Join me, take a minute, and read this Psalm:
A Psalm of David
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;
and do not lend money at interest,
and do not take a bribe against the innocent.
Those who do these things shall never be moved.
I don't know about you, but I read this and am like "wow, am I ever glad for Jesus." I can't honestly say I walk blamelessly and always do right. But I know Jesus washes me clean....
In my Friday night Bible Study, we're reading Job, and I see a lot of the wisdom of Job's friend in this. Job's friends were well meaning, though they were not actually that wise, and were giving the best advice they knew. I also read this and I see the Pharisees trying this. Really, anyone who tries to abide in the Lord's presence through action would probably pin this Psalm above their bed and meditate on it...
David wrote this, and we know David was not perfect, he wasn't blameless... but God did call him a man after His own heart. This psalm was written by someone seeking God, loving God...
The truth is, we can't do this without the Lord. Well, maybe we can not lend money at interest (hey, banks, reading this? ;-P) or take bribes... but in reality, there is common grace that allows this even in haven't surrendered their hearts to God... if He didn't allow this grace, we'd all be given over to the evil of our own hearts. That sick, dark place we're all aware exists. That's what hell is, God saying 'have your own way, having nothing of me'... when God is all that is good.
I do take heart from this Psalm though. Because I do believe in the washing by Jesus' blood, which makes me blameless, so I can abide in the presence of the Lord. And I believe (and have witnessed) the transforming power of His presence. The more time we spend with God, the more we are transformed into His likeness!