Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. This statement from the lips of the Savior challenges human reason inasmuch as from the human viewpoint, purity of heart seems almost impossible. And yet, Jesus emphasizes that purity of heart and an awareness of God are essential to the blessedness (happiness) of mankind.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in his Studies In The Sermon On The Mount, explains, “Here…we are face to face with one of the most magnificent, and yet one of the most solemnizing and searching, statements which can be found anywhere in Scripture. It is, of course, the very essence of the Christian position and of…Christian teaching.”
Man was created in the image of God, and placed in a perfect environment. But through Adam’s disobedience, sin entered and that image of holiness and purity was marred. The Scriptures have made it clear that if one offends in even one point of God’s law, he is guilty of the whole. “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10)
I have always equated purity with holiness – perfection. In Hebrews 12:14, the writer challenged his Hebrew brethren to “Pursue…holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” When we hear Jesus say, ‘Blessed are the pure in heart’ our sensitivity antennas go up. ONLY GOD IS HOLY! ONLY GOD IS PERFECT! MAN MUST BE MADE HOLY! As I approach the consideration of this statement, it is only with a sense of awe and inadequacy.
Charles Spurgeon, in the preface of his Treasury of David Commentary, made these observations:
“The Exposition here given is my own. I consulted a few authors before penning it, to aid me in interpretation and arouse my thoughts; but, still, I can claim originality for my comments, at least so I honestly think. Whether they are better or worse for that, I know not; at least I know I have sought heavenly guidance while writing them, and therefore I look for a blessing on the printing of them.”
Spurgeon continued, “Although the comments were the work of my health, the rest of the volume is the product of my sickness. When protracted illness and weakness laid me aside from daily preaching, I resorted to my pen as an available means of doing good. I would have preached had I been able, but as my Master denied me the privilege of thus serving him, I gladly availed myself of the other method of bearing testimony for his name. Oh that he may give me fruit in this field also, and his shall be all the praise.”
He further acknowledged that “it was only with the help of my friend and amanuensis, Mr. John L. Keys (who) most diligently aided me in investigations at the British Museum, Dr. William’s Library, and other treasuries of theological lore, I have ransacked books by the hundred, often without finding a memorable line as a reward, but at other times with the most satisfactory result.”
I will admit that I am not naturally a gifted writer, as Mr. Spurgeon was, but quoting him again, “My earnest prayer is that some measure of good may come of it to my brethren in the ministry and to the church at large.” Therefore, with God’s help, I will continue to press on, sharing what He enables me to share.
I do not have the aid of an amanuensis (secretary) as Spurgeon did, but in spite of this, I launched my website, “timelessbiblebasics.com.” I will hasten to add that the blessed Holy Spirit, my friend, comforter, and counselor, has however been faithful to grant me insights and urge me on in this effort for which I am eternally grateful.
In this sixth Beatitude, Jesus identifies, as He does in other places, that the heart is where we must begin to address all areas of our human experience. The heart in scripture usage includes the emotions, our intellect, and our will. It is the fount out of which everything else flows, whether good or bad. As the Lord put it, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” (Matthew 15:19) From the prophet Jeremiah, we learn, “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
I cannot recall where I saw it, but someone defined purity of heart as ‘singleness of purpose.’ Of course, it is God’s will that we have a singleness of purpose, but something must first have happened in order that one might have that singleness. Our problem is that we have a divided heart. One part of us wants to know, please, and worship God; another part wants to please self. The Psalmist made reference to this when he prayed, “Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.” (Psalms 86:11)
Our need is to have our emotions, our intellect, and our will be united to “fear the name (authority) of God” over our lives. Paul labored over this issue in Ro 7:22-25: “For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
The Scriptures make it clear that man is not able to achieve purity of heart on his own, but that God has made a way for him to achieve this blessedness – this happiness. It is “through Jesus Christ our Lord!
The Apostle, John expresses beautifully in Revelation 1:5-6 how we must begin: “To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Without this, there will be no purity – no blessedness – no true happiness.
However, the Scriptures also teach us that purity and holiness are to be PURSUED. I reiterate as I wrote earlier, “Pursue…holiness without which no one shall see the Lord.” This word, pursue, suggests action and following. Another synonym, prosecute, suggests to “carry out or participate in an activity; be involved in.” God makes us holy when we exercise faith in the finished work of Calvary, effecting our emotions, our intellect, and will, uniting them in submission to His will and a willingness to pursue, carry out, and be involved in developing a pure heart.
The promise is that the pure in heart shall see God. That is, faith in the finished work of Christ, and the pursuit of holiness will result in a personal relationship and a development of a sense, an awareness of God in the life of the believer. This is, at least in part, what Jesus meant when He said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” We have the blessed assurance from the writer of the Hebrew Letter “by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified (purified).” (Hebrews 10:14)
If you have been helped or blessed in reading this article, your comments below will be appreciated!