This post is part of a series exploring the Beatitudes and the Salt and Light passage at the beginning of Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 5.
Before reading about today’s Beatitude, you may wish to consult the 4 principles for interpreting the Beatitudes (HERE). These principles help us read the Beatitudes in light of the Sermon on the Mount and one another.
And now, on to our Beatitude for today!
Blessed are the pure in heart
Take a moment to reflect on this Beatitude:
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” ~ Matthew 5:8
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to see God? If you’re like me, when you read the passages of Scripture that talk about God’s awesome holiness and penetrating glory—a holiness and glory that consume everything and destroy all sin—and the prospect of “seeing” God may seem a bit frightful. After all, no one can see God and live (Exodus 33:20); but then again, no one can live and not see God. We will all see Him on that day when He judges the righteous and the unrighteous.
Here we find Jesus preaching on a mountain and telling His disciples that those who are pure in heart will see God. It begs the question, what does it mean to “see” God? In Scripture we find that seeing God means a couple of things. First, it means to see God as He truly is: holy, all powerful, good, love, Truth, free, Light, life, and all of His perfect qualities. When we see God as He truly is, we see our idols in sharp relief. They are pathetic, temporal, and tarnished. We see our need for Him clearly and we cry out for His help.
Second, to see God means that we see Him in His overture of grace and mercy extended to us through Jesus Christ and the Gospel. When we see God in this way, we either respond with repentance and belief, or we harden our hearts in unbelief and condemn ourselves. Those who respond in repentance and belief see God as their good Father who adopts them by His grace and for His purposes.
A third way to see God in Scripture is to see Him with singular, undiluted focus. This is the way Jesus is referring to in Matthew 5:8. To be pure in heart is to have undivided affection and attention for the Lord. It is to have a pure heart for God. Purity of heart in this life does not mean absolute sinlessness—for that is impossible until we die and are in the presence of the Lord. Rather, it means to have a heart trajectory aimed only at God and not divided between Him and anything else.
It is impossible to have a pure heart in this sense without the empowering work of the Holy Spirit. All those who are saved in Christ receive the Holy Spirit, and thus by cooperating with Him grow increasing pure of heart. Furthermore, everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord to be saved can have the confidence of knowing without a shadow of doubt that one day they will physically see God in Heaven, and they will not be consumed by His wrath. Instead, they will be consumed with overflowing love and worship of the One who saved them.
Are you pure in heart?
This beatitude is especially challenging to me. I am so easily distracted by the infinite offerings of the internet, sucked in to the gravitational pull of social media, sidetracked by my laziness and insolence, and tempted by my flesh. Nonetheless, Jesus offers an amazing promise here, and I want to grasp it with all my heart. I want to see God! I want to be pure in heart!
- What draws your attention away from eternal things? Most likely its a good thing that gets a disproportionate amount of your attention. What is it’s proper place in your heart?
- What competes for the affection of your heart? Again, its probably something good. Can you cultivate an affection for it (or him or her) in such a way that it warms your heart to God rather than draws your heart away from Him?
Take the next step (5 minutes)
- Take 5 minutes right now to meditate on the Gospel and God’s good purpose for your life. Pause and pray, confessing your distraction and requesting His assistance to give you one pure and holy passion to love and serve Christ.
In this series
- Part 1: The Poor in Spirit
- Part 2: Those Who Mourn
- Part 3: The Meek
- Part 4: Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness
- Part 5: The Merciful
- Part 6: The Pure in Heart
- Part 7: The Peacemakers
- Part 8: Those Who are Persecuted
- Part 9: The Salt of the Earth and the Light of the World
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