The Psalmist opens Psalm 15 with two questions: “Who is the one who abides in God’s tabernacle? Who is the one who shall dwell in thy holy hill?”
These questions can be reduced to one primary thought: “Who is the person who lives in close fellowship with God?” Everything that follows in the Psalms is guidelines to righteous conduct and attitudes—integrity.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines integrity as 1) “a firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values—INCORRUPTIBILITY; 2) unimpaired condition—SOUNDNESS; 3) quality of being complete or undivided—COMPLETENESS.”
Fellowship with God
The Psalmist uses the phrases “abiding in God’s tabernacle (tent), and dwelling in His holy hill as metaphors for remaining in close fellowship with God. “Abiding in God’s tabernacle [tent]” and “dwelling in His holy hill” can also be symbols of God’s presence.
Fellowship with God is hindered by sin—not doing what we ought to do, doing what we ought not to do, or thinking and responding in a way that displeases God. Romans 3:20 makes clear that knowledge of sin comes through God’s law [revealed truth from God]. Romans 5:12 tells us that sin is the natural default of human beings: “12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”
Integrity begins with a heart that has been cleansed from sin. Salvation comes by accepting God’s provision for sin through Christ’s work on the cross. Biblical salvation arises from repentance from sin and turning to God in faith. Salvation from sin is the beginning point of integrity.
The journey towards biblical integrity begins with salvation but is developed, matured, or made complete through sanctification—growth in grace. Fellowship with God begins at salvation but continues throughout life as you walk with God—knowing Him, loving Him, and obeying His word.
Walking with God
Ministry integrity begins with knowing and walking with God—following God’s standards for righteousness as a result of a changed [repentant] heart. 1 John 2:5-6 reminds us, ““5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”
Conduct in scripture is often described as a “walk.” Right conduct arises from a right relationship with God. True ministry is not simply about doing but being. What you do is a manifestation of what you believe.
Jesus said in John 8:12: “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness.” Romans 8:4 states: “The righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Scripture often draws a contrast between true spirituality and carnality. True spirituality is found in God who is Spirit, light, truth, and righteousness. Walking by the flesh arises from a fallen human nature. Paul states in Romans 13:13: “13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.” According to Galatians 5:19-20, the works of the flesh are cataloged as “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.”
Are you in fellowship with God? Are you abiding in His presence? Are you dealing with sin in your heart? To confess sin is to agree with God concerning specific sins. Jesus said in John 16:8 “When he [the Holy Spirit] is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” Are you controlled by the flesh or controlled by the Spirit? Are your thoughts, reactions, decisions, and relationships the result of flesh control or Spirit control?
“Who is the one who abides in God’s tabernacle? Who is the one who shall dwell in God’s holy hill?” Begin your journey towards integrity by fellowship with God—first, through salvation, then through surrender to the Holy Spirit.
Join us next time as we continue through Psalm 15 and answer the question “what does integrity look like? What do I need to know and to do to be a man or woman of integrity?”