Job 31:13-15 “If I have denied justice to my menservants and maidservants when they had a grievance against me, what will I do when God confronts me? What will I answer when called to account? Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?”
There are elements of Job’s defences before his accusing ‘comforters’ that clearly indicate that he does NOT consider himself to be sinless. For instance, he had said earlier, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.” (19:25). If there was not SIN in his life he would NOT NEED a ‘Redeemer’! As Jesus himself would say, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:32), which is exactly why the Jewish hierarchy of his day failed to recognise HIM as THEIR Promised Redeemer!
No, Job KNEW he was a sinner who would be depending on God’s abundant grace and mercy on the Day of Judgement. But, equally importantly, he did not make the mistake that the Apostle Paul would warn us against – the mistake of PRESUMING upon God’s mercy: “What shall we say, then? Shall we GO ON SINNING, so that GRACE may increase?” (Romans 6:1). No, his dependence on God’s mercy only drove him to strive harder to live a life that was PLEASING to his gracious, redeeming God! He lived out all his days on earth in the light of the reality of the Day when, before his HOLY Maker he would be required to ‘give an account’ of all that he had ever done (or NOT done, as the case may be)!
The Author of Hebrews is fully aware of Jesus’ redeeming work, but he still writes to struggling believers: “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13), only confirming Jesus’ own warning: “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.” (Matthew 12:36). My ultimate defence, my only HOPE, when my time comes, is knowing that I will be ‘clothed’ in the righteousness of Christ. But, nevertheless, in the meantime I will make every effort to follow Job’s example and strive to please God by living in obedience to his revealed truth as far as I am able.