We arrive at Week 7 of our series in the Beatitudes. Below are the previous studies.
- God’s desire for internal righteousness (Matthew 5:1-4, 20)
- Spiritual poverty (Matthew 5:3)
- Mourning (Matthew 5:4)
- Humility (Matthew 5:5)
- Holy ambition (Matthew 5:6).
- Mercy (Matthew 5:7)
Today, we consider this – “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Mathew 5:8).
The Greek word for “pure” means “free from any adulterating matter” or “clean.” It is where we get our English word “catharsis.” If something is cathartic, we say it was cleansing in some way. Thus, the idea of being “pure” is to be free from any defilement.
The “pure” Christian is single-minded in his devotion towards God. There is no competitor or no other love or no other god. In Matthew 6:24, Jesus reminds us that we cannot “serve two masters.” To be a friend with the world is be an enemy of God (James 4:4). A “pure” man is not divided between two loves. He doesn’t play on both teams. He doesn’t have his foot in the world’s door and another foot in heaven’s door.
What’s the reward? Seeing God. To see God is to know God. To behold God in any form or fashion is the ultimate human experience. The verb suggests to us that those who are “pure in heart” will continually see God for themselves.
Now, we know that God does not fully reveal Himself to even sinful men like Moses (Exodus 33-34), for men would die. The theophanies in the O.T. where God revealed himself in a symbol (e.g., cloud, pillar of fire, burning bush) were glimpses of a fraction of His glory. The closest full disclosure of God was Jesus Christ, and John tells us that Jesus is the exegesis of the Father; Jesus explains or exposits the Father (John 1:18).
We see God in creation. We see God in suffering (Romans 8:28-29). We see God in providence (Proverbs 21:1; Romans 13:1). We see God in Scripture.
If seeing God is the aim, and purity is the way to reach it, how does one get or remain pure?
First, verify your own salvation. The prophet Ezekiel, in foretelling salvation through Christ, said, “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you” (Ezekiel 36:25). Purity begins with salvation when we get a new heart.
Second, wash yourself in God’s Word (Psalm 119:9). Jesus prayed that we would be made holy by His Word (John 17:17). The Word will sanctify you. You cannot expect to grow by casually reading and studying God’s Word. When sin moves in, the Word moves out and when the Bible moves into your heart, sin will have a hard time finding a place to dwell.
Third, walk by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16). The Holy Spirit is the agent of sanctification. To walk by the Holy Spirit is to daily pursue His fruits – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). We know we are walking in the Holy Spirit if the desires to produce these fruits are greater than the desires to be fleshly or carnal.
Fourth, and finally, surround yourself with pure people. A friend of the fools will be hurt and a wise man walks with the wise (Proverbs 13:20). Bad company can pollute one’s good morals (I Corinthians 15:33). Your closest friends should be pure in heart. Your friends say a lot about who you really are.
Where is your heart? Is your heart far from God, like the religious leader? Do you see God all around you? How is your heart postured towards Him?