By David R. Ferguson
In Psalm 24:3-5, the psalmist wrote, "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."
We know that the One Who ultimately ascended the hill of the LORD and stands in God's holy place is Jesus Christ. He is the only One Who has perfectly clean hands and a pure heart, the only One Who can save us from our sin! As Christians, it’s our desire to be pure and clean as is our Maker, but as hard as we may try, we will never be able to achieve this goal. That is, not by our self. The good news, however, is that we can stand pure before the Lord! Not because of our own good works, but because God promised us in His word that He would send His Spirit to transform our hearts and cause us to love God and His Law. And in Jesus Christ that transformation begins.
“And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep Mine ordinances, and do them” (Ezekiel 36:25-27).
We see God as He has revealed Himself to us in His word and through the eyes of faith. One glorious day, however, we shall see Him as He is on that Last Day! John wrote in 1 John 3:1-3, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure.” When we are clothed in Jesus Christ in baptism (Galatians 3:27), we are purified as our sins are washed away (Acts 22:16).
Moses wanted to see the Lord face to face, but he could not do so and still live (Exodus 33:20). However, when we are in Jesus Christ, we no longer have to be fearful, for Jesus promised that, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matthew 5:8). What a promise, indeed, that is in which we can look forward: To see the Lord face to face! And in fact, in the end it is only those who can look the Lord in the face who will live eternally!
- David R. Ferguson preaches for the Lakeland Church of Christ in Mattoon, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lakelandchurchofchrist/ or firstname.lastname@example.org