Psalms 24:3-6 ESV
“Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false
and does not swear deceitfully.
He will receive blessing from the Lord
and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah”
What is the hill of the Lord? Back then it was Zion. And what or who is Zion today? Well, if we read Isaiah 2 it becomes clear that Zion is now Jesus Christ and his church, for we are his body. For it says in Isaiah 2, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” This is speaking of the latter days and it is speaking of Jesus Christ.
So, to ascend the hill of the Lord under the New Covenant is to come to Jesus Christ. And what is required of us? To have clean hands a pure heart. Does that work with the gospel? Yes! For to come to Jesus Christ by God-given faith in Christ is to be crucified with Christ in death to sin, and it is to be raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him in holiness and in righteousness and in obedience to our Lord and to his commands.
For “we know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin” (Romans 6:6). So, we are to “not let sin therefore reign in our mortal bodies, to make us obey its passions” (v. 12). And “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?” (v. 16).
And God, “By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:3-4). That sounds a whole lot like clean hands a pure heart. “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (vv. 7-8).
So, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if we live according to the flesh we will die in our sins, but if by the Spirit we put to death the deeds of the body, we will live with Christ for eternity. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God (Romans 8:12-14). And that is important to know that. We are not children of God by a mere profession of faith in Jesus Christ. We are God’s children when we are being led by him and when we are following that lead.
For Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, and take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self, we will lose them for eternity. But if we, for the sake of the name of Jesus, are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, then we have the hope of eternal life (Luke 9:23-26).
And Jesus said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven but only the one DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven. For many will stand before Jesus on that Day, and they will call him “Lord,” and they will proclaim all the things they did in his name. But he is going to say to them, “I never knew you. Depart from me you workers of lawlessness,” because they refused to obey the Lord (Matthew 7:21-23).
So, yes, under the New Covenant we must have clean hands and a pure heart. We don’t have to have these prior to coming to faith in Jesus Christ, but they must be part of what we become in the process of coming to him in faith, and which is continuous and ongoing. We don’t come to him just once and then that is it until we go to heaven. We have to be coming to him every day. Daily we must be dying with him to sin and living to him and to his righteousness, and this must continue unto the very end.
So, this means we are no longer walking in sin, making sin our practice, but now righteousness and obedience to our Lord are what we practice. And we don’t lift up our souls to what is false, i.e. we don’t follow after gospels of men which are telling people that all they have to do is profess faith in Jesus Christ and now they are good to go. They are telling them that all their sins are forgiven (past, present, and future), and that heaven is now guaranteed them when they die regardless of how they live their lives. FALSE!
So, we are not to buy into the lies. And the way we make certain that what we are believing is the truth is that we need to know the Scriptures. And we get to know what they teach by studying them IN THEIR CONTEXT. And context is critical. For many false doctrines stem from Scriptures removed from their context and made to say something the Scriptures do not teach.
So, we need to be people of God who are walking righteously, for whom sin is not our practice, but that godliness and obedience to our Lord are what we practice. And we need to be walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, and we must be seeking after our Lord daily to follow in his ways and in his truth. But not one of us can do this in our own flesh or in our own power and strength. This is only possible by the grace of God and by his strength and power now at work in our lives.
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Living by Faith
Lyrics by James Wells, 1918
v. 4 by Robert E. Winsett, 1918
Music by J. L. Heath, 1918
I care not today what the morrow may bring,
If shadow or sunshine or rain,
The Lord I know ruleth o’er everything,
And all of my worries are vain.
Living by faith in Jesus above,
Trusting, confiding in His great love;
From all harm safe in His sheltering arm,
I’m living by faith and feel no alarm.
Though tempests may blow and the storm clouds arise,
Obscuring the brightness of life,
I’m never alarmed at the overcast skies—
The Master looks on at the strife.
I know that He safely will carry me through,
No matter what evils betide;
Why should I then care though the tempest may blow,
If Jesus walks close to my side.
Our Lord will return for His loved ones someday,
Our troubles will then all be o’er;
The Master so gently will lead us away,
Beyond that blest heavenly shore.
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