Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord?Psalm 15:1-2 NLT
Who may enter your presence on your holy hill?
2 Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right,
speaking the truth from sincere hearts.
The Lord looks down from heavenPsalm 14:2-3 NLT
on the entire human race;
he looks to see if anyone is truly wise,
if anyone seeks God.
3 But no, all have turned away;
all have become corrupt.
No one does good,
not a single one!
Psalm 14 and 15 seem almost to stand in contradiction to one another. Psalm 15 says only the blameless worship in God’s sanctuary, while Psalm 14 says there is not a single person that seeks God or does good.
Seeking to accurately handle the word of God, and accurately understand these two teachings, leads me to search out the greater context of all of Scripture.
What do I know?
- Man is sinful (Romans 3:23, and hundreds of other references).
- God is holy. (as he is repeatedly recognized in Revelation).
- Sin separates us from God (Romans 6:23).
- Jesus allows a relationship with God and the gift of eternal life through his holiness (John 3:16).
- I cannot be good enough to get to heaven, I cannot boast of my own worthiness to be saved (I Corinthians 1).
I am a sinner. I do not live a blameless life. My worth is not in myself.
Thankfully, Christ paved the way. His holiness has become my own. No other truth of scripture is as life-critical as recognizing the power of the gospel. We cannot pick up Psalm 15 and use it as a list to follow to earn our way into God’s sanctuary or “holy hill.”
If my place in his kingdom relied on my ability to not gossip, speak truth, walk in complete integrity, and despise sin, I would have a life without hope.
Thankfully, Psalm 16 pulls together my praise.
Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing.
You guard all that is mine.
6 The land you have given me is a pleasant land.
What a wonderful inheritance!
7 I will bless the Lord who guides me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I know the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
9 No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.Psalm 16: -11 NLT
My body rests in safety.
10 For you will not leave my soul among the dead
or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.
11 You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever.
Christ’s perfection overlays my sinfulness. He is my one defense when I stand seeking entrance to eternity. He died for my sinful self and every sin past, present, and future as I continue to live obediently to Him, and fail time and again. No sense in trying to be good enough to secure my spot in eternity. His perfection makes me enough. He can now “Scrutinize me and find nothing wrong.” I cannot even grasp that. The all-knowing, all-seeing, holy God of the universe picks over every inch of my mind, body, and soul and sees nothing left to atone for and opens His arms to welcome me home.
David understood this even before Christ had lived on this earth, but we now have an even fuller understanding of the miracle God extends to us and the cost He extracted from His Son on our behalf. Why do I sometimes think I can add something to that by making better choices?
Out of an abundance of gratitude, I seek to live a life of obedience and appear noticeably different from the world. To seek anything less in this life is evidence I know nothing of Calvary’s love (hat tip to Amy Carmichael’s many writings that close with that phrase).
Lord God, your holiness continues to confound me, a simple sinner. I don’t deserve salvation, could never earn it, but humbly come as you have prompted. Help me not to be distracted by any hurt, challenge, or sin, but through it all to keep my eyes fixed and my hope sure. In Jesus name, amen.