Psalms 24:1 - 10
ESV - 1 The earth is the Lord 's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein. 2 For he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.
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In my opinion, the heart and the hands (as they are used here) are employed as symbols to refer respectively to the place where ideas or thoughts originate, and to the instruments or means by which those thoughts and ideas are put into action. A pure heart will not entertain or dwell on thoughts of sin (similar to what David prayed in Psalm 51, after his sin with Bathsheba, when he asked God to create a clean heart within him), and will confess those that do occur. By the same token, clean hands will not allow themselves to be used to commit sinful actions, or to put sinful thoughts (when they occur) into effect. As David noted in Psalm 24, those who have both a pure heart and clean hands are prepared to enter into God's presence.
The one who has "clean hands and a pure heart" is spoken of in Psalm 24 as one who is able to ascend the mountain of the Lord and enter into his holy place. This is someone who is in a right relationship with God and can fellowship with him, and this means one whose sins are not counted against them; a forgiven Christian. Jesus spoke about "unclean hands" in Matt 15:1-20 where he addressed the accusations made against his disciples that they didn't wash their hands before they ate. Jesus took this occasion to explain to the Pharisees that it wasn't what people took into their mouth, assuming with dirty hands, that made a person unclean. Rather, it was what came out of their mouths, from their hearts, that made them unclean. Verse 19 says, "For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander." These are what defiles a person, and gives them dirty or unclean hands. The one who harbors these things in their heart cannot enter into God's presence, and so they are the opposite of the one with clean hands.
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