God is my Witness
“Only grant me these two things, O God,” Job asks, “and then I will not hide from you: Withdraw your hand far from me, and stop frightening me with your terrors” (Job 13:20-21)
These two prayer requests of Job’s happen to be the very conditions that God in fact grants to anyone that accepts the message of the gospel. By faith in Jesus Christ, believers are, first, “saved from God’s wrath” (Romans 5:9), and secondly we are “enabled to serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days” (Luke 1:74-75).
As we just saw above, Job understands that spiritual truth is like legal truth. In both areas, a case may appear hopelessly complicated on the surface, and yet underneath the confusion there is always a hard kernel of truth. The defendant is guilty as charged or he is not; either the sinner is saved or he is not. This present life may be clouded with gray, but the responsibility of the legal system is to make everything black and white. It brings all the facts out into the open to weigh them and pass judgment. While human law accomplishes this goal imperfectly, God’s law will accomplish it perfectly in the end.
Now, let’s ponder that a moment. We all know that in our earthly legal system there are inequities and injustice. Just as outlaws of society can get off scot-free, so blatant offenders against God can go on living as though they are innocent, when the fact is they are guilty as sin (pardon the pun). By the same token, righteous believers who have been acquitted of their sins can, through unrelenting pressures of the world and the flesh and the Devil, turn around and live their daily lives just as though they are still under condemnation.
This is the very corner Job’s friends are trying to back him into, but he will have none of it. Job knows in his heart that his God is a God of love and forgiveness. He seems to understand the message of I John 4:10, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” Job is certainly aware that he himself does not love God as he should; but he also knows that his love for God is not the basis of his faith. The basis of his faith is God’s love for him. The fact that he is not feeling a peaceful, joyful trust and love towards his God is not what is on the top of his mind. What is, however, is the fact that God loves him. In his crying out to God to bring his case to court, Job is not being unduly demanding; he is simply asking his legal rights from a just God.
When the position of the Apostle Paul was called into question, he went so far as to say, “I call God as my witness” (II Corinthians 1:23). Job is also so bold as to believe that God Himself will ultimately testify on his behalf. As preposterous as it may sound, this is the very essence of the gospel. God is the one who has sworn to take our part, to defend us eternally against all accusation, and to believe in Him is to take Him at His word and gratefully to accept His protection. It is on this very basis that we in turn become witnesses for Him, taking the stand to declare His faithfulness to a lost world. This isn’t a religion but a relationship. In other words, it’s not one-sided but two-sided, being comprised not merely of our faith in God but of His in us. It is our faith, that behind all the fear and pain of life in a fallen world, lies a loving and all-sufficient God. It is God’s faith that behind our corrupt nature lies a being with a capacity for perfection and everlasting life.
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