Are You Good Enough?

Psalm 15 begins with a question, which I’ll paraphrase here for you: “Lord, who is good enough to live in your holy presence?” The Bible makes it rather clear that, in and of ourselves, no one is. All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s standards of holiness. Psalm 14:3 puts it this way, “All have turned away. All have become corrupt. There is no one who does good, not even one.” Jesus, in fact, is the only one who ever lived a sinless life.

In Psalm 15, David describes for us ten examples of godly behavior; ten things that cause you to ask yourself, “How well am I measuring up to these examples of goodness? Am I good enough to live in God’s holy presence?”

The first three examples are positive. We find them in verse two: “Their lives are blameless. They do what is right (i.e., what is good and pleases God). And they speak the truth from their heart.” The godly person lives with integrity. As someone has put it, “They are the same on the inside as they are on the outside.” Their conduct reflects the holy character of God. They seek to always speak the truth from their heart.

Next we see three negative examples of how we use our words and treat our neighbor. Verse three says, “Their tongue utters no slander. They do no wrong to a neighbor and they cast no slur on others.” Can you honestly say that you have never slandered or gossiped about another person? That would be great if you haven’t. But take it a step further. Have you ever listened to that kind of destructive talk? Likewise, casting a slur on another person makes them look bad. All three are evil because gossip, slander and casting slurs can ultimately destroy someone else.

Verse four essentially says this. “The righteous person loves what God loves, hates what God hates and keeps their word the way God keeps his,” (David Gundersen, NIV Grace and Truth Study Bible). Do you really hate sin and what is evil in this world? Do you genuinely love what is good, pure and pleasing to God? And what about making promises and following through on things you said you would do (even like saying that you will pray for someone, and then not doing it?)

Finally, in verse five, we are reminded of the importance of showing generosity to the poor and helping to make sure that innocent persons who have been falsely accused get justice. How much do we really show concern for the poor, the needy and the brokenhearted?

To sum it up, whether you look at the Ten Commandments, or at a list of godly characteristics like those found in Psalm 15, it becomes clear that we all fall short. Jesus is the only one worthy to approach God because he alone is perfectly good. It is by faith in Christ who died for our sins on the Cross that we are forgiven, and as a result, we receive the gift of His righteousness; (his perfect goodness). We are able now to approach God’s throne of grace with confidence and there receive mercy. There we also find grace to help us in our time of need, (Hebrews 4:16). We can now experience fellowship with a holy God, both now and, one day, in heaven.

Jim Newman is pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Exeter. He may be reached by calling 559-592-2367 or by emailing [email protected]. Prays Together is a rotating faith-based commentary and advice column among the pastors, and guest laypeople, of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church and Lemon Cove Community Church. 

This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.

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