As we begin a New Year of seeking the Lord, I would like to pose a very astute question that was originally asked by the psalmist:
“Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood And has not sworn deceitfully. He shall receive a blessing from the LORD And righteousness from the God of his salvation.” (Psa 24:3-5; cf., Psa 15)
Only the one with clean hands and a pure heart may ascend the Lord’s mountain or stand in His holy place! Nobody with unclean hands or an impure heart of any kind may ascend. Nobody who has engaged in falsehood or deceit may ascend. Nobody who has bowed to any idol may ascend. The standard of heaven is high! And although the Lord still loves us, He is not going to lower His standard for anyone. Therefore, we need to find out how we can ensure we have clean hands and a pure heart.
What does it mean to have clean hands in God's sight? The word “clean” in Psalm 24 comes from the Hebrew word naqiy (pronounced, naw-kee') which means- "innocent: - blameless, clean, clear, innocent, free, guiltless, exempted, quit." (Strongs)
It means you have done nothing wrong, like the way Joseph, son of Jacob, said to His brothers that only the one caught with the silver in his pouch would be his slave, but all the others would be free (naqiy). Likewise, this Hebrew word, naqiy is used when a person is liberated from slavery or released from an oath they made. Moreover, naqiy may also be used to refer to "innocent" blood is shed, which is the blood of a person, who is not guilty of wrongdoing, such as the Lord Jesus Christ.
He was completely innocent. “Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying, ‘Certainly this man was innocent.’" (Luk 23:47). The Greek word for “innocent” here is “dikaios,” meaning “holy, just innocent, or right.” (Strongs)
“Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’" (Mat 27:3-4a) The Greek word for “innocent” here is “athoos,” meaning “not guilty, or innocent.”
All throughout Scripture, we find that God hates the shedding of innocent blood. Yet it was His good will and purpose that the innocent blood of His only Son be shed for sinful humanity. God was pleased to do this, because He so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that all who believe in Him would not perish but have eternal life.
“For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens;” (Heb 7:26). The Greek word for “innocent” here is “akakos,” meaning “innocent or (subjectively) unsuspecting: - harmless, simple.” (Strongs). The Greek word for “undefiled” here is “amiantos,” meaning “unsoiled, that is, (figuratively) pure: - undefiled.” (Strongs).
“But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1Jn 1:7). The Greek verb for “cleanses” here is “katharizo,” meaning “to cleanse (literally or figuratively): - (make) clean (-se), purge, purify.” (Strongs).
"Jesus said to him, 'He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.' For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, 'Not all of you are clean.'" (Joh 13:10-11). The Greek word for “clean” here is “katharos,” meaning “clean (literally or figuratively): - clean, clear, pure.” (Strongs). The noun katharos here is directly related to the verb katharizo in 1 Jn 1:7.
"You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” (Joh 15:3)
“And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.--” (Col 1:21-22)
I have previously explained in my article, “The Keeping Power of God,” that because of the atonement paid for by the shedding of the innocent blood of Jesus Christ, there is something like an “atonement banner” or “arch” over all who obediently follow Him in faith. The Lord showed this to brother Roland Buck, which he wrote about in Angels on Assignment. As long as you remain in His love, keeping His Word, you remain under the covering of that arch. When God the Father looks at you, He sees you as holy blameless, and without reproach. But if you walk in rebellion or idolatry, you come out from under that protection, and God sees your sin. That’s a dangerous place to be, because the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient. (Please see Keeping Power of God).
But it is not enough to be clean in God’s sight from only a positional viewpoint. The apostle Paul said you must do something. He said, “Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.” (1Co 5:7)
Paul also taught that you must prove you are blameless and innocent, saying, “So that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,” (Php 2:15)
The seven angels who have the seven last plagues are clothed in linen, clean and bright. “After these things I looked, and the temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven was opened, and the seven angels who had the seven plagues came out of the temple, clothed in linen, clean and bright, and girded around their chests with golden sashes.” (Rev 15:5-6)
“Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.’ It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” (Rev 19:6-8)
“And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.” (Rev 19:14)
In order for our filth to be washed away, and the bloodshed to be purged from our midst, we need the Lord to do a deep work in us.
“In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth will be the pride and the adornment of the survivors of Israel. It will come about that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy--everyone who is recorded for life in Jerusalem. When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and purged the bloodshed of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning, then the LORD will create over the whole area of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, even smoke, and the brightness of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory will be a canopy. There will be a shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain.” (Isa 4:2-6)
This deep work requires that the Lord send us the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning. We need to cry out desperately for the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning, particularly the Holy Fire Baptism. Our very lives depend on it! Only then will we experience a cloud by day, even smoke, and the brightness of a flaming fire by night, and a canopy over all the glory.
A Pure Heart
What does it mean to have a pure heart? The word “pure” in Psalm 24 comes from the Hebrew word “bar” meaning “beloved, pure, empty: - choice, clean, clear, pure.” (Strongs)
All the gold used in the tabernacle, its furnishings and utensils has to be pure. In heaven, the Holy City and its streets are made of pure gold. It’s as clear as glass, because it is unmixed with any impurity.
“The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.” (Rev 21:18)
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word.” (Psa 119:9)
“Your word is very pure, Therefore Your servant loves it.” (Psa 119:140)
“My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them And health to all their body. Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth And put devious speech far from you. Let your eyes look directly ahead And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Watch the path of your feet And all your ways will be established. Do not turn to the right nor to the left; Turn your foot from evil.” (Pro 4:20-27)
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Mat 5:8)
“Who can say, ‘I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin’?” (Pro 20:9)
“And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (1Jn 3:3)
“Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Heb 10:22)
“For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” (2Co 11:2-3)
“But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1Ti 1:5)
“Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” (2Ti 2:22)
“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (Jas 1:27)
Putting it All Together
Only the one with clean hands and a pure heart may ascend into the hill of the LORD. The only one who can say, “I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin” is the one who has been washed in the innocent blood of Jesus, and who continues to keep His Word. The Word is pure, and the Lord Jesus is pure. You are all clean, if you have bathed in the blood of Jesus and continue to walk in obedience to the commandments of Jesus. Our hearts are sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies are washed with pure water.
However, we must purify ourselves, just as He is pure. Now is the time that we must cry out desperately for the Lord to wash away our filth and purge the innocent bloodshed from our midst, by the spirit of judgment and the Spirit of burning.
We must prove ourselves to be blameless and innocent. We must flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. We must draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith. We must have love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. In God’s sight, pure religion is to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
The Bride of Christ must now make herself ready for the wedding, when she will be married to the glorious Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. Indeed it was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. The saints will live in heaven with the Lord Jesus forever, where the Holy City and its streets are made of pure gold. The pure in heart shall see God, which is the greatest blessing of all.
Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. The "Purity" painting © 2012 is by Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist.
Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, I recommend reading my articles Called to be Blameless, Only the Holy -- Three Shocking Testimonies, Michael Thomas Sambo's Revelation of Heaven and Hell, Godly Attire and Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations, Aim for Perfection, Called to be Blameless, Ezekiel Moses Testimony of Heaven and Hell, Holy Living in a Perverted World, and Holy Fire Baptism. You may also like the other posts in this blog available through the main directory for Seeking the Lord, or my blog directory at "Writing for the Master."
Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus. Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?
“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15). He preached that we must repent and believe.
Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International. He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.