I once heard someone describe the word holiness as “wholeness.” That when we live a holy life, that’s when we’re whole, because we’re living the way that God intended us to live.
I mentioned yesterday how when people reject God, their view of good and evil get distorted. And here in this passage we learn some basic things of what being whole is all about. Why is this important? Because of how David opens this psalm. He writes,
LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? (1)
In other words, not just anyone can enter into God’s presence. The writer of Hebrews made this very clear when he wrote,
Without holiness no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14)
What is holiness?
It’s walking blamelessly. No one can justly accuse you of doing wrong. This is not to say that no one will attempt to. Jesus was perfect, yet his enemies still found reasons to accuse him. The key word here is “justly.” Can anyone justly accuse you of doing anything wrong? Or are you blameless in their eyes?
It’s doing what’s righteous. Holiness is not just avoiding doing the bad. It’s doing what you know is right. James wrote,
Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. (James 4:17)
It’s speaking the truth from the heart. Are you a lover of truth? Or do lies, even “white lies” easily slip out of your mouth? I’m not saying that we should callously speak truth with no regard to the other’s feelings. But we are to speak the truth to people…in love. (Ephesians 4:15)
It’s avoiding slandering people. How often do you talk behind someone’s back, whether it’s a coworker, a customer, or even your spouse? Holiness avoids that kind of talk.
It’s admiring those who do right, not those who do evil. Who are your role models? Who do you strive to be like? Are you seeking to be like those who love and serve God? Or are you striving to be like those who have rejected God in their hearts? Whose values are you taking on in your heart?
It’s keeping your word, even when it’s not convenient. Even when it’s painful, you do what you said you would.
It’s being generous, helping those in need. It’s not taking advantage of another’s difficult situation, but touching them with God’s love.
Finally, it’s being honest and just. Treating all as God would, no matter their station, and no matter what possible profit it might be to you to act otherwise.
David says that this kind of person will be whole and as a result will never be shaken.
How about you? Are you holy? The good news is that if you belong to Christ, he makes you holy and righteous in God’s sight through his blood. That’s in the legal sense.
But in the practical sense, Peter says that,
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (II Peter 1:3).
In other words, we don’t have to make ourselves holy in our own strength. God empowers us to live a holy life. So each day let us strive for holiness. And as Peter went on to say,
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (II Peter 1:5-8)