Can we EVER be ‘GOOD ENOUGH’ to meet God’s STANDARDS? "Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart...He who does these things shall never be moved." (Psalms 15:1-2, 5)
Psalm 15 presents a condensed summary of what God expects from His people. This is a wisdom psalm similar to Psalms 24:3–6, and it aims to clarify the requirements for approaching God’s presence. The tabernacle and the holy hill refer to the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant where the presence of God was, and where worshipers assembled for worship.
This psalm raises the question of qualifications for service in the tabernacle (v. 1), then answers that question by describing the person who has personal purity (vv. 2, 3a) and interpersonal integrity (vv. 3b–5). This psalm describes godliness in terms of character, and extends to our personal issues of integrity and honesty, our relationships with others, and the way we handle our money. This psalm explains how we should approach worship not only in terms of our inward, personal needs, but also in light of our outward, public responsibilities.
This psalm begins with two key questions to Jehovah: Who can approach the throne of God? What are the required qualifications for service in the tabernacle? These questions and answer may reflect the ancient practice in which the worshiper inquired about conditions of entrance to the sanctuary, and a priest responded. This psalm first demands holiness (vv. 1–2) and then defines holiness (vv. 3–5). No man can stand before God unless he/she walks uprightly, works righteously, and speaks truly. Faithfully obeying God’s law is indicative of one’s purity before a holy God. When a man lives righteously, there is no storm that can uproot him/her from the soil of God’s service. This psalm provides an excellent description of the life that pleases God!
Taken by itself, this psalm seems to imply that salvation is somehow connected with a man’s righteous character or noble deeds. But taken with the rest of Scripture, it can only mean that the kind of faith that saves is the same kind of faith that results in a life of holiness. Our genuine faith in God results in the kind of good works described in this psalm. However, let us be clear that the basic qualification for entrance into God’s kingdom is to be born again. Apart from the new birth, no one can see or enter the kingdom of God (see John 3:3, 5). This birth from above is experienced by grace, through faith, and takes place completely apart from any meritorious works on our part.
Thus, we can never be good enough to meet God’s standards. No one is righteous enough to approach God, except through Jesus Christ. We who are in Christ can come boldly to the throne of God because we come on the authority of His Son, so "let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:16). We, as God’s children, have now open access into God’s presence through the work of Jesus Christ. We come on the basis of His righteousness, not our own. Let us meditate on this psalm today, and ponder over the listed “qualifications” that will certainly help us to deepen our relationship with God!