1 Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? 2 Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts. 3 Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbours or speak evil of their friends. 4 Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honour the faithful followers of the Lord, and keep their promises even when it hurts. 5 Those who lend money without charging interest, and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent. Such people will stand firm forever.
I had some interesting discussions with some young people over the summertime, who couldn’t get their heads around why God couldn’t just change the rules and let us off. We were talking about how, in our fallen state, we can’t come near to God in his holiness and perfection. Water and oil can’t mix. Light destroys dark. You know the analogies!
Their objection was that, since God is in charge, he could surely just change the rules if he wants to be in relationship with us that much. They couldn’t understand that it’s like a universal principle – he is holy, we are not. Mixing the two is not going to end well for us.
Thankfully, Jesus does make it possible – he makes us righteous to stand before the Father and then gives us his Spirit to transform us day by day into holiness. You could read this Psalm as a list of things we have to achieve to enter God’s presence – and if you did, it would be a very discouraging moment! Or we can choose to read it in the light of what Jesus has done for us and celebrate that he is changing us to be evermore like him.
Questions for thought and discussion…
- Which bits of the Psalm are challenging for you personally?
- How can we communicate the great truths of the Gospel to our young people so that they truly grasp the holiness and other-ness of God?