"Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?" (Psalm 15:1).
The first verse of the majestic 15th Psalm poses the question, "Who is worthy to be a guest of God?" The following verses provide us with a lofty list of actions and attributes which, if followed to perfection, would make one worthy.
First, we see that our personal character must be in harmony with God's character. "He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth" (v.2).
Next, our personal lives and relationships to others must be in order. We must not slander or do evil to others (v.3). Furthermore, we must hate evil while honoring and valuing good, and be workers of good. Our promises must be kept, even if it means personal loss (v.4). In financial matters, we must not lend money at high interest, nor take advantage of the poor (v.5).
Obviously, no human being can meet these qualifications. But all is not lost. "By grace are ye saved through faith. . . . Not of works" (Ephesians 2:8-9). Salvation does not depend on our keeping the list, for Christ kept the list, and God now sees us as if we had completely kept the list as well.
This doctrine does not imply that the Bible condones sin. We are "created in Christ Jesus unto good works" (Ephesians 2:10). He died to make His character available to us through grace. God is holy, and He demands holiness from His children. Through His grace, He makes us holy and empowers us to live in a holy manner. "Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid" (Romans 6:1-2).
These qualities and actions are not natural to man; they can only come from God. But since He has made such a lifestyle possible and gives us the power to adhere to it, He expects us to obey and keep the list. And then He promises, "He that doeth these things shall never be moved" (Psalm 15:5). JDM