2/28/13 V. 15, To the wicked God is a consuming fire (Heb 12:29). His glory is unbearable to them. However, that same glory is bearable to the pure in heart (Matt 5:8). The previous verse asks Who can live with consuming fire and everlasting burning? Rev 6:17 ask the same question, Who can stand? The answer is that the wicked cannot but the righteous can. The same glory that is death to the wicked is life to the righteous. Those who not only will be able to stand but even now are able to stand are:
Those who walk righteously: To walk righteously is to do right. Righteousness is right-acting. The postmodern concept that right is whatever is right for each particular person is nonsense. The definition of right is absolute and originates in God. Those who live by what God says is right find life in his glory.
Those who speak honestly: Jas 3:2, 8 says that the tongue is nearly untamable, but if we are able to tame our tongue we are able to control our entire body. Jesus said that we should let our yes be yes and our no be no and all else comes from the evil one (Matt 5:37). He wasn’t primarily speaking of swearing and cursing but about manipulating others by our extravagant promises and swearing oaths in order to prove we are sincere. It should be clear that we are always sincere in what we say.
Those who reject unjust gain: The Bible is replete with warnings against oppressing others and gain for ourselves at the expense of others. This would mean, in light of the previous item, that we speak honestly in order to avoid unjust gain. For instance, if someone is willing to pay more than a car is worth it would not be righteous to dishonestly not tell them and thereby unjustly benefit by their loss.
Those who keep their hands from accepting bribes: Bribery is often equated with dishonesty. If we refuse to do something illegal or wrong even for a financial incentive, then we are keeping our hands from accepting bribes. It’s common in corrupt societies, too, that bribes simply get people to do the right thing and the work they are supposed to be doing anyway. The people of God won’t participate in that kind of activity either, even though their activity isn’t illegal, because then they are benefiting at the expense of another by forcing them to pay extra for what they are supposed to do already. We are to be content with our pay, as John the Baptist told the Roman soldiers.
Those who stop their ears from hearing about bloodshed: This is an interesting one. It doesn’t say those who stop their hands from bloodshed, though that would certainly apply. Clearly this isn’t saying that if someone tells us their friend was murdered we should cover our ears and say, “Don’t tell me. I don’t want to hear about bloodshed.” Mal 2:16 God says that he hates it when we cover ourselves in violence. The picture is one of participating in violence as entertainment. When we participate in violence that way are not stoping our ears from hearing about bloodshed. In the days of Rome the gladiator games were big. Today violent movies and video games are big. Those who find life in God’s glory will shut their ears to such gratuitous violence.
Those who shut their eyes from looking at evil: We will also shut our eyes to that same violence and every other kind of evil. The three monkeys “Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil,” are right on track according to this verse.