“So these three men ceased answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then the wrath of Elihu, was aroused against Job because he justified himself rather than God.”
In the previous chapter, Job made a list of all the good things he had done. He speaks of being a good husband, caring for his employees, giving to charity, being a religious man and avoiding evil actions. These are all notable qualities and should be a part of our lives, but not one of them is capable of making us righteous or justified before God. Job made the mistake of thinking he could earn his way to heaven. He assumed his good works would outweigh the bad things he had done. CS Lewis sought to express the problem with self-righteousness in his book “The Great Divorce.” He speaks of a man who refuses to enter heaven. He thinks he is above those who have gone in through the doorway of grace. In response Paul would declare,
Romans 3:20 “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
We can never be made righteous by our own actions. All the good we do, while valuable for relationships and betterment of society, lacks the ability to wash sin from the heart of man. If we want to be made right with God, we must confess our sin and receive the pardon that comes through Christ.