Who May Stand in His Holy Place (Tuesday Devotion)
"WHO MAY STAND IN HIS HOLY PLACE" - Psalm 24:1-5 (New Living Translation)
The Bible declares that the condition of relationship with God our creator is Moral Holiness, and this understanding is part of what places the Old and New Testaments as the most valuable piece of literature in the world.
But learning the moral truth about God is not enough to make us acceptable to God. We realize that we are not capable of reaching God by ourselves and that is why God in Jesus Christ provides the way for us to receive by faith the work that Jesus did for us.
The question in Psalm 24 is "Who may stand in His Holy Place?" And the answer is in verse 4 - "Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies." Jesus himself said this too in his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:8). "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see as God sees."
So now we know that God is morally Holy and that only the pure in heart may come before His presence. But therefore since we know that we can't do that alone, we have tried to escape from this dilemma by lowering our sights. We try to reduce holiness to a level that is something we can manage on our own like imagining that holiness resides in specific objects or ceremonies. These perhaps could be for some the paper in Bibles on which the words are printed, the bricks in the church buildings, the 11:00 o'clock hour on Sunday mornings, and the elements in the communion services.
But holiness is not in any of these - holiness is in the message of the Bible not the paper it is written on, the lives of the believers when they are in the church building not the bricks and mortar in the church walls, and in Christ's symbolic presence in the communion service "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them", and in the communion of our spirit with God's Holy Spirit as we worship Him as Jesus said, "in spirit and in truth."
Two stories come to mind that Martin Luther told from his own experience in this regard that influenced his spiritual pilgrimage to embrace the Reformation. The first one was when he was taking the communion elements to a sick person in a poor home one day in his priestly duties. As he was trying to hand the bread to the person he dropped it on the dirt floor and immediately a rat devoured it. He had been taught to believe that it had become the actual body of Christ so he was aghast that God could allow a rat to eat the body of Christ.
Martin Luther's second experience was when he finally got the opportunity he had long hoped for to climb the steps to the Cathedral in the Vatican on his knees. He got only half way up and he said that the Holy Spirit reminded him of the scripture: "The just shall live by faith." So he stopped, stood up, turned around and walked back down repeating, "The just shall live by faith ... the just shall live by faith."
SO - "Who may stand in His Holy Place?" "Those who have clean hands and are able to live morally because their heart is becoming pure through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit." It can be you and me as God's Holy Spirit within us enables us in our pursuit of holiness.