Psalm 4:3 But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for Himself: the Lord will hear when I call unto Him.
We are going to detour here for a moment and then come back to our Scripture text.
Many feel it necessary to keep the Ten Commandments to please God or to be holy. A young rich ruler came to Jesus and said, What good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? Jesus said, Keep the commandments. The young ruler responded, All these things have I kept from my youth up; what lack I yet? See Matthew 19:16-26. An important truth in this story that is often missed is the fact that keeping the commandments is not enough. The young man asked, What good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? We need to learn that salvation cannot be earned by doing good things. If we could earn eternal life by doing good things, then it would have been unnecessary for Jesus Christ to die on the cross.
It is very difficult for a Christian, in his independent way, to learn the grace of God. So often he is determined to lean upon his own understanding and to be wise in his own eyes (Proverbs 3:5-7). The worldliness of man says we should be self-confident, but the Lord says that self-confidence is evil (Proverbs 3:7).
In the past we haven’t understood the Scriptures as we should. For example, commandments should be viewed as provisions, as things God wants to do for us. For example, the first commandment is: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength (Mark 12:30). It doesn’t take a Christian very long to realize that commandment is utterly impossible. Human nature is antichrist and cannot be in subjection to the Lord (Romans 8:7). Jeremiah 13:23 makes that real plain. Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil. So what is the answer? Listen to what the Lord says through Ezekiel. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you…And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them. Ezekiel 36:26,27. If you ever get to the place where you can love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, it will be because He put a new heart and a new spirit within you. If you walk in His statutes and keep His judgments, it will be because He put His Spirit in you and enabled you to do it.
Regardless of how hard you try to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, you cannot do it. So when you read that verse you should think, “Praise the Lord, He is going to overcome my flesh nature and enable me to love Him totally. He is going to fill me with His Spirit and enable me to walk in His statues and judgments.” When we try to do it in ourselves we fail. Have faith in His grace and mercy, and it shall be done! Now, back to our text.
Psalm 4:3 But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for Himself …
The Lord doesn’t set you apart for Himself after you become godly or holy. You cannot make yourself holy. He makes you holy by setting you apart from your flesh nature. The word “sanctify” means to separate from and to separate unto, and only the Lord can sanctify. When you are separated from the rulership of self and separated unto His Lordship, then you are holy. You have been set apart not because you are holy but so that you may become holy.
Copyright © 2009 by Henry DuBose