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Pure in Heart

Jesus began his powerful sermon on the mount with what we have come to know as the beatitudes (Matt. 5:3-12).  Each statement begins with the word "blessed", which means "happy or fortunate," and connotes prosperity and a good condition.  Jesus said that those who are truly blessed or happy possess certain qualities, all of which relate to an attitude of heart.  However, He very specifically addressed the condition of the heart when He said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matt. 5:8).


What does it mean to be "pure in heart?"  The word "pure" means "undefiled" and indicates not only cleanness, but also unity.  Just as a pure substance contains no contaminants, neither does a pure heart.  Thus, to be pure in heart, one must be undefiled and of one purpose in his heart.


The heart is the center of man's thinking, reasoning, and feeling.  It is the seat of man's moral mind and can be consumed by good or evil.  Every action of man reflects that which is in his heart, and his words come from the treasury of his heart (Matt. 12:34-35).  So, one who is pure in heart has a clean and uniform motivation in every word and deed.


Jesus' statement contrasted with the ideas of the Pharisees who placed all emphasis upon external cleanness, ceremonial washings, and avoidance of anything considered to be unclean, whether it was food, corpses, or people who were not Jews.  Jesus said that the Pharisees were "like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness" (Matt. 23:25-28).  Their external appearance of religion and righteousness was useless, for their hearts were contaminated.


Purity of heart requires a sincere dedication to serving God and doing His will.  It requires an honesty and a love which has no hidden motive and no selfish interest (1Tim. 1:5).  It requires that we do good works, not for the praise and recognition of men, but for the pleasure of God (Matt. 6:1-8).  A pure heart has God at its center, and everything else revolves around Him.


The heart of man has become polluted with all kinds of evil thoughts, motives, and intentions which defile the man and make him unacceptable to God, but God has not left man to die in this condition.  God purifies the hearts of those who by faith purify themselves in obedience to the truth. (1Pet. 1:22; 1John 3:3).  Jesus "gave Himself for us, that he might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds" (Titus 2:14).  Only those who have obeyed Christ have obtained the purity of the heart by which we may have fellowship with God.


Be careful always to protect the heart.  It is one of man's most precious possessions and should not be regarded lightly, for the pure in heart shall see God.


Stacey E. Durham



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