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Blessed are the Pure in Heart for they Shall See God
by Rev. Charmaine Braatvedt
Sunday 5th February, 2006

Let us think about ourselves, those of us who claim to have believed in Jesus Christ and have dedicated our lives to God.

What are  our long-term plans and goals today?

What do we desire the most?

What are we living for?

 That is the most significant question of the Christian life, of any life.

That is the question this beatitude we are studying in Matthew 5:8 answers in the most explicit terms.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). That’s it! That’s the goal of the Christian life! That’s what we are living for – that we may live our lives in such a way that we see God.

 If we see God, that will open up the treasure trove of all the blessings, not only for eternity, but also for life here and now.

And the key to open that treasure trove is a pure heart!

This is the most central and the most significant of all the beatitudes mentioned in this fifth chapter of Matthew. You cannot be poor in spirit without having a pure heart. You cannot mourn for the things that displease God without having a pure heart. You cannot be meek, you cannot hunger and thirst for righteousness, you cannot be merciful, you cannot be a peacemaker or be prepared to stand persecution for the name of Christ without having a pure heart.

Actually, this is one of the most central principles of the Christian life that we see in the whole Bible. The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.

What is it to be pure in heart?

What is it to see God?

And, How are these two things bound together.

1. What Is It to Have a Pure Heart?

The closest OT parallel to this beatitude, namely, Psalm 24:3-4.

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?

And who shall stand in his holy place?

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.

You can see what David means by a "pure heart" in the phrases that follow it. A pure heart is a heart that has nothing to do with falsehood. It is painstakingly truthful and free from deceitfulness. Deceit is what you do when you will two things, not one thing. You will to do one thing and you will that people think you are doing another. You will to feel one thing and you will that people think you are feeling another. That is impurity of heart. Purity of heart is to will one thing, namely, to "seek the face of the Lord" (verse 6).

So, to have a pure heart is to be

1.      Living a life that is pleasing to God

2.       Living for the purpose of God. Having a single-minded devotion to God.

The initial use of the word “pure” in the Bible was in the sense of “clean” as opposed to “unclean” – clean or unclean animals, clean or unclean foods, the clean or unclean condition of a person.

However, from the very beginning, it has not been the matter of outward observance of some rules and regulations; it has been the attitude of the heart toward God that was in focus.

The theologian Soren Kierkegaard  once wrote,

” Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing”.

In the law, Moses said, “Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer”

 (Deuteronomy 10:16).

The first thing we learn from this beatitude is that Jesus is concerned with our heart.

The heart is what you are, in the secrecy of your thought and feeling, when nobody knows but God. And what you are at the invisible root matters as much to God as what your are at the visible branch.

 "Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7).

From the heart are all the issues of life. So the heart is utterly crucial to Jesus. What we are in the deep, private recesses of our lives is what he cares about most. Jesus did not come into the world simply because we have some bad habits that need to be broken. He came into the world because we have hearts that need to be purified.

To have a pure heart means to have a heart that is committed to living a life that is totally pleasing to God, because

“… the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts” (1 Chronicles 28:9).

That is why David’s prayer was:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart;”

So, first, having a pure heart means living by the rule of God, living a life that is pleasing to God.

Secondly, having a pure heart means living for the sole purpose of God, to have a heart that is fully devoted to God. It means single-minded devotion and commitment to God, doing anything and everything in our life for the sole purpose of glorifying God (1 Corinthians 10:31). “Pure” in this sense means unadulterated.

It is easier to follow rules and forget the matter of the heart. We are more careful to keep everything clean that is seen by others and forget about the things that only God can see.

If my hands are muddy, nobody would want to shake hands with me, so I better keep them clean.

If I were wearing a dirty alb this morning, you would give more attention to my alb and not hear what I am saying.

We want to keep up appearances before man, but we forget about keeping straight before God.

That is why Jesus’ harshest and most scathing rebuke was reserved for the scribes and Pharisees, who thought themselves the purest of all people. They were extremely careful to keep their outward appearance clean before men, but they did not worry about their relationship with God. Jesus told them:

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness” (Matthew 23:25-28).

Having a pure heart means living by the rules of God that bring internal, moral purity. God is a holy God, and He expects His people to live life according to the standard He has set for them.

That is why it is repeatedly said,

 “Be holy, because I am holy.

(Leviticus 11:44, 45).

Let me ask you, what is adultery? When we think of adultery, we think of it in the physical sense, having a sexual relation outside the marriage bonds.

The Bible does talk about this kind of adultery and certainly prohibits that. However, the Bible talks about spiritual adultery far more than physical adultery. There is a whole book written to deal with the issue of the spiritual adultery of the people of God, the Book of Hosea. There are many chapters in the Old Testament that deal with the spiritual adultery of the people of God, for example, Ezekiel 16 and 22.

In the New Testament, Jesus said you cannot worship God and mammon. When we devote our hearts to anything that is other than the cause of God, we commit spiritual adultery.

As James said:

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God … . Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded (James 4:4, 8).

Both the Old and New Testaments say,

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’. This is the first and the greatest commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38; also Deuteronomy 6:5).

This is a pure heart in the spiritual sense.

Purity of heart is no deception, no double-mindedness, no divided allegiance.

Purity of heart is to will one thing, namely, God's truth and God's value in everything we do. The aim of the pure heart is to align itself with the truth of God and magnify the worth of God. If you want to be pure in heart pursue God with utter single mindedness. Purity of heart is to will that one thing.

Now the question is how can we have a pure heart, a heart that is morally clean? A heart that is fully devoted to God?

And of course that leads every sensitive soul to cry out with the words of Proverbs 20:9, "Who can say, 'I have made my heart clean; I am pure from my sin?'" And with the disciples: "Who then can be saved?"

First of all, we have to realize that we, in and of ourselves, cannot attain a heart that is morally pure and fully devoted to God.

As the Bible repeatedly tells us,

“The Lord saw … that every inclination of the thoughts of his [man’s] heart was evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5).

As the prophet Jeremiah said,

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure” (Jeremiah 17:9).

Although it is impossible for us to have a pure heart in and of ourselves, we can have a pure heart by the grace of God. What is impossible for man is possible for God. Jesus' answer comes back to us just like it did to the disciples in Matthew 19:26—and this is the rest of the answer—"With men it is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

By his grace we must seek that gift by praying with David, "Create in me a clean heart, O God" (Psalm 51:10)

A pure heart is a gift from God, and it comes by a new birth, by a new creation, and by the Spirit living in us.

God had promised in the Old Testament through the prophet Jeremiah,

“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts” (Jeremiah 31:33),

 and “I will give them singleness of heart and action” (Jeremiah 32:39).

But here is the hope of our salvation. We must look to Christ "who gave himself for us ... to purify for himself a people" (Titus 3:l4).

And the response of our hearts to God's act of creation and Christ's act of sacrifice is single-minded faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

God is the one who purifies the heart, and the instrument with which he cleans it is our faith in the saving grace of Jesus Christ, his son.

So we will this one thing to ‘trust in the Lord with ALL your heart’(Proverbs 3:5),  to place our faith in Jesus Christ and offer our hearts to him that through him they will be purified, and we  will see God.

This is the Blessing Promised

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”.

 What Does It Mean to See God?

Of course, it means seeing Him literally when we will be with Him for eternity, as John the Apostle says,

… .The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads (Revelation 22:3-4).

But How about this Life?

The Christian life is not just “pie in the sky.” It is pie in my hand right now. If we live with a pure heart, a life that is morally pleasing to God and fully devoted to Him, we will enjoy God’s presence in our life right here, right now. As we get to walk in his ways, as we get to know him through his word, as we get to trust him through our prayers, our knowledge and experience of God will enable us to see him present in our lives. You can only see what you know.

·        to see God means to be admitted to his presence

·        seeing God means being awe struck by his glory.

·        Seeing God means feeling comforted by his grace.

The greatest blessing and the noblest goal of the Christian life is to know God, to experience His presence in our daily life, and to live for His glory.

Paul made this the goal for his life,

If we have this goal for our life, the outcome will be a daily walk with God that delights God, blesses us, and fills our life with joy until the time we go to be with Him forever.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

Charmaine Braatvedt. 

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