Psalm 24 was probably written by David when he moved the Ark of the Covenant into the Tabernacle in Jerusalem. This psalm shows us what it means to be God’s true people and how Christ opened heaven for His people.
God as Sovereign
Our text begins by demonstrating that all things belong to the Lord. Everything in this earth is God’s in its entirety. Not only does God rule over and rightfully possess all things, He also rightfully possess and rules over all human beings. Although we do not like God’s sovereign rule, it is His by divine creation. He has created us, therefore He owns us and is sovereign over us.
What God requires of us
Because God is our Creator, we owe Him our allegiance, worship, and lives. However, we know from Scripture and experience that we have not lived lives that are pleasing to God. What is therefore required for us to dwell in God’s presence forever?
Clean Hands – It is not enough to profess faith in Jesus. This faith is worthless if it is not accompanied by outward change. The word for clean means “innocent” or “guiltless.” It means that only those who actions are innocent and pure can be in God’s presence.
Pure Heart – We can have many outward religious actions that seek to cover the wickedness of our own hearts. This is the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. However, God does not just desire outward religion, but a pure heart. The word pure means “clear” indicating completely free from defect.
Not desiring the things of this life – The phrase here is the same phrase used in Deuteronomy 24:15 to describe a poor person trusting in getting paid at the end of the day. In essence, the one who stands before God has not set his heart on the empty and vain things of this life. His affections are on things above.
Not swearing deceitfully – God requires truth in all things. The only ones who can stand before Him are those whose lives are free from falsehoods and lies.
Circle of Grace
Verse 5 shows us the Gospel in its fullness. God grants blessings on those who are righteous; however, He also grants the righteousness when He saves. Unfortunately, we are accustomed to separating the two. God’s salvation makes us righteous. Those who have received salvation have also received Christ’s righteousness. This is not just righteousness in the sense of justification, but righteousness in the sense of sanctification as well.
The People of God
These characteristics define the true people of God. These are the ones who are truly seeking God. These are the true Israel of God. Many people will claim to be part of the people of God, but this passage lays out the true defining characteristics of God’s people.
Are you hands clean?
Is your heart pure?
What have you set your heart upon?
Are you living a life of honesty?
Will you come to Jesus for forgiveness and the power to live righteously?