Read Psalm 15. Go head. I’ll wait. It’s short.
The Psalmist, David, opens with a question: “O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?” (V.1). David is saying, who shall enter into the presence of the Lord? Who is worthy? He then answers his own question. Basically, only the righteous will enter into the presence of the Lord. God isn’t going to allow sinful, unbelieving rebels to enjoy His glorious presence. People whose lives aren’t right (V.2a), who hearts aren’t pure (2b), who lie, cheat and steal, they won’t see the Lord.
That probably doesn’t surprise you. We’re all hard wired to believe that bad people go to Hell and good people go to Heaven.
But look at the text again, and ask yourself this question: Would you qualify to enter into the presence of the Lord based on the standards of Psalm 15? For example, do you “walk blamelessly” and do “what is right” every day? Probably not. I am sure you have moments that you’re not proud of. I know I do. Can you honestly say that you’ve never lied or slandered someone with your words or been angry with a friend (V.3)? Have you ever given someone your word but then changed your mind (V.4)?
I could go on, but you see my point. We don’t meet God’s standards, and this is just based on one psalm. What do you think would happen if continued going through the whole Bible examining and applying all of God’s laws to our lives? It wouldn’t be pretty. Not to mention, James says, “whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it” (James 2:10). That’s staggering. Think of it. Even if we upheld the entire law of God, disobeying just one command makes us guilty of the whole thing. No wonder Paul said, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
So, going back to David’s original question. Who is worthy to enter into the presence of the Lord? (V.1). Absolutely no one! We’re all guilty and deserve to be penalized for breaking God’s law, and the penalty is death (Romans 6:23).
But our God is gracious and desires to save us. This is why He “sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5). What David laid out for us, and what I have been applying to our lives, is the law of God. All of us, at one time, were under God’s law, and though the law is good, it only serves to expose our sin and condemn us before God. We can’t earn God’s favor through the law. But Jesus did. God’s son was born as a man and He obeyed the law of God perfectly in our place.
Jesus walked blamelessly every day. He always spoke the truth in his heart and never slandered his neighbor. He loved His neighbor. In fact, He loved His neighbor so much that He died for His neighbor. What’s even more incredible is that He died for His enemies. That’s what we become when we rebel and break the law of God. We’re not poor victims of our circumstances. We’re enemies of the God of Heaven. And His right judgment should have come against us. But Christ has not only lived the perfect life outlined in Psalm 15, He died the death that Psalm 15 demands upon those who can’t live according to its standards.
Now, those who trust in Christ are forgiven of all their shortcomings and sins. Furthermore, we’re clothed with the righteousness of Christ, and the good news is we can now enter into the presence of the Lord now and forever.
So, who is worthy? Christ, and everyone who believes in Him!
Thanks for reading!
Brandon Sutton is the pastor at Blue Ridge Christian Union Church and the founder of Sutton Church Consulting (Suttonconsultations.com). You can email him at email@example.com