Caution Against Losing the Crown Through Fear of the Cross
Job 36:21
Take heed, regard not iniquity: for this have you chosen rather than affliction.

Three things to be observed in Job's case.

1. Job, before his afflictions, is called a man "perfect and upright," one that feared God, and eschewed evil: that is, both a moral man and a pious man. Before anyone may suppose that the lamentations of Job suit his case, he must be clear that he has lived like Job.

2. A great part of Job's complaints are made in answer to the three friends. Whatever Job's sin was, it was not hypocrisy. No wonder that when accused, Job should break out in strong cries of grief, defend his innocence, and hold fast his integrity.

3. Some of Job's complaints are absolutely sinful; they are murmurings of self-righteousness and rebellion. Job would not submit to the chastisement of God. The other three had accused Job falsely, but Elihu accused him justly. If any take comfort from reading these sinful complaints of Job, and think that, because Job complained in the way he did, they may do the like, they are greatly mistaken. And if any go further and think that because, like Job, they utter sinful complaints, like him too they shall be pardoned and accepted in the end, they are yet more mistaken. Unless they are brought, like the penitent patriarch, to see and confess with self-abhorrence the sinfulness of their murmurs, those complaints will be the ruin of their souls, even though they may be expressed in simple language. It is owned that it is hard to bear affliction. A wounded spirit is tempted to breathe hard sayings against God. But a child of God will not indulge such a temper. He will know the wickedness of it. There are many, however, who do not murmur against God's dealings with them, who may still be accused of choosing iniquity rather than affliction. In truth, it may be charged against all unconverted men. There is an affliction which all who live in a careless, unconverted state must suffer before they can have any hope of salvation. To everyone whose conscience tells him that he has not yet been brought to a sense of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the word of the Lord is, "Take heed." It would be a false and unscriptural representation of Christ and religion, to make it appear a light or an easy thing to be His disciple. And he who does not find it a life of constant struggle and watchfulness, of difficulty and self-denial, may be certain that he is altogether mistaken if he thinks he is a believer. Let no man flatter himself that the way to glory is a path strewed with flowers, one in which he may take his fill of pleasure and indulge his indolence. The true profession of Christianity is inseparable from suffering. It would be well for all those who are living in security, who have no fear for the safety of their souls, if they would examine the grounds of their confidence, and ask themselves in what way they bear their cross daily? What afflictions of the righteous fall to their lot? If they find that they really are not bearing the cross; that they are suffering none of the "afflictions of the righteous," they may be sure that their confidence is not the assurance of faith, but the presumption of ignorance...It generally happens that a believer's comforts and spiritual consolations rise higher in proportion to his trials and conflicts.

(R. W. Dibdin, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Take heed, regard not iniquity: for this hast thou chosen rather than affliction.

WEB: Take heed, don't regard iniquity; for you have chosen this rather than affliction.

Affliction Better than Sin
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