O Lord, who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy hill? Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right, and speak the truth from their heart; who do not slander with their tongue, and do no evil to their friends, nor take up a reproach against their neighbors; in whose eyes the wicked are despised, but who honor those who fear the Lord; who stand by their oath even to their hurt.
“Being a Christian must be so easy,” a friend of mine once said, “You can do whatever you want, just so long as you confess right before you die, you’ll still go to heaven.”
Responding to those kind of comments has always been difficult for me. Yes, we do believe that God’s forgiveness will always come because nothing can ever separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ. Yes, you could live your whole life in ignorance of God’s love and mercy, only to discover it in your last days and God would still be there waiting to receive you. However, upon later reflection, I wish I could have responded to that particular comment in the way that Augustine did in the fourth century:
“Some delude themselves because of God’s mercy. They say: “I still have a little time left to live how I like. Why shouldn’t I live how I like as much as I like and then turn to God later? After all, God has promised to pardon me.” I respond, “True, but he has not promised that you are going to be alive tomorrow.” – St. Augustine, Sermon 339
When Christianity is compartmentalized into “what happens to me after I die?” then all respect and concern for the present is lost. In Psalm 15 we learn about what it means to be welcomed to God’s holy hill, to abide in God’s tent; our faithfulness is far less concerned with our ability to accept God in our last days, than it is about living a life of service and holiness.
A professor of mine once said, “The question should not be, ‘If I die tonight, what will happen to me?’ but instead, ‘If I live for another day, what will I do with it? How will I love God and my neighbor?’”
So, let us all seek to live holy lives in the present. Let us not put off for tomorrow what we can, and should, do today. Let us look at our own lives and ask “am I walking blamelessly, doing what is right, and speaking the truth?”