Friday, February 11, 2022

A Righteous Standard (Psalm 15)

"LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness" (Psalm 15:1–2a).

Returning to the Psalms, we examine David’s consideration of who may come into God’s presence. David realized many hypocrites praise God with their lips but do not honor Him with their lives. Because the hypocrite is so careful to fulfill the obligations of religion, David focuses on the second table of the Law to answer the question “Who may live on Your holy hill?” The true hypocrite is often unveiled when we analyze his relation to his neighbor. This was Jesus’ point when He told the parable of the good Samaritan. Calvin said, “If we really wish to be reckoned among the number of the children of God, the Holy Ghost teaches us that we must show ourselves to be such by a holy and upright life.” Those who continue in sin, who show no love toward neighbors, are not counted among God’s people. David stresses this describing the child of God as one “who walks uprightly, and works righteousness.”

David also emphasizes the need for a sincere and truthful heart. This is contrary to the hypocrites who are dead within, acting out of selfish interests instead of sincerity of heart. The true follower of God thinks of others by not slandering their name or doing them any wrong. He despises the ways of the wicked and keeps the fear of the Lord before him. His concern with honoring others makes him willing to keep his oaths even when it hurts, and he won’t speak falsely against the innocent.

The child of God is also deeply concerned about those who have less than he does. David includes this virtue in his list under the auspice of not charging usury. Again Calvin: “This was a part of the judicial law which God appointed for the Jews in particular; but it is a common principle of justice which extends to all nations and to all ages, that we should keep ourselves from plundering and devouring the poor who are in distress and want.”

The only way a person is enabled to achieve such a righteous standard is through Jesus Christ. In Him we obtain righteousness judicially, and by His Spirit we are enabled to obey God’s commands and approach Him in holiness. It is our responsibility to exert ourselves in obedience, not because we earn our salvation by it, but because this is the mark of regenerate people.

Read 2 Peter 1:3–11. How are God’s people to live? Why is this necessary? Are only those who persevere in righteousness saved? Why is this not the same thing as earning one’s salvation? Think about these questions this weekend and thank God for the grace by which you stand.