is Jesus Christ. He has now “seen” God.
Whose perfection do you want? God’s or your own? Everyone who has ever lived must eventually answer this question. Many depend upon their own perfection to save them. My prayer is that you will choose to pursue the correct path to “perfection”...
"...that they may be as one, even as we are one: I in them, and You in Me, that we may be made perfect in One..." - Jesus Christ to the Father (John 17)
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