Living for the Lord is not as difficult an endeavor as people often think. Some unbelievers are under the false assumption that only perfect people become Christians and are allowed in the presence of God or in His holy sanctuary. If that were true, I wouldn’t have ever been able to approach God’s Throne of Grace, and neither would have David, the author of this week’s referenced psalm.
Yes, some people put on airs in our churches, seemingly holier than anyone ever born, often making others feel that they cannot measure up to many legalistic rules and regulations that have absolutely nothing to do with being a child of God. Then those same people fail to show godly traits, such as compassion, justice, love, and caring, when they are on their jobs or in public, leading individuals to question if any Christian is real or are our places of worship packed with phony people. It is why some people see no benefits to attending churches or other places of worship.
Thankfully, God is still seeking those who know that they are not perfect and are in need of a Savior, and those who are willing to put their trust in Him, understanding that he will do the cleansing after the confessions are made. In Isaiah 1:18, it says, “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.'”
Psalm 15 gives advice on how to live a blameless life, without calling for perfection. In it, David reduced the requirements to enter into the presence of God, mainly where the Ark of the Covenant resided, down to eleven elements, not the hundreds of commandments found in the Old Testament.
David understood that living lives acceptable to God was never meant to be overwhelming and seemingly unattainable, filled with impossible edicts, but easy to bear. Indeed, in Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” So, let’s examine what it takes to live blameless lives, according to King David, comprehending that these commandments are still needed today.
Psalm 15:1-2 Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts.
As David was bringing the Ark of the Covenant back to the Jerusalem and placing it among God’s people, David asked God who was allowed to enter His presence. It is a rhetorical question, meaning that David was not expecting an answer from God, but, instead, he had his own beliefs. David answered that it was those who lived blameless lives before God and human beings.
He is not saying those who are perfect, for David was not perfect himself, but he is speaking of people who live with integrity, especially in the ways that they treat the people around them, whether in their homes, on the streets, in the workplace, or in our places of worship, including strangers and people whom they may consider to be different from themselves. With sincere hearts of love for others, they seek to always do what is right and just in their dealings with other people. Micah 6:8 reminds us, “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
Psalm 15: 3 Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends.
David emphasized that to live a blameless life means controlling your tongue, being mindful of what you say about others. James 3:5 reminds us, “In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.” For it to be one of the smallest parts of the body, it has caused more wars and misunderstandings than anything else. The tongue is so hard to tame, but it must be disciplined, if we are to live in ways acceptable to God.
Gossip is harmful, because it is never about what is good in a person’s life. It is meant to denigrate and cause harm. And when it occurs in places of worship, it can destroy relationships and lose people their positions. Gossips don’t usually take time to research the information, they simply spread it, whether it is true or false, and slander and back-biting has destroyed many people’s marriages, relationships, careers, and lives. And, what is amazing to me, is that often the gossip and the slanderer will tell you that they are doing God’s work, but God’s work never includes false allegations that hurt others.
The person who comes into the presence of God makes known that they are not willing to listen to gossip. A preacher in Portugal told Douglas and me recently that when one of his parishioners start to tell him about another parishioner, he stops them and tells them that he needs to send for the other person to be part of the conversation. He told us that after doing that to many people, no one comes to him with gossip any more. Great way to handle the situation. We must learn to refuse to listen to gossip, for what the gossip and slanderer wants more than anything is an audience who will appreciate their false witnessing
Psalm 15: 4 Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the Lord, and keep their promises even when it hurts.
David asserted that people who live blameless lives do not associate with individuals who fragrantly sin, meaning knowingly sinning for the pleasure derived from it. They distance themselves from people who do evil for the fun of it, hurting other people to gain power, control, or wealth.
David stated that they are people who honor the faithful followers of the Lord, meaning that they show respect to and defer to people who are real in their Christian walk. They are able to discern between true and false worship, as well as true and false prophets and witnesses. They prefer to be in the company of those who walk uprightly. This type of discernment can only come from God through the Holy Spirit.
Moreover, when they make a pledge or a vow, they honor it. Their word is their bond. That seems old-fashioned, but the person with integrity who chooses to do what is right, keeps a promise, even if in doing so, they lose financially or otherwise.
Psalm 15:5 Those who lend money without charging interest, and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent. Such people will stand firm forever.
Lastly, David believed that a blameless life included lending without charging interest, as was required of the Jews, and not being willing to lie or bear false witness for money. No matter how difficult one’s financial situation became, people were not to profit off the misfortune of others.
Davis ended the psalm by stating that people who followed his rules for a blameless life would stand firm before God forever. David’s beliefs come down to living a life that truly demonstrates a love for God and a love for others, which is what Jesus still requires of His people. For in Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
Jesus is not calling for perfect people, but people willing to live in a way that demonstrates a desire to do what is right in our dealings with others. Indeed, the yoke and burden of being a Christian is easy and light, for it simply requires us to treat people the way we want to be treated. If you don’t wish to be gossiped about, then don’t gossip and slander others.
If you are upset by broken promises, then keep your promises to others. But, mainly, confess your sins to God, invite Him into your heart, ask Jesus Christ to be your Savior, leading and guiding you in living a blameless life. And, believe me, we all sin, for it is part of our nature. As Christians, we must surrender every day, asking God to forgive our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Living a blameless life requires us to search our hearts and motives every day, as we seek perfection when the Kingdom of God comes.