Colleges have an entrance exam. Some employers require a work-related exam for certain job applicants. And did you know there’s an entrance exam for Heaven?
Psalm 15 – Heaven’s Entrance Exam
Do you have a favorite restaurant? How about a favorite get-away retreat? Everyone has their go-to places in life. We may not call them that, but they are the places or things we often go back to in order to celebrate and/or evaluate. For me, one of those things is Psalm 15. I like to stop by and look at this short little Psalm. Why? Well, it opens with a very BIG question: Who may abide? The Burnett translation is:
Who gets to live at God’s House?
And answering that question is what Equipping For Life is all about.
Entrance Exam – No Grading Curve!
This little Psalm is characteristic of God’s Word; great truths are packed into tught spaces! In this case, just 5 verses. So how does David answer his opening question? Looking through the verses of the Psalm, we see the person who can live in God’s house. What do you see?
- An upright person
- A righteous person
- A truth-speaking person
What does it mean if one is speaking the truth in his heart? This is a person who is honest with themselves about themselves. That’s tough! But it’s necessary to be honest with one’s self if we are to be honest with others.
Moving on down, we see a person who doesn’t harm others with the tongue. Ouch! That’s someone who refrains from sharing the latest, juicy gossip about a brother or neighbor. A bunch of folks have lost sight of that one!
But gossip is just the surface issue when it comes to how we use words. Dare I bring up social media? Words can build up or they can tear down (see Proverbs 25:11). And too many people who call themselves Christian are putting destructive words on display for the world to see. David knew nothing of the internet, but not harming others with words still applies!
If the tongue thing wasn’t hard enough, next we see a person who knows what evil is and actually calls it evil! Does that person actually exist in a society obsessed with political correctness? We don’t seem to be able to call anything wrong anymore. Looks like Heaven’s population isn’t growing very fast!
I Know Your Test Results!
There are a couple of verses left, and you can fill in the blanks on those. If we’re honest, we know each other’s score on this entrance exam in Psalm 15. Why? Because we all failed! So why would I want to visit this Psalm and beat myself up over what I can’t do?
It’s not about what I can or can’t do. Who meets the standard in Psalm 15? Christ does. What is God’s truth about you and me? We are hidden in Christ (see Colossian 3:1-11). We are robed in His righteousness because, quite frankly, we don’t have any.
That is the beauty of the grace Christ displayed on the cross. His death met the righteous demands of judgment on my sins and yours. And to receive His righteousness we need only give our sinful selves to Him in confession and repentance. That is a mind-blowing thought. And only our Father and Redeemer can love like that.
Jesus our Savior meets and exceeds every one of the requirements in this Psalm. Therefore, we also meet them because we are hidden in Him. Now, should we strive to pass the test? Of course. But as you struggle and grow to be a person whose life is marked by such traits, be blessed and encouraged that Christ meets every requirement! And that ought to bring another promise to your mind – that one about peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7).
One more thing. When your brother or sister fails at one or more of these requirements, remember to extend to them the grace you’d like to receive when you blow it.
Soli Deo Gloria!
P.S. – Verse 4 seems to challenge me more and more. How are we to meet the simulataneous demands of despising a vile person (and there’s a growing number of those!) while loving others in Jesus’ name? Feel free to share your thoughts!