BE LIFTED UP, O ANCIENT DOORS
Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood, and has not sworn deceitfully.
(Psalm 24:3-4, NASB.)
Almighty God, the One who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one can see and live, sovereignly extends grace and compassion to sinners. To be separated from the Eternal God who possesses all that pertains to eternal life and glory is the direst situation for every soul created in His image. Even though a person may breathe, and live life on earth according to his own wisdom and devises, true life and peace can only be experienced in reconciliation with the One who created him. Yet, no single person can initiate or establish this reconciliation through any personal or human effort. The standard is too high!
Grace, the unmerited favour of God, can only be fully understood in the light of our need to reconcile with Him. Psalm 24 establishes the LORD as the founder of the earth and all it contains, (Ps 24:1-2). YET, King David asks the most important question of all times, ‘Whom may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? (Ps 24:3) Then, David lays down the STANDARD: ‘He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood, and has not sworn deceitfully. He shall receive a blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation,’ (Ps 24:4-5). ONLY those who fulfill the requirement of righteousness can reconcile with God.
ONLY the one who has dealt with sin, falsehood, and deceit, can ascend into the hill of the LORD! It is very sad to witness, at times, that the extension of God’s grace has deviated from this essential truth. Being afraid of OFFENDING people, the gospel is often offered to sinners as a quick fix to receive blessings by simply inviting Jesus into their lives, and is often extended with the phrase, “Jesus loves you unconditionally, just as you are. Receive Him into your heart.” This gospel of grace, extended to the modern generation, shies away from the standard of reconciliation and distorts our understanding of the essence of GRACE.
No one can be reconciled with the One who lives in unapproachable light UNLESS they have dealt with UNRIGHTEOUSNESS in their own lives. According to Psalm 24, ONLY THOSE WHO HAVE CLEAN HANDS AND A PURE HEART can stand in His holy place! King David states clearly: ‘This is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek His face’ (Ps 24:6) – those who seek to have clean hands and a pure heart, (James 4:6-10).
Having positive feelings towards Jesus, or having an expectation that He will make my miserable life better, can never affect the GRACE of salvation leading to reconciliation in the life of ANY person. In order to extend true grace to sinners, we need to call them to repentance.
How then shall we enter without mediation? GRACE can thus only be understood in the light of the rest of Psalm 24. King David calls on the ancient doors to be lifted up, so that the King of glory may enter in, (Ps 24:7-10). The glorious King, Jesus Christ our Mediator, opened the WAY for sinners to enter into God’s holy presence, and LIVE!
How unsearchable and deep are the ways of the One who cannot be approached without MEDIATION! His GRACE and COMPASSION provides that His Only Son would bear the sins of every sinner who seeks redemption from DEATH. For it is HE who establishes righteousness for those who seek to be reconciled with the One who gives LIFE and PEACE to the humble, (Rom 3:9-30; Ps 51).
Thus, the gospel of grace, preached by the apostles in the book of Acts, was not an invitation to “ask Jesus into lives,” but rather to repent from sin, and thus they called, ‘Repent, and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,’ (Acts 2:38). Any gospel deviating from this straight forward invitation to deal with sin in order to receive righteousness and reconciliation will leave people confused and defeated, for they can never perceive or understand the GRACE provided through the sacrifice of God’s Only-Begotten Son.