In times of trouble, trial, and tribulation, it is very easy for believers to sin with their brains and tongues. According to Paul, Christians are always in danger of having their minds conformed to this world. And according to James, Christ-followers are always a half-step away from using their tongues under the influence of hell. Too often, believers are double-minded and double-tongued. Therefore, it is the wise worshiper who guards his mind and tongue. It is the wise believer who finds himself continually praying, “Let the words off my mouth, and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, Oh Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14) And it is the dutiful worshiper who prays, “Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil.” And when we find ourselves thinking and speaking wickedly, it is the mature Christian who quickly cries out, “Forgive me Father of my debts.” Yes, until the day of our final glorification, like Job, we will always be repenting of our thoughts and words.
Job started well. The inspired author stated,
“In all this, Job did not sin.” (Job 1:22)
However, somewhere amidst the suffering, crying, mourning, groaning, scraping, screaming, praying, lamenting, listening, and complaining, Job drifted into mental and verbal sin. The persecuted patriarch began to justify himself and condemn God. This is what blew away his earthly counselors; they could not believe how their God-honoring friend was proclaiming himself to be right while presenting God in the wrong. But it was not only Job’s human counselors who noticed his error; so too did the Wonderful Counselor watching from above. In chapter 38, at the very beginning of God’s address to his suffering and sinful servant, the Righteous Judged declared:
“Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2)
You see, at the beginning of the book, Job is presented as blameless, upright, and one who fears God and turns away from evil. (1:1, 8; 2:3) However, it is important to know that he is so …
- Because the Son of God will come to earth, live, and die for him.
- Because God applies Jesus’ merit to his account.
- Because God declares him to be so.
- Because God will eternally and immutably deem him so.
Job is not labeled pure and holy because of his own inherent faithfulness, goodness, or personal works of righteousness. There is no doubt about it, Job is clearly not without sin. He is impure. His friends know this. His Gods knows this. And Job will soon proclaim it from his redeemed head and lips. In a couple chapters he will respond rightly by stating:
“Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further … I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 40:3-5; 42:2-6)
Yes, Job is a blameless and upright man. He is a saint. And Job is not one who continually thinks and speaks blamelessly and uprightly. He is a sinning saint. However, Job is quick to fear God and turn away from evil. He is a repenting saint, and this is a beautiful trait of this man loved by God.
So, who are we?
Christians, we are the SAINTS of God who have been declared blameless, upright, holy, pure, and righteous. We are those covered by the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and we are those who have absolutely no condemnation left before the throne of God above. Because of the work of the Son, he adores us every day, all day, without exception. Today is the day we can hear our Heavenly Father saying to us, “You are my sons and daughters, and in you I am well pleased.” Oh friends, don’t let anyone else give you contrary counsel. You are righteous. You are saints, and none of this is due to any past, present, or future merit in yourselves. It is all the undeserved mercy and grace of God. Your position is a gift based on God’s performance; it has nothing at all to do with yours.
Christians, we are sadly still SINNING SAINTS. More than we want to, our fleshly thinking and speaking sneaks out. It is not who we are. It is not what we take glory in. It is not in accordance with our new nature, and we are learning to hate it more and more. However, the wretchedness of our indwelling sin still haunts us, and we hate it when it our wicked flesh shows its ugly face over and over again. One day, sin will be no more, but that one day is not this day. Sin still tarnishes every aspect of our being.
Therefore friends, what ought we who are declared righteous to do when we find ourselves desiring, thinking, speaking, and doing unrighteousness? What ought we to do when we hear God coming our way, powerfully addressing us in his Word, reminding us of his holiness and glory, and pointing out our failings? Let us be like Job, David, Isaiah, and Paul. Let us be like the son in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Let us be running to the risen Savior as did the formerly-fearful Peter and John. Let us be REPENTING SAINTS over and over again. Quickly, let us confess our sins to the Lover of our soul and experience afresh his divine embrace. He has never left us; he promised not to do so. He has been praying for us from above. He is easy to talk to; he is never angry with us; for the Judge poured out all his anger on his Sacrificial Son. God never put the static in the relationship; we quenched the sweet communion by our turning away from him. Therefore, despite what we have done, here comes God again, and he is coming to draw us near. This is fantastic! Sweet communion is only a thought and word away. Therefore, repent and pray. It is time for us to use our minds and mouths well. It is time to hear the Gospel, see our loving God afresh, repent again, and enjoy him as he intends.