Thursday, March 20, 2014

Innocent Suffering in Job and the Suffering Savior Substitute

I'm becoming convinced that one of the main reasons for the existence of the book of Job is to preserve a category in the world's consciousness for innocent suffering, not least prior to the coming of the Christ. Clearly Job's three "miserable comforters" (Job 16:2), or three stooges, as I recentlly heard a preacher call them, don't have any categories for innocent suffering, righteous suffering. No, their theological system is tight, tight, tight. For them, if you are suffering, and if God is just, then you must have sinned somehow to bring on God's just judgment. Sounds reasonably logical, doesn't it? But it's all wrong, as the book of Job makes crystal clear.

To steer us clear, then, of the error of these three stooges, God has given us the book of Job. And he's done this, I'm sure, in part at least, to preserve a category for innocent suffering in our minds, in order that we might make sense of the good news he'd be sending in his sinless Son. Having a category for innocent suffering is essential if we are to see and embrace the suffering savior substitute for who he is. He suffered the wrath of God. Yet he knew no sin (1 Pet. 2:22). He was cursed of God as he hung on that Roman tree (Gal. 3:13; 1 Pet. 2:24). But the curse was due us for sinning at the tree in Eden. He suffered innocently, suffered righteously, not unlike Job, at the hands of satanic malice, but in a way that goes way beyond Job's suffering and Job's righteousness. For Christ alone is the only true sinless sufferer, and Christ alone bears God's just judgment for us. And so he's the only true mediator between God and man, who can argue our case, standing in our place, pleading our cause, wearing our righteousness.

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