Psalm 15 is similar to Psalm 24, which may indicate that they were composed originally to celebrate the same event. Psalm 24 was written when the ark of God, symbolising his presence, was taken into the city of Jerusalem during the reign of David. The psalm also has a richer significance because the entrance of the ark was a picture of the entry of Jesus as the ascended Lord into the heavenly Jerusalem.
In Psalm 15, David asks an important question: ‘Lord, who shall abide in your tabernacle? who shall dwell in your holy hill?’ The question is important because humans are sinful and, in themselves, unable to dwell in God’s presence. So when we read the list of qualifications for entry in verses 2–5, we conclude that only a perfect person can live in God’s presence.
The reality is that only one human had these qualifications, and because he possessed them he is able to live in the presence of God. Verse 2–5 are a character profile of Jesus Christ, the only perfect man who has ever lived. Therefore, we can go through the various statements in the psalm and think of incidents in the life of Jesus that fits these descriptions.
One day, after the resurrection in the future, this list of qualifications will also describe the people of God because they then will be fully conformed to the likeness of Christ. The list details their righteous behaviour, their truthful hearts, their pure speech, their love to God’s people, and their consistent lifestyle (of course, there will not be the opportunity for usury in the eternal state). The point is that the redeemed will then be totally perfect and so will be able to dwell permanently in God’s presence.
Of course, the same is true of all the Lord’s people who have already gone to heaven. They have been made perfect in holiness as far as their spirits are concerned. But what about believers who are yet on earth? They are still sinful, although converted. Yet they can also dwell in the presence of the Lord (Ps. 91:1) because (a) they have been given the perfect righteousness of Christ as their title to heaven, (b) they have been cleansed daily from their sins by the blood of Christ when they confess their faults to God, and (c) the law of God has been written on their hearts so that they now delight to obey it.
The more Christlike we are, the greater will be our enjoyment of the presence of God.