Job 35:2

Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidst, My righteousness is more than God's?

Thinkest thou this to be right,.... Elihu appeals to Job himself, to his conscience and reason; who as a natural man, guided by the light of nature and reason only, and judging according to the dictates of a natural conscience, and especially as a good man, one that feared God, and had so much knowledge of him and his perfections, as his speeches showed, could never upon reflection think it right what he had said concerning God and his justice, as follows:

that thou saidst, My righteousness is more than God's? A strange expression this indeed! but what is to be understood not of his personal righteousness; Job in his senses could never say that this was more or greater than God's, or to be above it and preferred to it in any sense; nor even of righteousness imputed. Old Testament saints had the righteousness of Christ imputed to them, and were justified by it; and so Job, who had knowledge of and faith in Christ as his living Redeemer, and the Lord his righteousness: but then though this is the righteousness of God, wrought out by one that is God as well as man, and approved and accepted of by God, and imputed by him to his people, which is revealed in the Gospel, and is unto all, and upon all them that believe, and they are made the righteousness of God in Christ; yet this cannot be more than the righteousness of God: besides it is not the essential righteousness of Christ as God, as Osiander dreamed, by which men are justified, but his obedience, active and passive, as Mediator, otherwise they would be deified who are justified by it; and if even so absurd a notion as this could obtain, it would not be more of man than the righteousness of God: much less can this be interpreted of Job's inherent righteousness, or the new man which is created in righteousness and true holiness; since all the holiness and righteousness that is in man is from God, and at present imperfect, and therefore cannot be more or greater than his; and still less can this be meant of Job's external righteousness, which, how great soever, was not perfect and without sin; whereas God is just and without iniquity. But there is not a just man that does good and sins not. This therefore must be understood of the righteousness of his cause; and to say that this was more than God's was what he ought not to have said, and more than became him to say: for though a good man may defend himself against the calumnies of his enemies, by asserting his own righteousness, innocence, and integrity, and may desire the Lord to plead his cause against them, and judge him according to his righteousness and the integrity of his heart; but to attempt to make it out, that his cause is more righteous than the Lord's, is doing an ill thing. Now though Job had not expressed this in so many words, yet he had said that from whence this might by consequence be deduced; he had given great occasion for such an inference to be drawn from his speeches; for since he had spoken so largely of his innocence and integrity, and holy life, and of the hard usage nevertheless he had met with from God; and had represented his own case, as if he had behaved so well as to deserve better treatment at the hand of God than to be afflicted in the manner he was; that he had wrong done him, and complained of it, and could not be heard; his judgment was taken from him by the Lord; which was in effect to say, that his cause was better than the Lord's, and would bear a stricter examination than his; which to say was, exceeding bad and unbecoming; see Job 16:17.