Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God (Matt 5:8 ESV)
In the Bible the heart is the center of a person’s life, housing their thoughts, emotions and will. “The heart is the center of the entire personality” (D. A Carson, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and His Confrontation with the World, 1987, p. 26). The only way that we receive this promise of seeing God now is by being pure in heart.
“Purity of heart must never be confused with outward conformity to rules” (Carson, p. 26). God is not impressed by our heartless religiosity. While the pure in heart “le[t] nothing stand in the way of [their] vision of Christ” (Ferguson, The Sermon on the Mount, 2009, p. 37); the impure heart is one that is divided and noncommittal. This is the person who James calls double-minded (Jas 1:8; 4:8).
This Beatitude requires a heart check. We can invite the Holy Spirit to convict, test and search our hearts (Psalm 139:23-24) while answering questions such as: are we as committed to Him as we once were? How do our words and actions line up to what we find in Scripture? What or whom receives the greatest amount of our love and affection? How do you spend your down time?
In my first Seminary class, I traced purity from Genesis to Revelation for my Biblical Theme research paper. God gave me a line in that paper which has been the basis of my life for over four years, “purity is a manifestation of holiness and only a holy people can live with Holy God.” Our Triune God both in His Person and in His Work is Holy. For the believer in Christ, you are called to be holy. We are made holy at the time of our conversion and God in His grace and mercy continues to make us holy (sanctifies) until He calls us home.
However, we interrupt God’s plan for holiness in our lives when we seek the things of this world. When we respond in our flesh rather than in His Spirit. God cares about the purity of our thought lives. God also very much cares about the purity of our hearts in regards to the words we speak (whether oral or written). Are we speaking from a heart that wants to encourage and build up or are our words coming from a heart of jealousy, anger, hurt, a desire to be right?
In Psalm 24:3 David asks the question, “Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?” He answers this saying, “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation” (vv. 4-5).
When our hearts are pure before God and man, God allows us to see glimpses of Himself. The more our hearts are pure, the more we show mercy, the more we hunger and thirst for Him in meekness, mourning and in poor spirit, the more we will see God both now and in eternity “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (v. 3).
Father God, while the promise of this Beatitude is in the future, help us to want to keep our hearts pure now. Father God, there is so much turmoil and infighting between Your people right now. Instead of being salt, light and known for our love we are known for our disagreements and quarrels. Lord God, reveal and convict our hearts of idols and impurity. Lord God, may we seek You first. By meditating on You and Your attributes, the less we will think about ourselves and the more we will want to please, honor and tell others about You! In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.