Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? (Psalm 15:1—NIV)

You do not live a single day without your ethics being tested. Since you learned your first rule of moral choice you have been dealing with issues of integrity. All ethics have a theological basis, even for the atheist. The atheist’s theological basis is there is no God or gods and therefore his system of ethics will most naturally fulfill Satan’s lie in the Garden (Genesis 3:5), "For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." His ethics tend to be built around himself as a god.

Every infant starts at the point of Genesis 3:5 and with the persistence of parents, teachers, preachers and interpersonal lessons applied by native intelligence, he begins to formulate a system of right and wrong which seems good to him. He builds and rebuilds with each lesson learned. Most often he retains the recognition that there must be a god of some sort included in his system. Very often the challenges of life wreak havoc upon his system and his decisions in momentary weakness do crushing damage to his integrity. He is then faced with owning defeat or is forced into an accommodating rebuild of his system to maintain his much vaunted integrity. Such is the state of the unregenerate soul or the fleshly Christian.

When God sovereignly imparts new life in an individual He also establishes for the first time a living relationship between that individual and Himself. Ethics and integrity are now elevated from simply an act of obedience to a deepening dynamic of friendship and partnership. Illustrations on the human level abound. Before a couple knows each other it means nothing to a girl how a guy behaves. Behavior really matters after the relationship begins. With being born again comes the desire to please the rescuing Savior and God’s declarations form an unfaltering, unchanging, ever-reliable system of moral ethics increasingly prized as the believer matures in his testing. No longer is ethical morality changed by success and failure on an individual basis, it is forever forged in the Word of God.

Psalm 15 is filled with life and lip ethics for the righteous in their traffic among men. David divulges the fundamental requirements of practical spirituality and fidelity for anyone who wills to live in the shadow of the Almighty God He answers the question, "What kind of a person may abide?" The characteristic qualities are framed in triplets in the succeeding verses.

In the sight of God the man of integrity values the right. According to verse two, he walks in blamelessness as God sees it, he does right as God identifies it, and he thinks right as God declares it.

In the sight of God the man of integrity is trustworthy. According to verse three, he will not "play the spy" with gossip, he will not be a source of harm to his neighbor, nor will he be a receptor of slurs concerning his friend.

In the sight of God the man of integrity is purposeful in his relationships. According to verse four, he will reject whom God rejects, embrace whom God embraces, and follow through with his commitment regardless of the cost.

In the sight of God the man of integrity is unselfish down to his core. According to verses four and five, he will not be flighty, he will not take advantage of weakness, nor will he be bought by the highest bidder.

God declares that "he who acts thus shall never be shaken." What diagnosis does God give of the condition of your integrity today? What is the spiritual temperature of your integrity before God and men?