Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 24, 1970
NUMBER 20, PAGE 7a,8

"Skin For Skin"

John Collins

"And Satan answered Jehovah, and said, Skin for skin, yea all that a man hath will he give for his life." Job 2:4. Concerning the phrase, "skin for skin," the Pulpit Commentary says, "No doubt a proverbial expression, resembling 'Eye for eye, tooth for tooth;' 'Tit for tat,' and the like; but not expressive of retaliation. Satan means that, to keep his own 'skin' intact, a man will sacrifice an-other's 'skin,' even that of his nearest and dearest." (Vol. 7, Job, page 34).

We shall use this passage to introduce a very important topic; the value of our lives. By "our lives" we are referring to our physical lives and not our spiritual condition, although our value of one will influence the other.

To get a proper prospective we refer to Revelation 6:9, "And when he opened the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of them that had been slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held."

Therefore, we have a brilliant contrast. On the one hand, we see the individual, described by Satan, who will sacrifice anything for his physical well being, even his possessions, his position, and his family. On the other hand, we see those who will sacrifice their physical lives for their spiritual well being. Job passed the test and proved Satan wrong, at least in his case. Those under the altar passed their tests and were righteous before God. We are happy for these, but the important question is how will we fare when our time of testing comes?

We will be tested. 2 Timothy 3:12, "Yea, and all that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." Notice, Paul allows for no "ifs," "ands," or "buts." We will be put to the test.

Satan's first approach to Job gives us an indication of a type of test we may face. In Job 1:9-10 the Devil says, "doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made a hedge about him, . . . ?" The implication is that Job served God because God had allowed him to prosper and accumulate great wealth and possessions. Job, according to Satan, values these possessions so much that he serves God to keep them.

We may face similar testings involving our possessions. Consider all that we have; whether its great or small makes no difference. A man can love fifty dollars as much as five million, perhaps even more. If these were taken away from us because of tragedy and hardships, and we had nothing but our lives and the clothes on our back; would we renounce God? If only a portion of them were threatened, how would we react?

Let's turn it around. If we were in a position to gain more material possessions, would we sacrifice our standing with God to get them? Let each one of us make our own specific applications. Space doesn't permit us to go into greater detail.

Satan's second challenge to Job's faithfulness can also be a lesson to us. In the scripture we quoted at the beginning of the article, Satan accused Job of continuing to serve God because he valued his life above all. He says, in effect, Job hasn't cursed You yet because he is afraid if he does, You will take his life.

Not many of us, if any, will have to face a decision like this. We'll probably not have to make the choice between physical life with spiritual compromise and physical death with spiritual faithfulness. However, there is a testing that does reveal what our reaction would be. I John 3:16-17, "Hereby know we love, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world's goods, and beholdeth his brother in need, and shutteth up his compassion from him, how doth the love of God abide in him?" If we love our lives and physical possessions more than we love the Lord, we'll show it in our relation to others and their needs.

How would we have fared in Jerusalem during the early days of the church when members were selling their possessions to provide for the poor saints? As we catalogue our earthly "things," which would we be willing to sell in order to give the money to poor brethren? If the churches where we are were ever faced with a similar situation, that would be the pattern we would have to follow.

Then, Job's third test gives us one more opportunity for self-examination. Job's three friends turned against him and tried to "reason" him away from his faithfulness. They were false teachers.

Paul, in Ephesians 4:14 tells us that Christian maturity will allow us to remain true to Christ "that we may be no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine..."

Job was a perfect man; that is, he was spiritually mature. He was no babe in God's sight. This is why he was able to resist this final thrust of Satan, and eventually receive a great blessing from God.

Of course, the question is obvious. How much maturity do we have so we can resist the arrows of Satan? Does our spiritual growth match the number of years we've been children of God? Or are we falling behind in spiritual growth? I Corinthians 11:19 tells us, "For there must be also factions among you, that they that are approved may be made manifest among you." Spiritual testing along the lines of doctrine will come our way. We must continue to study and apply the items learned that we may grow toward maturity and thus be able to correctly discern between good and evil. If we don't we'll not be able to stand as did Job. How much are we growing toward that goal of spiritual maturity in Christ? How much do we study the Bible and apply it to our lives?

Our spiritual safety, in contrast to our possessions, family, friends, and opinions of others; should mean the most to us. Do we have the attitude of the souls under the altar? Are we willing to spend and be spent, to give all and even die "for the Word of God, and the testimony?"

There will come a day when all this world and its allurements will be gone. Then we will say as did Job, "My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle," (Job 7:6). Looking back, our lives will seem so short. How shall we stand then?

Remember the testimony of Job.

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