I was reading Psalm 15 and was struck by the question in verse one – “Who gets to stay with God and enjoy His presence?”
Verses two through five answer that question in terms of outward behavior. The person who gets to enjoy God’s presence must be a person who is marked by righteousness.
The problem as it seems to me is this – it is possible for “righteous” behavior to mark a person who is in fact very unrighteous inside his heart and inner man.
Do not be mistaken – these behaviors must be present in a person’s actions. But they must not be behaviors we simply put on our outer man, without any change on our inner man. Instead, they must rise out of a true righteousness that is inner. A righteousness of the heart, not just of actions.
Reading this Psalm, I was reminded that I can do many things to act righteously on the outside. But the truth is that only Jesus can make me righteous on the inside. This is why the Gospel is so precious. This is why the Gospel is something we should celebrate every day.
Jesus is my righteousness, and He makes me righteous. That is what gives our outside righteousness any value at all.
And the amazing thing, in light of this Psalm, is that because of Jesus, we get to enjoy God’s presence.
The answer to verse one’s question – “Who gets to stay with God?” – is you and me! We get to be in His presence, not because we act so righteously. Rather, because Jesus made us righteous.
Furthermore, we do not just go to His tent to tabernacle there, as the Israelites did. Or go to His “holy hill,” a physical place, as this Psalm speaks of.
Rather for we who have been justified, God comes to our tent and dwells with us. How amazing!