Blessed Are the Pure in Heart
Pastor Dan Haugen
Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father…
Please pray with me…
Pastor Henry Booth writes, “According to the nature and character of the fountain will be the character of the stream. The heart may be compared to a reservoir which supplies a large town with its hundreds of streets and thousands of pipes. If the water be pure in the reservoir it will be conveyed in its purity through the pipes to the inhabitants; but if unclear there, it will be impure at its destination. The heart is the reservoir from which life flows. The mouth, hands, feet, looks, actions, etc. are the pipes. If the heart is pure, purity will be manifested in life.”
We move onto our next Beatitude Attitude found in Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” I’ll be honest with you. This one is challenging. With all the muddled mess we must deal with in life, how in heaven’s name can we ever expect to achieve a heart of purity? Well, I guess I kind of answered the question didn’t I. It’s only by Heaven that we have a chance at all.
If you think of our Christian walk, this really is our #1 goal isn’t it, to have a pure heart. It’s easy for us to understand the opening illustration because, inwardly, we all know that all our deeds stem from the condition of our heart. If our heart is pure, our deeds will be unpolluted. If our heart is full of darkness and corruption, it will be shown in our actions.
As Americans, we understand the importance of purity in a worldly sense. We want our bottled water to be the purest. We want our food to be untainted. We want our friendships to be without corruption. We want all those things coming from outside sources to be uncontaminated in any way so we know what we’re getting.
It’s when we are asked to give, that the problem with purity rears its ugly head. As far as giving, we like to do it with the least stress on ourselves. We like to give, only to the point of acceptance and not beyond. The least pure form of ourselves that we can get away with, the better.
Unfortunately for us, God cannot accept anything but the purest of hearts. There can be no sin, no unwholesomeness whatsoever within us. Our morals must be unadulterated and our actions clean. Sounds like we’re doomed. Of course, we would be if not for Christ.
So, what does Jesus mean here when He says, “Blessed be the pure in heart?” What does “pure” mean in a godly sense? Does it mean to be perfect? If so, we have some ‘splainin’ to do. After all, who among us is perfect? Who is without out a blemish or……. four?
Let’s first start with the English definition. To be pure means, really, two things, to be uncontaminated or to be unmixed. To be made pure is to be cleansed from impurities.
I believe these definitions give us a lot to work with when we’re talking about the kind of impurity Jesus is talking about here. After all, what did Jesus come to do? He came to take our impurities away. He came to become the prism that the Father looks through when He gazes at His creation. He came to make His perfection our own.
Of course, this kind of blessing cannot be attributed to any of our earthly effort. This is a kind of grace filled purity that can only come by way of the divine. So, the pure in heart are those who trust in Christ alone for their cleansing. The pure in heart are those who recognize their worldliness of sin and corruption understanding that, purity through forgiveness is something to be grasped because of the unselfish act of the only one who could honestly claim purity.
Our second definition means to be unmixed. In other words, for the pure in heart, there is no room for the things of the world. The Greek word was used to describe clear water or metal with the impurities removed or grain that has had the chaff removed or of feelings that are unmixed.
With this definition in mind it means having a heart that is unmixed in its devotion. For instance, we cannot properly serve God with a pure heart if our devotion is split between Him and our passion for wealth, or anything worldly.
This kind of double-mindedness has always plagued the church. If truth be told, it’s probably something you’re dealing with right now.
The trouble with us is our divided heart. We want the best of what God has to offer, but we want what we can get from our worldliness too. One part wants to know God and worship God and please God; but another part wants things our own way. Paul expressed this well in Romans 7:14-19, “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep doing.” Sound familiar? I know it does for me.
A pure heart is a focused heart. One that gives its full attention to what is right and rebukes what is wrong. Its single purpose is to please and glorify God. In Biblical terms, the heart is not an organ that transfers blood but something much broader. It has more to do with human emotions:
John 14:1, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me,” or human intellect, Mark 2:8, “And, immediately Jesus, perceiving in His Spirit that they thus questioned within themselves said to them, “Why do you question these things in your heart?” Or human will, from Daniel 1:8, “But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the King’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself.” But all these references view the heart as being the seat of character. Thus the Proverb, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
Our heart is and has always been the source of all our trouble. From the very beginning of time our heart has been split. From that first bite of the forbidden fruit our hearts have yearned for other things than God. Our hearts separate us and are stubborn in their healing. Our hearts still want the forbidden over the holy. It’s something sin has brought into the world and therefore our struggle never ends. Jesus Himself said, “…out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” (Matthew 15:18-19) Our truest nature is found in the heart. The fact that God can work it into purity is one of His greatest miracles.
Jesus said when talking of the nature of the heart, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.(Luke 6:45)
The heart, therefore, is the center of spiritual life. That is why, to be like God means to be of pure heart. But can the heart be changed? Again, the answer is a resounding YES!!
The pathway to purity has always led through Christ. Because we had no hope of purity through our own efforts, God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us. Jesus Christ has become our purity. But in order to truly receive this great gift we must first recognize our need for it. First, we must recognize our own imperfections.
A soon as we understand that godly purity is beyond our reach and only achieved through Christ, we can begin the process of purification. But to admit that only God can make your heart pure is not to suggest that you are allowed to become passive in the matter. Or as Martin Lloyd Jones suggests, “it does not mean that I should walk the gutters in life waiting for God to cleanse me.”
A heart intent on godly purity continues to strive for purity even as it is being cleansed. A heart intent on perfection continually strives to overcome those things that make it unperfect in the eyes of Christ.
Each believer has a responsibility for maintaining the purity which has been gained. Paul writing to the church in Corinth said, “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1)
So, as in all things we need to be steadfast in our prayers to be pure, knowing that communication is key to improvement.
David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart Oh God and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10) He knew that only in desire expressed through prayer could he remain committed to the task.
To be pure in heart we must be committed to the Word of God as our blueprint to life. The heart committed to purity daily ingests the vitamins needed to heal itself. Our vitamins come in God’s word and direction. You ignore the medication and the infections and impurities escalate. The heart in search of purity takes in the Word daily. The heart in search of purity worships God in all things and commits themselves to worshipping with those who fight the battle at their side. This was never a battle we were to face alone. God is always at our side but also are all the brothers and sisters we have inherited as believers. We need each other to fight our way through the impurities and temptations of the world. When you miss worship, you miss the opportunity to help and to be helped.
Finally, the heart that searches for purity is the heart willing to surrender itself to the only one from which true purity can be found. Only God can do the impossible and only he can provide a heart in good standing. As in all the beatitudes it is only the strong who can do the things Christ is asking of us. In this there is no exception, and for that kind of strength, our source can only be the one true God. That is why it takes our total surrender.
Do you want to see God, I mean truly see Him? Then it will take a pure heart that only He can provide. 2 Corinthians 3:18, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” God longs for your undivided heart. He yearns for a heart that has not been mixed with worldliness. Won’t you give Him your heart today? All of it? Don’t let your own ambitions cloud you from the things that are most important. Amen