Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.(Matt. 5:8, NKJV).
What a lovely verse! And a beautiful promise! That we shall someday see God! Doesn’t it make you just want so much to be described as “pure in heart”?
So far the Beatitudes have focused on attitudes and character traits that, while at times may be difficult to attain, at least seem possible. We can recognize our sins and be poor in spirit; we can mourn over our sin; we can meekly yield to Christ; we can earnestly desire righteousness; we can be merciful to those around us.
But can we be pure in heart?
We’re human. We’re fallible? As hard as we try, we make mistakes.
It’s a lofty ambition, to be pure in heart. How on earth can we be that?
When I looked up “pure” in Greek, I saw that it means “clean,” “clear,” and “pure.” When I read those definitions, my immediate thought was of purified water. It’s clean, it’s clear, it’s pure. All the impurities have been removed from it. Hmm… the impurities have been removed.
So, the water was impure to start with, but then it was made pure. Could the same idea apply to our hearts?
That even though we start off sinful, God can purify us, filtering out the sin?
And that those who have had their hearts purified are the ones who will, one day, see God?
Look at the apostle Paul. He started out as a complete enemy of the Lord, as a murderer of His followers. And yet he embraced Christ’s grace and forgiveness to the point that he could say with the utmost confidence, “I am innocent of the blood of all men,” and “I serve God with a pure conscience” (Acts 20:26, 2 Tim. 1:3).
Was Paul’s heart always pure? Certainly not! Like everyone, he made mistakes. And yet, through God’s forgiveness, his heart was continually cleansed and purified.
Once again, here are some cross-references to increase our understanding of this Scripture:
1 John 3:2-3 – “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (This is such a great cross-reference. Jesus said that the pure will see God. Here we learn that we purify ourselves because we hope to see God someday)
1 Tim. 5:22 – “Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure.” (Don’t contaminate yourself, spiritually speaking)
Phil. 4:8 – “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.” (Don’t pollute your mind with trash – think on things that are pure)
2 Tim. 2:22 – “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (Surround yourself with like-minded people who also seek God with pure hearts)
1 Tim. 1:5 – “Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.” (Is our love pure? Or is it as I have written previously, a selfish love?)
1 Pet. 1:22 – “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart.” (This gives a new spin on the phrase “true love,” doesn’t it?)
James 3:17 – “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” (God’s wisdom is full of lots of good things, but first of all, it is pure)
Acts 15:8 – “So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” (This is talking about the first Gentile conversions. By their believing faith in the Gospel, the Spirit purified their hearts.)
Heb. 9:13-14 – “For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Purifying = cleansing. And Christ can cleanse our hearts and consciences from our sinful actions)
Psa. 51:7, 10 – “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. . . . Create in me in a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (These verses don’t mention purity directly, but the idea of cleansing, purification, and purging is certainly present.)
Titus 1:15 – “To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but even their mind and conscience are defiled.” (To the unbelievers, nothing is pure. But those have been saved are considered pure)
James 4:8 – “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (When you repent of your sins, your hearts are purified and cleansed)
Psa. 12:6 – “The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” (God’s words are pure – how about our words?)
Pro. 15:26 – “The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD, but the words of the pure are pleasant.” (Pure words will be pleasant to the LORD, and hopefully to others too!)
Pro. 21:8 – “The way of a guilty man is perverse; but as for the pure, his work is right.” (The pure does what is right)
Pro. 30:12 – “There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, yet is not washed from its filthiness.” (Let us not be guilty of thinking too highly of ourselves)
2 Sam. 22:27, “With the pure You will show Yourself pure . . .” (The pure will see God as pure)
So, are we pure in our own eyes? Or has God washed us from our filthiness?
Do we speak words that are pure and pleasant?
Do we meditate on what is pure and lovely, or on what is sinful and dark?
Do we seek to purify our lives in Christ’s strength, or do we try to clog God’s filter?
“Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation”