by Mike Ratliff
11 The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them. (Psalm 89:11 ESV)
God worked out the circumstances in my walk so that right after I repented and turned from my self-focused religiosity to walking before Him as one bearing his own cross I was drawn into this discernment ministry. Through this I became aware of the decades of apostasy that the visible church was in and how so much of what we call “church” in our time is not. The move away from God-focused Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy in the Church to what we see in the majority of the visible church today into man-centeredness was accomplished mostly in small, behind-the-scenes moves. Why? It is always done this way by Satan’s change agents because what is being done can only be accomplished via deception. If these people were upfront with what they were trying to accomplish, it would be stopped cold by those with the basic level of discernment. However, we are now in a stage in their process where we see the carnage of apostasy with local church after local church all across this globe going the way of man-focused seeker-sensitivity, losing their eternal focus, and along with that, the Gospel itself. Remember that this was accomplished as a fruit of deceit. In the New Testament, the word that is translated from the Greek as “deceit” is δόλος or dolos. Our Lord Jesus lists δόλος as one of the sins that come out of the human heart in Mark 7:22. He stated about Nathanael that there is no δόλος in him in John 1:47. Paul and Peter also include δόλος in their list of vices (Romans 1:29; 1 Peter 2:1). Let’s face it, δόλος is serious to those who truly fear God. Of course, to those who have no fear of God, so what, right? Let’s take a closer look.
1 The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, 2 for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. 3 Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? 4 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. 5 He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. 6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah 7 Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 8 Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle! 9 Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 10 Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah (Psalms 24:1-10 ESV)
Who owns it all? It is the Lord’s earth, all of it, including those who dwell therein (v1). Let’s focus on vv3-5).
3 Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? 4 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. 5 He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. (Psalm 24:3-5 ESV)
This is very clear. Not everyone will ascend the hill of the Lord and stand in His holy place. Those who do are those who are true Christians, those who are truly in Christ whose sins are covered by His blood for they have clean hands and pure hearts. They are regenerate and, therefore, they walk in repentance and so have turned from the works of the flesh to walk according to the works of the Spirit. Therefore, they do not lift up their soul to what is false (false worship, false religion, et cetera) nor do they swear deceitfully. In other words, they take on Christ’s character, He had no δόλος in him and those who take on Christlikeness have none either. They do not operate under the radar with the philosophy of “The ends justify the means.” No, that is deceitful and is a mark of the enemy of our souls.
The following is from C.H. Spurgeon in reference to Psalm 24:4:
Outward practical holiness is a very precious mark of grace. It is to be feared that many professors have perverted the doctrine of justification by faith in such a way as to treat good works with contempt; if so, they will receive everlasting contempt at the last great day. If our hands are not clean, let us wash them in Jesus’ precious blood, and so let us lift up pure hands unto God. But “clean hands”will not suffice, unless they are connected with “a pure heart.” True religion is heart-work. We may wash the outside of the cup and the platter as long as we please, but if the inward parts be filthy, we are filthy altogether in the sight of God, for our hearts are more truly ourselves than our hands are; the very life of our being lies in the inner nature, and hence the imperative need of purity within. The pure in heart shall see God, all others are but blind bats.
The man who is born for heaven “hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity.” All men have their joys, by which their souls are lifted up; the worldling lifts up his soul in carnal delights, which are mere empty vanities; but the saint loves more substantial things; like Jehoshaphat, he is lifted up in the ways of the Lord. He who is content with husks, will be reckoned with the swine. Does the world satisfy thee? Then thou hast thy reward and portion in this life; make much of it, for thou shalt know no other joy.
“Nor sworn deceitfully.” The saints are men of honour still. The Christian man’s word is his only oath; but that is as good as twenty oaths of other men. False speaking will shut any man out of heaven, for a liar shall not enter into God’s house, whatever may be his professions or doings. Reader, does the text before us condemn thee, or dost thou hope to ascend into the hill of the Lord? – C.H. Spurgeon
Examine yourselves my brethren. Are you serving our dear Lord with pure motives? Do you have clean hands and a pure heart or are you a pretender? I was rebuked once by an Emergent fellow for a post I wrote on how the Christian must properly walk through this life in the fear of God. He said that there was no reason to fear God for God was Love. No matter what Biblical proof I used to show him the judgment that awaits, he would not listen. Unbelief is indeed an amazing thing to behold.
Soli Deo Gloria!