What we cannot do for ourselves…

How can a man be in the right before God? If one wished to dispute with him, he could not answer him once in a thousand times. Job 9:2–3 (NASB)

By this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 1 John 3:19–20

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This beautiful flower was growing in Anchorage, Alaska when we visited there in July 2016

Martin Luther had a come to Jesus encounter with God 500 years ago, and came out on the other side with great peace and confidence in God’s grace. Augustine had a similar experience. But it seems few people struggle with the idea of God’s judgment these days. God is so often portrayed as a kindly old grandpa who loves us with little justice or holiness in the mix. He is so often portrayed as a “Oh well, I know you didn’t do everything right, but you weren’t too bad, so it’s OK” kind of judge.

That does not line up with the God of the Bible. Job’s encounter with God – as it is played out especially in the closing few chapters – depict a God of great justice and holiness. He is one who could not be answered once in a thousand times.

What we cannot do, however, Jesus Christ had done for us. His cry from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” is a cry for justice. For Jesus had done nothing wrong. He had fulfilled all righteousness. He had satisfied the righteous demands of the Law, and cried for justice as he offered himself as the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

That is why, even when our hearts condemn us God’s word of mercy, forgiveness, grace and love sustain us. We cannot answer to God on our own. But what we cannot do, God has done through his Son, Jesus Christ. Those who let him do the speaking will find grace and confidence in his good word to us.

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