Who Are the Pure in Heart?Most people in the world hewrt no experience of lasting joy in their lives. All of our resources exist to clean heart meaning you toward everlasting joy in Jesus Christ. The first thing we learn from this beatitude is that Jesus is concerned with clean heart meaning heart. It is not enough to clean up our act on the outside. The aim of Jesus Christ is not to reform the manners of society, but to change the hearts of sinners like you and me.
What does it mean to be pure in heart?
Most people in the world have no experience of lasting joy in their lives. All of our resources exist to guide you toward everlasting joy in Jesus Christ. The first thing we learn from this beatitude is that Jesus is concerned with our heart.
It is not enough to clean up our act on the outside. The aim of Jesus Christ is not to reform the manners of society, but to change the hearts of sinners like you and me. So, for example, Jesus would not be satisfied with a society in which there were no acts of adultery. You have heard that it was said, "You shall not commit adultery. The heart is what you are, in the secrecy of your thought and feeling, when nobody knows but God.
And what you are at the invisible root matters as much to God as what your are at the visible branch. From the heart are all the issues of life. What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander.
These are what defile a man. Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit.
For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. So the heart is utterly crucial to Jesus. What we are in the deep, private recesses of our lives is what he cares about most. Jesus did not come into the world simply because we have some bad habits that need to be broken. He came into the world because we have such dirty hearts that need to be purified. Have you thought recently how helpless the local, state, and federal government is to solve problems of our society?
So over half of the next generation in the black community is being raised without a dad at home. The long term effect of that tragedy nobody knows.
What can the government do? It seems that all it can do is try to find ways to soften the financial burden on these children and their mothers. Do you see how amazingly relevant the words of Jesus are? He says, "Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication. All babies born to unmarried mothers and fathers!
Therefore Jesus would say, if he were here today, that this massive problem in our society is a problem with the heart. If people—white people, black people, red people, yellow people—were pure in heart, they would be blessed. Their society would be blessed. And the impotence of the state to deal with the inner collapse of our culture would be replaced by the power of purity. Now the reason I mention the social relevance of Jesus' teaching on purity of heart is not because that is what the beatitude is about.
In fact, this beatitude is emphatically irrelevant if measured by contemporary social standards. Blessed are the pure in heart, Jesus says, not for they shall save the legislature millions of dollars in AFDC payments. Rather, blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. The reason I mention the social impact implicit in Jesus' teaching is so that our socially sensitive consciences can gladly affirm the centrality of God in this beatitude.
My own conviction is that the fundamental problem in American society and culture is that we attempt to solve human problems while neglecting the centrality of God in the life of the soul.
We are so bombarded by human tragedies of poverty and crime and abuse and neglect and war and the manifold injustices of man to man, that we are tempted to agree with the world that it is useless pie in the sky by and by to be concerned with whether the soul will ever see God. But this is the greatest of all tragedies—that in seeking to relieve the temporal miseries of man we set aside the centrality of God.
But Jesus comes to us this morning and says, "Blessed are the pure in heart," not first because they change society, but first because they will see God.
Seeing God is the great goal of being pure. Abandon that goal and human culture collapses into ruin. First, to see God means to be admitted to his presence. After the plague of darkness on Egypt, Pharaoh exploded to Moses with these words:.
I will not see your face again. When a king says, "You will never see my face again," he means, "I will never grant you admission again into my presence. In the same way we call the doctor today and say, "Can I see Dr.
Or, Can I see a picture of him? We mean, Can I have an appointment to be with him? Second, seeing God means being awestruck by his glory—by a direct experience of his holiness. After God confronted Job in the whirlwind, Job said, "I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees thee; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes. Virtually all of our spiritual sight in this life is mediated to us through the Word of God or the work of God in providence.
We "see" images and reflections of his glory. We hear echoes and reverberations of his voice. But there will come a day when God himself will dwell among us. His glory will no longer be inferred from lightning and mountains and roaring seas and constellations of stars.
Instead our experience of him will be direct. His glory will be the very light in which we move Revelation So seeing God means not only being admitted to his presence, but also being awestruck by a direct experience of his glory. Finally, seeing God means being comforted by his grace. Again and again the psalmists cry out to God that he not hide his face from them. For example in Psalm 27 verses 7—9 David says,. Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me! Hide not thy face from me.
If God shows his face, we are helped. If he turns his face away, we are dismayed. So when Jesus promises the reward of "seeing God" there are at least these three things implied: We will be awestruck with a direct experience of his glory. And we will be helped and comforted by his grace. And this we will have—in part now, and fully in the age to come—if we are pure in heart.
That is not a bad definition, provided that the one thing we will is the glory of God. Let me try to show you where that definition comes from in Scripture. We start with the closest OT parallel to this beatitude, namely, Psalm Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully.
You can see what David means by a "pure heart" in the phrases that follow it. A pure heart is a heart that has nothing to do with falsehood. It is painstakingly truthful and free from deceitfulness.
Deceit is what you do when you will two things, not one thing. You will to do one thing and you will that people think you are doing another. You will to feel one thing and you will that people think you are feeling another. That is impurity of heart. Purity of heart is to will one thing, namely, to "seek the face of the Lord" verse 6. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you men of double mind.
Notice that just like Psalm 24 there is reference to both clean hands and a pure heart as preparation for drawing near to God, or "ascending the hill of the Lord. Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. So the double-minded man of verse 8 has his heart divided between the world and God, like a wife who has a husband and a boyfriend.
Purity of heart on the other hand is to will one thing, namely, full and total allegiance to God. So if we ask, Where in the gospels did Jesus explain purity of heart in this way?
Not with part of your heart. Not with a double or divided heart. That would be impurity. Purity of heart is no deception, no double-mindedness, no divided allegiance. Purity of heart is to will one thing, namely, God's truth and God's value in everything we do. The aim of the pure heart is to align itself with the truth of God and magnify the worth of God. If you want to be pure in heart, pursue God with utter single-mindedness.