The Pure in Heart

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“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

There is a lot to think about and consider in connection with this statement that Jesus made, and I’m looking forward to exploring it this Sunday, but perhaps we should begin with the simple and obvious observation that what Jesus is concerned about is our hearts.

He does not say, for example, “blessed are the pure in conduct…”

Matthew 23:27-28 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”

He does not say, “blessed are those who are pure in their theology…”

We should not be impressed, of course, with people who hold PHD’s in theology but who have no special love for the truth in their hearts. Jesus had in mind such a person who possessed a right understanding and who knew intellectually the right things to say when He commented, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.”

If Jesus had said blessed are the pure in conduct or theology then we might know what to do with this beatitude. In some ways that would be easier. If this was all simply a matter of the will or the intellect then we could envision what must be done to satisfy the requirement. For example, if the problem was primarily centered on our outward conduct than I could formulate an action plan to change my behavior. And I suppose we could read some books in order to bone up on our theology if that was what God required. However, it’s not what he requires, and that is the trouble, isn’t it?

What steps can I take to purify my heart? And if only the pure in heart will see God what hope do any of us have?