“Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place?” (Psalm 24:3)
Churches and religious people all over the world today will ask the question, what does God require of us. Some will answer the question according to their own internal inclinations and others will look to a holy book that does not come from the one true God.
The Bible, however, is the book that comes from God, which also holds the answer to all the really important questions in life. It is a book containing 2 testaments, the Old and the New. It is an interesting note that the Oxford dictionary defines testament as, A person’s will, especially the part relating to personal property. A will is in affect when someone dies and the Bible’s main theme is salvation through Jesus’ life and death. A will is also concerned with personal property, which is exactly where Psalm 24 begins.
“The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it.” (Psalm 24:1)
The Bible makes it very clear that God holds the deed to everything, which is only right because apart from Him nothing would have come into being, and neither would anything continue.
“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36)
It is amazing what God can accomplish through 3 simple pronouns. “From” Him all things were created, “through” Him all things continue, including our heartbeat, and “unto” Him, which means all things are for God’s purposes and not our own.
Seeing that God has ownership of all things and He will bring all people to account one day, it is a very important question to answer – what is it that He requires. The answer is given in verse 3,
“He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood And has not sworn deceitfully.”
A clean hand is symbolic of having done a good deed. However, it is out of the heart that the deeds are done for good or for evil. The deed can be good but the intent of it evil, so it is not enough to do a good deed before God, the intention must be good as well. We are further told that the man who has not lifted up his soul, which is clearly a condition of pride, out of which men tell lies about themselves to appear better than they are. The man who would stand before the Lord must then be of a humble heart. And he cannot make a promise with the intention of breaking it. He must not swear that he is something that he is not, which is the thing hypocrisy is made out of.
About the man spoken of in verse 4 the Bible says in verse 5 and 6,
“He shall receive a blessing from the LORD And righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face”
It is the person of a humble state, who also tells the truth about himself, and without hypocrisy that finds favor with God and receives righteousness. What is in effect in the Hebrew is a seeking heart after God, this man is saved by God. Righteousness, therefore, is something given to those who are saved by God and not through their own self-righteousness and pride.
The apostle Paul said it this way when referring to himself and his salvation experience.
“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am fore most of all.” (1 Timothy 1:12-15)
Even a superficial rendering of Paul’s words reveal a humble spirit in a man that was saved by the grace (unmerited favor of God), who then received faith and love as a gift. And the faith that he received from God is also the same faith and love that was working through him, and not something that he manufactured in himself. Paul was made humble by God and therefore he could refer to himself as a sinner saved by Jesus Christ. It was for this very purpose that Christ came into the world – to save sinners. Furthermore, Paul was made to see that of all sinners he was the worst of all. Had he not been saved but sent to the place that he deserved, he would have occupied the very lowest level of hell. At least in his own eyes, which should be the view everyone has of themselves that is saved by God’s grace.
“Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place?” Those who are saved by the matchless grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who will then, with His aid, also seek Him with their heart, and desire His pleasure, praise, honor, and glory. Amen.