For you said, What advantage will it be to you? and, What profit shall I have, if I be cleansed from my sin?…
Nothing is so important to man as his character.
I. THAT SELFISHNESS IS AN EVIL IN MAN'S CHARACTER." For thou saidst, What advantage will it be unto thee? and, What profit shall I have, if I be cleansed from my sin?" Whether Job expressed this selfish idea or not, Elihu's language implies that such an idea is a great evil. It is by no means an uncommon thing for men to take up religion on purely selfish motives.
1. There are some who take it up for mere worldly gain.
2. There are some who take it up for eternal gain. Their object is to escape hell and get to heaven. Religion to them is not the summum bonum, is but a means to a selfish end.
II. THAT GOD IS INDEPENDENT OF MAN'S CHARACTER "Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou. If thou sinnest, what doest thou against Him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto Him?" This being the case, it follows that sovereignty must be the principle of all His conduct with men.
1. It is the reason of all law. Why does He require us to love and serve Him? Not for His own sake, but for ours. Thus only I can become happy.
2. It is the source of redemption. Why did He send His Son into the world? He cannot be advantaged by it. "God so loved the world," etc.
3. It is the ground of rewards. The blessedness He communicates to the good, is given not on the ground of merit, but of grace.
III. THAT SOCIETY IS INFLUENCED BY MAN'S CHARACTER. One man's character is reproduced in another. The righteousness of one must profit society. Three things give every man some influence upon his race.
3. Affection.If righteous we are fountains of life, whence rivers to irrigate, purify, and beautify the world will flow down the ages.
Parallel VersesKJV: For thou saidst, What advantage will it be unto thee? and, What profit shall I have, if I be cleansed from my sin?