Now and again I hear something so mind-blowing in a sermon that I need to write it down while it’s fresh in my mind. So here goes:
In Job 42:7-9 you have God’s reaction to these guys who have been basically preaching a theology of non-grace, claiming that people only ever get what they deserve – one side of that coin being the belief that if something bad happens to you, it must somehow be your fault, but the other side of the coin being the belief that if you do bad stuff, bad things will happen to you.
God tells them he’s angry with them for making these wrong claims about how he deals with people.
He then shows them how wrong they were.
He shows them an example of grace.
Yes, he’s angry with them for the way they’ve behaved, but he doesn’t deal with them the way they’d expect: according to their misguided theology, if God is angry with them then wow, they’re doomed, end of.
But what they get instead is an illustration of the Gospel: a righteous man interceding for them, and not just a righteous man but a man that they have hurt, and innocent animals being sacrificed for them, and the result: “I will accept his [Job’s] prayer not to deal with you according to your folly”.
Thank you, God, that because Jesus has atoned for my sins, I know you will not deal with me according to my folly.