O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent?
Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
He who walks blamelessly and does what is rightPsalm 15
and speaks truth in his heart;
who does not slander with his tongue
and does no evil to his neighbour,
nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
in whose eyes a vile person is despised,
but who honours those who fear the LORD;
who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
who does not put out his money at interest
and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.
Psalm 15 depicts the righteous man in dimensions that appear quite out of reach for the average human being. The one who is capable of worthily standing in God’s presence is a man of complete integrity, with a complete and undivided focus on living out God’s will. Such a person embodies what it means to “hunger and thirst for righteousness”, to be “pure in heart”, and to be “persecuted for righteousness’ sake” (Matthew 5:3-12). This is the truly blessed man, the person who renders to God right worship and true religion, the one whose sacrifice God accepts.
Who among us could ever be equal to such a calling? When we search our hearts in light of scripture and by the conviction of the Holy Spirit, “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). We have sinned against God in thought, word, and deed. And we have not loved our neighbours as ourselves. Could we ever attain to the heights of the truly blessed person—the righteous man of Psalm 15 and the Beatitudes?
Only one human being has done so in every way—“Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). Jesus’ purity and righteousness can be seen in full relief in today’s Gospel reading (Mark 14:53-65), in which our Lord stands for the truth against slander, insults, and mockery. Jesus, who had no sin, proclaims God’s truth in perfect integrity. He walks blamelessly and speaks the truth. He testifies to his own hurt, suffering persecution and the penalty of death on a cross. And God accepted Christ’s sacrifice of righteousness (Hebrews 10:11-14).
The Bible has good news for us. The apostle Paul tells us that we, instead of continuing to sin, can “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14). Indeed, Paul says, all people who have been baptised “have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27). Putting on Christ means being covered by Christ, just as one is covered by one’s clothing. When we put on Christ in this way, God looks upon us just as He looks upon Christ. When we have put on Christ, our daily lives can be offered to God as living sacrifices, for we have thus been empowered to live rightly before God (Romans 12:1-2).
Through Christ and in Christ and with Christ, we can sojourn in God’s tent and dwell on God’s holy hill, standing before Him to offer Him right worship and true religion. Let us daily put on Christ, committing ourselves to God afresh just as we did in Baptism and availing ourselves of the power of the Holy Spirit, whom God gave with the water and the Word.