Devotional - 97-05-30 - Purity of Heart
The Sermon on the Mount Series, Part 6
Mat 5:8 (NIV) Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Vine's Expository Dictionary translates this word "pure" as "being cleansed."
Matthew Henry, in Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Bible, says: The happiness of seeing God is promised to those, and those only, who are pure in heart. None but the pure are capable of seeing God, nor would it be a felicity to the impure. What pleasure could an unsanctified soul take in the vision of a holy God? As he cannot endure to look upon their iniquity, so they cannot endure to look upon his purity; nor shall any unclean thing enter into the new Jerusalem; but all that are pure in heart, all that are truly sanctified, have desires wrought in them, which nothing but the sight of God will sanctify; and divine grace will not leave those desires unsatisfied.
And how do we obtain this pureness in heart? We cannot do it on our own. Some of us don't feel pure in heart. We feel unworthy, perhaps because of something we have done in the past, or something we are doing now. But thank God -- literally -- our worthiness does not depend on us. It depends on Christ's work of dying on the cross and being resurrected, not on us. We must receive it as a gift from God, through faith:
Eph 2:8-9 (NIV) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
If we confess our sins, God will purify us. If we are purified by Him, we can communicate with Him now on Earth, and we can see Him one day "in person--" in fact, we can spend eternity with Him.
Some of us have had a hard time understanding this. We may think that going to church will assure us a spot in Heaven. Or perhaps we think the route to Heaven is via doing good works--helping the needy, etc. Some have even believed that the world's standards of values are the same as God's.
Mat 19:24-26 (NIV) Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?" 26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
And God certainly wants us to fellowship with other believers in the local church, and to do good works. But these are a result, not a cause of being pure in heart. And there is nothing wrong with being wealthy. Contrary to what some people believe, there is no virtue in poverty for poverty's sake alone. It's a matter of balance. But the bottom line of purity of heart, is that it comes from God initially in salvation. And also we should be growing to be more and more like Him, in our hearts.
Dear Lord, help us to depend on You for our purity of heart. Help us to become more and more likeYou. And if there are any readers out there who have not received your purity for them, your salvation, draw them to Yourself. In Jesus' name amen.