Beatitudes-Blessed are the Pure in Heart

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matt. 5:8)

Each beatitude of the Lord declares the blessed and happy condition of those who possess certain qualities, all of which relate to an attitude of heart.  In the sixth beatitude, Christ addressed the condition of the heart directly by extolling the blessedness of a pure heart. To fully apply this beatitude, we need to understand what the heart is, and what is required for the heart to be pure.

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 reveal the thoughts of his heart.

Purity is the quality of being 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.  One who is pure in heart has a clean and uniform motivation in every word and deed.  Notice Psalm 24:4-5:

“He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully.  He shall receive a blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation.”

The Lord’s teaching in the sixth beatitude 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.  On one occasion, when Christ’s disciples were concerned that the Lord’s teachings had offended the Pharisees, Jesus said,

“Are you still lacking in understanding also?  Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.  For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.  These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.” (Matt. 15:16-20)

On another occasion, Jesus said directly to the Pharisees,

“You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good?  For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.  The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil.” (Matt. 12:34-35)

Jesus compared the Pharisees to “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 honesty and 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.

Those who are pure in heart are given the promise that they will see God.  Knowing that this is true, Christians rejoice for the prospect of seeing God, and this promise motivates them to keep their hearts pure.  Notice 1John 3:2-3:

“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be.  We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.  And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

Therefore, let us always be careful to protect the heart.  It a precious possession and should never be defiled, for the pure in heart shall see God.

Next: “Blessed are the Peacemakers”

Stacey E. Durham


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