You want to be a citizen of heaven? Would you like to know where you are going to spend eternity? This is an issue many have dealt with through the many centuries humanity has existed. In American society today the typical person seems to hope to go to heaven but doesn’t seem to think they can really know for sure. Fortunately, the bible does give us a clear cut, sure-fire way to know that we know that we will be there.
The New Testament says if we believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, and make Him Lord, be baptized, and repent of our sins we will be saved from eternity in hell, and we will spend eternity in heaven! To believe the gospel does not just mean to agree intellectually with it. It actually means to live out the gospel. If you truly believe, and I mean truly, there are changes that will be made in your life. Lets look at Psalm 15:
1 O Lord, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? 2 He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart.
The psalmist (David) was quite close to God. He knew God with a closeness many people will never experience throughout their life, therefore you can consider him a good teacher of the things concerning God. So the question is posed, basically, who can go to heaven, and it follows with a list of characteristics that, I believe, for those who truly believe the gospel of Jesus, will overtake them.
Integrity is defined as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. Trust me, the gospel has made quite a few shady characters into upright people. Honesty is something we can all agree is lacking in our day. But the gospel will cause a dishonest heart to be open an honest before men.
Righteousness is morally right or justifiable, virtuous. It is living right in the eyes of God, being always aware of His existence, and choosing to please Him rather than men. When you truly believe the gospel of Jesus, righteousness is an important concept. To make right decisions and have good character honors God therefore becomes your lifestyle.
Truth is defined as the true or actual state of a matter. A verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle, or the like. In a society as intellectually driven as ours, many beliefs are actually either theories or myths that many consider to be truths. The gospel of Jesus Christ will drive one to find the truth. The one who commits his/her life to the gospel must be fully convinced that the gospel is true. Those who have a whimsical faith will probably not endure to the end.
3 He does not slander with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach to his friend, 4 In whose eyes a reprobate is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord. He swears to his own hurt and does not change. 5 He does not put out his money at interest, nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
Slander basically means a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report. It is to purposely try and bring another down by talking trash about him. The obvious issue here is the heart of a slanderer is evil in nature. When you truly believe the gospel of Jesus Christ you would rather build up others not tear them down.
Evil is defined as harmful, injurious. To bring harm or injury to your neighbor is something people do that don’t believe the gospel of Jesus Christ. Evil is the mind and heart of the devil, the exact opposite mind and heart of Jesus. Those who truly believe the gospel love their neighbors and would stay away from bringing any harm or injury to them.
Reproach is to find fault with. To take up a reproach against your friend means you are looking for fault in him/her. There is enough fault in all humans, we don’t need to going looking to find fault in them. There is definitely something wrong in searching for fault in someone. However, for those who truly believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, they will look for the good characteristics in their friends.
A reprobate is someone who has willfully rejected God and wants to continue in his/her wicked lifestyle. I do believe we need to love our enemies and pray for them hoping and believing for their salvation, so I don’t fully believe this part of the verse is truly valid, based on the words of Jesus Christ Himself. Those who truly believe the gospel of Jesus would rather love for and pray for a reprobate, I believe. I don’t think we can rightfully judge someone who is alive as fully rejecting God since there is always hope as long as he/she has breath. There have been some miracle conversions that many I’m sure had written off before the day of their salvation.
To honor those who fear the Lord is a concept of brotherly love. It is so hard to get through this life as a Christian, that we need to love one another and help one another in our walk with Jesus. It was shown at the beginning of the book of Acts, how they expressed their love towards one another. If you truly believe this great gospel of Jesus Christ, you will honor those who are your brother/sister in Christ.
To swear to your own hurt and do not change I believe means when you make a vow, whether to God or man, no matter how much it hurts you will not waver in your commitment to it. This deals with being a person of your word. A person of his/her word sends a message to those around them. They can trust them. If you truly believe the gospel of Jesus you will become someone who can be trusted, someone who is not afraid to make a commitment no matter how hard it may become and follow through with it.
Putting your money out at interest is taking advantage of someone who has a need. This is bringing pain to someone rather than helping them. Those who truly believe the gospel of Jesus choose to help others, not bring injury to their situation. They become cheerful givers rather than stalkers of gain.
Taking a bribe against the innocent is perverting justice. The guilty do not want to suffer the consequences of their folly so they at times will pay the prosecutor to get out of their sentence. Some cases that need a scapegoat, an innocent person will end up paying the price. This is very ungospel like. This is why a nation needs to have godly men/women in authority. For those in authority who truly believe the gospel of Jesus Christ they will never accept a bribe for any reason, simply because it perverts justice.
5 He who does these things will never be shaken.
Do you want to have the peace of God which surpasses all understanding? If you truly believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, these characteristics will overtake you. True believe is active. You live out your beliefs. Those who speak one way and live another are not given much credibility.
Bottom line is: If you live your life as a true believer of the gospel of Jesus Christ, your character will change and you will know that heaven is your future eternal home. So believe the gospel and be blessed!