The Heavenly Citizen

Paolo Di Luca
October 29, 2017

Psalm 15 is a brief but wonderful composition that presents a picture of the true citizen of Zion, one who is travelling toward the city of God, where he will dwell with Him forever. This Psalm has been defined as ethical instead of evangelical because it tells us what a heavenly citizen is like rather than the way to become one. The Psalm might well be entitled: “Practical Christianity.”

LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart; he who does not backbite with his tongue, nor does evil to his. neighbor, nor does he take up a reproach against his friend; in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but he honors those who fear the LORD; he who swears to his own hurt and does not change; he who does not put out his money at usury, nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.

Consider the following:

The Heavenly Citizen Is One Whose Life Is Blameless. This affirmation is contained in verse 2. The Christian is called to be blameless in his character and in his heart. This must be manifested both in what we do (“walk”) and in what we say (“speak”). How is this possible? Paul teaches that it happens only when we allow God to work in our lives (cf. Philip. 2:13)!

The Heavenly Citizen Is One Who Is Charitable Towards His Neighbor (v. 3; cf. Mark 12:31). The test of our love toward our neighbors has to do with the use of our tongue and of our ear, i.e. what we say about them and what we hear about them. God’s ideal man is to be very slow to talk and very slow to hear anything harmful about another person (cf. 2 Thess. 3:11; 1 Tim. 5:13). The godly command is to beware of being a busybody (cf. James 1:26).

The Heavenly Citizen Is One Who Is Careful Of His Friendships. In the first part of verse 4 we have a negative and a positive description of the right kind of companions to have. Christians are constantly surrounded by worldly and ungodly people, but we are not to make them our best and closest friends. We cannot be true to God if we court the friendship of ungodly people: “friendship with the world is enmity with God” (James 4:4). We cannot serve two masters, God and mammon (Luke 16:13). How bad can be the influence of a bad friend; but how good can be the influence of a good friend!

The Heavenly Citizen Is One Whose Word Is His Bond. As verse 4 notes, the Christian always keeps his promises; he is absolutely trustworthy. This is certainly not the world’s way of doing things, but it is God’s way, and therefore it must be our way. It is very sad when a Christian cannot be trusted!

The Heavenly Citizen Is One Who Is Merciful In His Dealings. God’s people should never make unjust gains, especially when it is at someone else's expense (v. 5). This applies to many circumstances of life. It does not involve just money and financial gain, but it is about treating people in fairness and justice.

The conclusion of the Psalm is summed up in the words of John, when he writes: “And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17). What a blessing it is to know that if we truly belong to Christ and behave as heavenly citizens, we are abiding with God and will be forever!