The Beatitudes – Blessed are the pure in heart
“But the purity of heart commended here by Christ goes further than this. What is purity? It is freedom from defilement and divided affections; it is sincerity, genuineness, and singleness of heart. As a quality of Christian character, we would define it as godly simplicity. It is the opposite of subtlety and duplicity. Genuine Christianity lays aside not only malice, but guile and hypocrisy also. It is not enough to be pure in words and in outward deportment. Purity of desires, motives, and intents is what should (and does in the main) characterize the child of God. Here, then, is a most important test for every professing Christian to apply to himself. Are my affections set upon things above? Are my motives pure? Why do I assemble with the Lord’s people? Is it to be seen of men, or is it to meet with the Lord and to enjoy sweet communion with Him and His people?” The Beatitudes, by A.W. Pink, The Sixth Beatitude
Jeremiah declared, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? ‘I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.’” (Jeremiah 17:9-10). Evil ways and deeds begin in the heart and mind, which are here used as one, intrinsically connected. Jesus confirms what was written by Jeremiah, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” (Matthew 15:19).
The Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon, in a sermon on the sixth Beatitude taught; “It was a peculiarity of the great Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, that his teaching was continually aimed at the hearts of men. Other teachers had been content with outward moral reformation, but he sought the source of all the evil, that he might cleanse the spring from which all sinful thoughts, and words, and actions come.”
God has always been concerned above all else with the inner man, with the condition of his heart. Jesus condemned the Pharisees’ self-righteous hypocrisy because it blinded them from seeing their need for repentance and a Savior. In Matthew 23:25-28 He calls the scribes and Pharisees blind and hypocrites because they did not understand the priority of the inner man’s purity. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. 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.”
In our Christian lives the standard for righteousness is set very high. The standard is the righteousness and purity of the Creator of the universe, the Perfecter of our soul, the Author of our salvation. The ultimate standard for the purity and perfection of the heart is to attain the purity of God. Further in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus tells us, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48). That’s a very high standard indeed. God’s absolute purity is God’s standard for the heart! Like keeping the Law this is a standard that we cannot meet. David tells us that only those that are pure of heart can enter the Kingdom. “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.” (Psalm 24:3-4).
This concept of purity and how it separates us from the love of God is a continuous theme in God’s Word. “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.” (Isaiah 59:1-2). So it seems we are hopeless because we cannot attain God’s purity and need to in order to not be separated from Him.
Since the impurity of ours hearts separate us from God He knew He needed a provision that we may know Him and commune with Him. A provision so we can come into His presence. God’s plan of salvation was His way of reconciling our unclean and impure lives with Himself. God’s plan of salvation was through the shedding of blood as a peace offering between man and His Creator. For God so loved us and desired that we walk in his counsel and in His ways that He would sacrifice His only Son on the cross of Calvary. That was His plan of Salvation, that was His provision. For only the perfect Lamb of God would suffice to cleanse us in His eyes. It could only have been Jesus because “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Colossians 1:19-20).
It is through the shed bled of Jesus that we are provisioned. Purity of heart through Jesus Christ will reconcile us to our heavenly Father. When our hearts are purified at salvation we begin to live in the presence of God. We begin to see and to comprehend Him with our new spiritual eyes. We begin to obtain the blessings that our Lord promised us – “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”