The Apostolic Faith - Vol. 50, No.4
July - August 1957

Association with God

Raymond R. Crawford

“LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?” (Psalm 15:1)

THE Bible tells us who shall ascend into the “hill of the LORD.” It describes the character  of the people with whom God is pleased to dwell and with whom He will associate – not in “time” only, but throughout all “eternity.”   

In the Psalms we learn who is eligible for such divine fellowship.

“Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? 

“He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. 

“He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation” (Psalm 24: 3-5).

“He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. 

“He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. 

“In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not” (Psalm 15:2-4).

In this world we dwell with all kinds of people; we associate with them, work with them, do business with them, and follow the stream of time through life with them. But dwelling with God and associating with God are entirely different matters.

Transformation Necessary

How are we to know that we are eligible for association with God unless we search God’s Word and find the qualifications set forth between the lids of the Bible? Then, when we read those requirements, how are we going to have His association, and how are we going to reach Heaven if we do not observe to do the things that are simply, clearly, and perfectly presented to us by the Lord Himself?

It is easy for some people to glide along with a nominal profession of religion and consider themselves Heaven-bound, when the truth of the matter is that their lives are not in conformity with the Word of God.

It is well to know what kind of characters will inhabit the hill of God. God makes it plain in His Word that He has provided a redemption for fallen creatures, that they may be transformed by Grace Divine and made over into characters fit for His fellowship, His association, and His dwelling place.

In Romans 12:2, we read, 

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

The kind of people with whom God is pleased to dwell are those who have been made new creatures in Christ Jesus — those who are ready for the Kingdom of Heaven, who bade farewell to the affairs of a sinful life and the ways of the worldly throngs. The spirit of the world is enmity against God. It is the very essence of oppositeness to God, His nature, His Heaven, His character. He that is eligible to associate with God is the man or woman who has clean hands and a pure heart, one who has not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully, and one who backbites not with his tongue. The Lord has little time for a backbiter, or anyone who “doeth evil to his neighbour” or “taketh up a reproach against his neighbour” – or his brother or sister in the Lord Jesus Christ.

“He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness” is the one who is going to dwell with God. He is the one who will have God’s association throughout all eternity.

A Vessel of Honor

It is necessary that we look down inside, at the inner man, and take account of what exists there. What is our attitude? What is the motive back of the words that come out of our mouth? What prompts all that we do? When we search our hearts, we find ourselves getting busy before God and preparing for the coming of the Lord, that we might dwell with Him throughout all eternity.

What kind of person will dwell with Him in eternity? Not the character that is moulded by the spirit of this world – that is sure and certain. But it will be the character set by God’s mould, the one who is willing to be poured like molten metal into God’s mould, and becomes a vessel unto honor.

No Shallow Character

There is no place for compromise in the life of a true Christian. In his eyes, ”a vile person is contemned”— despised. He has no part with the vilest of the world. He does not condone sin in any way. The man who has divine association with God, fellowship with God, honors “them that fear the LORD.” Where is your honor these days? Is it towards those who fear the Lord, those who have purposed to make Heaven their Home, those who have set themselves against the evil, the sin, the wickedness, the corruption that is damning and defiling this world and the human family? These are some things to think about — not casually, not lightly, but with seriousness of mind, heart, and soul.

We are living in a day of shallow characters, a day when people can go wild over some faddist and his type. People are not serious-minded. They are not looking for the Truth that will make them free and deliver them from the bondage of sin and destruction.

“Mark the Perfect Man”

God’s Word tells us to behold the upright, to honor them that fear the Lord. Never mind the modern characters! Let us follow after those who will enter the hill of the Lord and dwell in Mount Zion in company with the Lord God, the Creator of the universe. What is their character?

“He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.”

If he is taken and falsely accused, unjustly spoken against, he will swear to his own hurt and change not. These truths are found in the Book of God; and if he does not face them now he will face them in eternity. God’s Word is true.

Where God dwells, and who dwells with God, should be the interest of every soul. “Oh that I knew where I might find Him!” said job of old, “that I might come even to His seat!” That has been the cry of humanity ever since the fall of man. And God heard that cry and revealed where He could be found. He can be found at the place of prayer.

In Jeremiah 29:12, 13 we read:

“Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 

“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”

Christian Conduct

A Christian always speaks the truth. He does not evade it; he does not shade the truth. He looks it squarely in the face. If he must speak, he speaks the truth.

The condition of a Christian, within, is pure, and his conduct, without, is upright. The Christian’s standard is based on the Bible — not on any preacher’s “say-so,” but on the Bible, God’s Word, God’s indisputable Word.

There is too much “pussy-footing” around by people who claim to be in fellowship and favor with God and with His people. You cannot coddle sin and prosper. You will be no benefit to the one you coddle — you will lose ground with God. It means much to be true to God, to let His Word do its work in your heart, whatever it costs. 

To have association with God, we must obey His Word. Jesus said, “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34). “Let him deny himself.”  Sometimes people forget there is such a thing as self-denial. But the real follower of Jesus Christ will deny himself; he will take up his cross and follow Jesus every step of the way. He is eligible for association with a holy God. He has made himself ready through coming to God according to the Word — with repentance, seeking God with all his heart, and experiencing God’s transforming grace and power, and then going forth to sin no more.

May God help you to make a full surrender to His Word and His will. Say Yes to God. May you say Yes a thousand times and tell Him that you, too, want to be among the number who will go up to Mount Zion, to the hill of the Lord, and dwell with God, associate with God, sit with Him in His throne, spend eternity in His Kingdom.

Remember, only he that hath clean hands and a pure heart can ascend the hill of the Lord; and without holiness shall no man see the Lord (Psalm 24:4; Hebrews 12:14)