We Cannot Produce Our Own Innocence
Read Job Chapter 9
Job 9:14 “How then can I dispute with Him? How can I find words to argue with Him? 15 Though I were innocent, I could not answer Him; I could only plead with my Judge for mercy.
Job 9:20 Even if I were innocent, my mouth would condemn me; if I were blameless, it would pronounce me guilty.
Job 9:29 Since I am already found guilty, why should I struggle in vain?
Truly, we have only one hope; God’s mercy. As we ponder the depth of our SSA sins, we must surely know that truth. I have been aware of my hopelessness for as long as I can remember. As a child, mercy wasn’t a common commodity around our house. Therefore, I began life in a futile attempt to become sinless. Naturally, I failed miserably even in the simplest areas of life. Imagine what I thought when I discovered my same-sex attractions and how uncontrollable they were! In my mind, there was no hope, no chance of ever gaining favor with my Creator. Mercy was a concept that was not discovered until much later in life.
It is easy for any of us to fall back into the idea that we must become sinless, completely perfect, in order to acquire God’s approval. As we have examined before, that it is impossible and unnecessary. Even Job knew that such an enormous task as that was impossible. As far as we know, Job’s life under God’s leadership was impeccable. There is no evidence that he was outside God’s will in any way. Yet, as he contemplated his trials, he knew that his only hope was God’s mercy. He could not rely on his own personal righteousness.
It is a good thing for each of us to desire sinless perfection in the area of SSA. But we must not believe perfection to be our ticket for entry into God’s presence. If we do, our failures will devastate us spiritually. There are plenty of SSA men who can barely pick themselves back up after a fall. God wants us to be repentant, but He does not want us to writhe in self-hatred, guilt, and shame. He wants us to know that His grace and mercy are sufficient to atone for our indisgressions, and wants us to move beyond them in heartfelt gratitude. Just like Job, we come to Him pleading for mercy. Also like Job, we can be assured that He will supply the mercy we need.
Even if, by some stretch of the imagination, we could achieve sinless perfection for the remainder of our lives, it would not be enough. Our past would haunt us and deny us of the perfection we sought. Going further, Job rightfully says that even if we didn’t have to deal with our past, and could be found completely blameless, that would not be enough. Our source of righteousness can be found in only one source; the blood and body of Christ, and the work He did on the cross. We cannot argue any other plea. Our obedience won’t do it and neither will our works.
If we do not grasp this concept, we will be in danger of adopting the attitude stated by Job in verse 29. I have known men who did that. Their thoughts carried them into a valley of hopelessness. They knew they could not achieve sinless perfection, so they said, “Why try?” They understood half of the equation; that they could not gain favor with God by performance. But they failed to understand the other half, that God’s mercy prevails over our inability to be sinless.
The Psalmist also knew this truth:
Ps 118:19 Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter and give thanks to the LORD. 20 This is the gate of the LORD through which the righteous may enter. 21 I will give You thanks, for You answered me; You have become my salvation.
Let us never give up our quest to be done with our same-sex thoughts, words, and deeds. We must continue to fight this enemy for as long as we live. But if we fall, let us remember that God’s grace and mercy are accessible for our troubled souls. We cannot be perfect, but we have the perfection of Jesus Christ which has been freely given to us. Praise Him for His unfailing love!
Prayer: Thank You that I do not have to achieve perfection to enter Your presence. Thank You for grace and mercy. Continue to help me become more like You, and to gain a better ability to resist temptation. Thank You for the freedom that comes in knowing the truth about righteousness, that it depends on You, not me.