We heard of a righteous generation in Psalm 14, and here is one of them as a representative of the whole. None can be said to have fulfilled the conditions, or come up to the character sketched here, except Christ, if viewed in its strictness. Although every member of His body lays claim to His imputed obedience and exhibits a goodly specimen of the effect of this imputation in producing personal holiness.
We consider this Psalm as descriptive or our Head in His personal holiness, and of his members as made holy by Him.
It is one thing to state how holiness is attained, and quite another to assert that perfect holiness is possessed. When you describe a worshipper in the Holy Hill as one who is holy, you do not on that account maintain that his holiness was self-derived, or that it was his primary qualification.
Far less do you assert that holiness of character stands in the place of the blood that cleanses the conscience. there are several links in the golden chain, and my pointing to one of these does in no way interfere with my conviction of the necessity of the rest.
If I find it said of our Lord:
"It is Christ that died; yes, rather that is risen again!
Who is even at the right hand of God. Who also makes intercession for us,"
I may take up one feature of this Redeemer, and may say, "He who saves us is One who is risen again;" but by so saying I do not deny, but rather necessarily include, the assertion, that He died first of all.
So also if I say, "He who is saved is one who has holiness" I do not by saying this deny that the man has first of all been made clean by the blood: on the contrary, I imply that as a thing of course, necessarily preceding the other. Again if I say, "that Priest has washed his hands and feet in the laver."
I do not deny, but, on the contrary, necessarily imply, that first of all he was at the Altar, and touched the blood there. Or, once more, if I read 1 Tim 1:5,
"Now the end of the commandment is charity,
Out of a pure heart,
And out of a good conscience,
And out of faith unfeigned."
I may fix on the middle clause and say, the love, or charity, aimed at by the law, is the product of a "good conscience." But do I, on account of that statement, at all deny that "faith unfeigned" is needful in order to arrive at a good conscience?
It is even thus with our Psalm when received as stating what belongs to the members of Christ. It tells of their "pure heart;" but then that pure heart came from "a good conscience;" and that good conscience was the effect of "unfeigned faith" in the blood.
It is, however, only our Head that can fully realise the character given here. "Holiness to the Lord" is on our High Priest's mitre, while we, as inferior priests, go forward in his steps, to dwell in the Tabernacle.
The question is asked, v1: who shall dwell? abide, be a guest forever, in the palace of our King and God? Verse 2 tells the outward purity required, and the inward guilelessness. Verse 3, the purity of word; verse 4 company; verse 5, disinterested and self-denied love to His neighbours; verse 5, uprightness, if He once promise he will not "exchange" his promise for anything more convenient to himself, and will not fail to show the heart of a brother in everyday transactions.
These are signs of a renewed nature, very rare in our world, and such as manifest the man to be, "though in the world, yet not of the world." In verse 4, we have the key to the difference between such a one and the man of earth. "He honored those who fear the Lord;" his heart lies in the company of those who fear Jehovah; and if so, then he himself prefers Jehovah's company to all besides. He is one who has fellowship with God.
But we must not fail to notice the "Tabernacle" and the "Holy Hill," where this man's dwelling shall be forever. The Tabernacle of Moses, which, in David's days, was pitched on the slopes of Zion Hill is the type of greater things.
In that figure we see God in the cloud of glory over the mercy seat, dwelling with men, and the Priest entering in on the atonement day to His presence. All this was typical of what is now before us in clearer light.
The redeemed go in with the blood of the Redeemer through the torn veil, for the atonement day is now, to Him who is in heaven.
And when the Lord returns, and the Tabernacle of God is with men, when Christ, the true mercy seat is here - then shall we go to that Tabernacle, and see Him, on that Holy Hill, where his presence shall be manifested. We see more of this in Psalm 24.
But on that day none shall ascend that Hill or approach that Tabernacle who are not sanctified. On this point Revelation 21:27 corresponds with our Psalm - into New Jerusalem "there shall in no wise enter anything that defiles or make a lie." Over its gate is written "without holiness no man shall see God."
Here then we have before us a description of The dweller in the Holy Hill of God.