Psalm 15:1-5 (International Standard Version)
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
What does it mean to be living a life of integrity? First, let’s look at the meaning of the word integrity. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary gives three definitions:
- “SOUNDNESS” – Yes, the first definition, as well as the last is capitalized. I could find no explanation for this in the “Explanatory Notes” section of the dictionary.
- “adherence to a code of values : utter sincerity, honesty, candor”
It is the second and third definitions that I want to emphasize, the third first. In James 1:2 through 4, we are told, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
- “COMPLETENESS” – There is only One who walked the earth who was perfect and complete! That One is Jesus Christ!
✡ Isaiah chapter 53 is a great Old Testament prophesy pointing toward Jesus. In verse 9 it says, “And they made His grave with the wicked — but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.” ✞ II Corinthians 5:21 (Good News Bible) – “Christ was without sin, but for our sake God made Him share our sin in order that in union with Him we might share the righteousness of God.” ✞ Hebrews 4:15 (speaking of Jesus) – “...we do not have a great High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” ✞ I Peter 1:16, 19 – “...you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold...but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” ✞ I Peter 2:22 – (International Standard Version) – “He never sinned, and He never told a lie.” ✞ I John 3:5 – “...He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him is no sin.”
- We are called to be like Him – perfect and complete!
✞ Romans 8:29 – “For whom He [God the Father] foreknew [we who have accepted Christ as Savior], He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” ✞ II Corinthians 3:18 (1899 Douay-Rheims Bible) – “But we all, beholding the glory of the Lord with open face, are transformed into the same image from glory to glo- ry, as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
Now, I have taken time to show from several passages in the Bible that for the Christian to live in integrity, that one must pursue completeness – being more and more like Jesus!
What does that completeness look like? It is spelled out a bit more in the second definition of integrity: “adherence to a code of values : utter sincerity, honesty, candor”
- Adherence to a code of values – What code of values are we to follow?
✞ Paul spells out such a code in Colossians 3:1 through 4:6. These 31 verses are too lengthy to reproduce here. But read this code of values and then live by this code, adhere to it, empowered by the Holy Spirit! ✞ There is a shortened list in Galatians 5:22 and 23 called the fruit of the Spirit. These nine qualities are manifested through the Christian when he or she is in tune with the Lord. This quotation is from the English Standard Version – “...the fruit of the Spir- it is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control....”
✞ II Corinthians 8:21 (King James Version) – “Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.” ✞ Philippians 4:8 (Jubilee Bible) – “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is any praise, exercise yourselves in these things.”
➔ Definition from simplicable.com/new/candor – “The act of being open, honest, direct and forthcoming in communication.” ✞ Matthew 5:37 (Contemporary English Version) – “When you make a promise, say only ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ Anything else comes from the devil.” ✞ James 5:12 – “...let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No,’ lest you fall into judgment.”
I find the etymology of “integrity” interesting (from fdotstrokes.com) – “The word integrity evolved from the Latin adjective integer, meaning whole or complete. It is defined as ‘an undivided or unbroken completeness,’ or a state of being complete or whole.”
The exact Latin word is still in English use and is often applied to numbers. From byjus.com/maths/what-is-an-integer/ – “Integers are a set of counting numbers (positive and negative), along with zero, that can be written without a fractional component.” But the idea of integer numbers is that they are whole and undivided – just like the meaning of the word ‘Integrity’!
Finally, here is God’s idea of ‘integrity’ as He gave it to David by inspiration, who then wrote it down in Psalm 15:
LORD, who may stay in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy mountain? The one who lives with integrity, who does right- eous deeds, and who speaks truth to himself. The one who does not slander with his tongue, who does no evil to his neighbor, and who does not destroy his friend's reputation. The one who despises those who are utterly wicked, but who honors the one who fears the LORD, who keeps his word even when it hurts and does not change, who does not loan his money with interest, and who does not take a bribe against those who are innocent. The one who does these things will stand firm forever.
This Psalm describes a person of integrity!
Go and live a life of integrity!