What does Psalm 50:23 mean?

Asaph (Psalm 50:1) concludes Psalm 50 with good news. God, the Judge (Psalm 50:1–7), will save those who sincerely and righteously follow Him. These believers are summarized as those who avoid hypocritical, hollow worship (Psalm 50:8–9) while wallowing in blatant sins (Psalm 50:16–17). Ruin awaits those who deliberately throw the Lord’s commandments aside (Psalm 50:21–22).

The hypocrite presents sacraments, rituals, or offerings as mere rituals. His heart is not right with God. The righteous person worships God “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). He gives God thanks for His multiple blessings. Isaiah records the Lord’s disgust with insincere religious rites. The Lord says, “Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them” (Isaiah 1:14). He calls upon the hypocrites to “wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause” (Isaiah 1:16–17).

Paul gives a description of the unrighteous in 1 Corinthians 6:9–10. He then writes, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). It is only in Christ that our sins are washed and we are made clean (Ephesians 1:3–10). It is only in Him that we receive the indwelling Holy Spirit who transforms our hearts and minds, enabling us to know, love, and obey God (Ephesians 1:11–14). It is by God’s grace and in His power that we can live in ways that are pleasing to Him (Ephesians 2:1–10Romans 12:1–2Philippians 2:12–13). And it is in doing so that we experience true life (John 10:10).

Context Summary
Psalm 50:16–23 closes with strong criticism for hypocritical worship. Israel is being judged by God (Psalm 50:7) for offering sacrifices (Psalm 50:8) but doing so while participating in blatant sin and disobedience. Mere performance of rituals does not buy God’s forgiveness. The Lord condemns the ungodly attitudes of the people and warns of dire consequences for those who do not change.

Chapter Summary
Asaph depicts God as an unimaginably glorious judge, calling the entire world to hear a divine verdict. Israel has offered sacrifices, but God ignores them. The nation rejects His laws. It is pervaded with blatant sin, even while they claim to be God’s chosen people. The Lord’s patience does not mean He does not notice. Those who continue ignoring Him will be “torn apart” without any possibility of rescue. Those who respond to God with sincerity will be rescued.

SOURCE: https://www.bibleref.com/Psalms/50/Psalm-50-23.html