One of Job’s friends speaks and lays out the clear way of the world. God will only punish the guilty. You know how God works, he says, God gives gifts and looks kindly upon those who follow him and love him. But if we face calamity and tragedy we ought to be able to trace a red line from the tragedy to a sin or a disobedience that we committed. It sounds logical, but that is not the way of the world at all.
Job responds and says, I understand what you are doing here. You are basically telling me that I have lost everything and and that I lost my health becasue I must have disobeyed God in some way. I should just confess that I have done wrong and God will turn everything else around and make it right. But, Job continues, I don’t know what I have done wrong, in fact, I can argue that I have not done anything wrong at all. There is no guilt in me.
Keep in mind he is not saying this in a way that someone today might say: I am not a sinner. Job knows that he is a sinner, but he has done all that he needed to do in order be seen as right in God’s sight. He has consistently asked for forgiveness, made sacrifices, lived a righteous life as much to his ability as possible. He is not being attacked because he is unfaithful or because he is not living clean.
In Romans we have my favorite verse in all of Romans 5:8 where we read: God demonstrates his love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. This reveals the type of love that God has for us, completely unconditional. It isn’t based upon our good works, how nice we are, how much we do for him, but it is based upon God’s mercy and grace, period.