“Then the LORD asked Satan, ‘Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.’”Job 1:8 (NLT2)
Even a man of complete integrity is in need of repentance. One of the great barriers to faith for many people of integrity is trusting in their own righteousness. God commended Job before his accuser, Satan, for being a man of complete integrity. God said, “He is the finest man in all the earth! Job feared God and stayed away from evil. These are all admirable qualities of a man of integrity. Yet, deep in his soul, Job would later cry out, “My ears had heard of You but now my eyes have seen You. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:5-6 (NIV) What did he need to repent of?
As good as Job was, he was still in need of repentance. When he finally encountered God at the end of his trials, he realized how little he really knew about God. Circumstances can have a way of distorting our view of God. I grieve when I encounter good people who are trusting in their own goodness rather than God. Many of them are moral, outstanding men and women of impeccable character. Next to others they appear righteous. But the standard for judgment in eternity won’t be the best among us. God’s standard of judgment is the perfect righteousness of His Son, Jesus Christ, who was without sin. This is why the Gospel is such good news! The ground at the cross is level. Whether you are the worst of sinners or the best of humanity, we all fall short of the glory of God. We all need a Savior. We must all turn from our best attempts at pleasing God and trust Him for salvation. We cannot save ourselves.
Just like a lion rescued from a poacher’s snare, we are all in need of rescue. It didn’t matter if the lion was the king of the jungle, caught tangled in that wire snare, he would have perished had it not been for those who came to save its life. You may be a person of complete integrity, but you still need God. Your soul longs for wholeness that can’t be found in its own goodness alone. We are only complete in Him. Jesus came to rescue us from the trap of trying to save ourselves. The Bible says, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV) That’s good news!
As good as you are, you are still in need of repentance. Jesus pointed out everyone’s need for repentance in this story found in Luke 13:1-5 (NLT): “About this time Jesus was informed that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were offering sacrifices at the Temple. ‘Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?’ Jesus asked. ‘Is that why they suffered? Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God. And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.’”
To repent simply means to change my view of God, to acknowledge my need for God and recognize that my wholeness is not a consequence of my own integrity. I am complete only in Him. Have you ever repented like that? Don’t perish in the poacher’s snare of thinking you can be good enough without God. Jesus came to rescue you as well!