Blessed are the Pure in Heart
- Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. (Mt. 5:8)
Jesus spoke of things that defile (make impure) our heart: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man" (Mk. 7:21-23). We can find our own impurities simply by reading them. If they are disgusting, we are still pure in heart regarding that lust. If they are enticing and tempting, then they are the impurities that create. Consider Solomon, who was pure regarding idolatry until he “was old.” Then “his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God.”
If we seek a pure heart, we must be careful about polluting our emotions and desires. Any wholesome emotion can be contaminated and defiled. Sometimes it occurs slowly over many years as Solomon while other times it comes in an instant as his father David. It was only a casual glance onto the roof of Bathsheba’s home as she bathed that brought the temptation of impurity into his heart. He had a short window to remove it. When he asked about her, he learned she was married and he had been coveting the wife of another man. He could have repented, went to his own wife, and remained pure (2Sam. 11). But this “man after God’s own heart” was so defiled that even “coveting a man’s wife” was not enough to stop him. He “committed adultery” and the impurity remained. A month or two later he learned she was pregnant and committed murder. During that time of impurity he later wrote: “my bones grew old through my groaning” and “my vitality was turned into the drought of summer.” When God sent Nathan to reveal his impurity, he repented and cleansed his heart of this defilement and God graciously forgave him. “I acknowledged my sin to You, I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord, and You forgave the iniquity of my sin." (Ps. 32:3-5).
When we obeyed the truth we received the same cleansing. “you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit.” Through the gospel “our hearts” are “sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water,” (1Pet. 1:22; Heb. 10:22). As Paul before us, we too “arise” and are “baptized” and “wash away our sins.” (Acts 22:16). God then removed our petrified and defiled “heart of stone.” “I shall take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh.” (Ezek. 11:19). We “escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2Pet. 2:20).
Now the work begins. The grace God gave us above now teaches us to deny and remove these things from our heart. By our own effort of denial we remove impurities from our heart. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.” Jesus “gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people.” (Titus 2:11-14). Thus grace and denial work hand in hand for our purification. The grace: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isa. 1:16-19). The denial: “He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’” (Lk. 9:23-24)
Denial begins when we repent of and confess each sin immediately after it is committed. The “pure in heart” cannot stand to allow defilement to remain in their heart. Once identified we remove all the provisions that lead to further defilement: “make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” “If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.” (Rom. 13:14; Mt. 5:30).
Purifying the heart is a continuing process: “if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” “Put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. ... you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth." (Rom 13:14; 3:5, 8)
Conclusion. Every impurity has entered our heart through our own bad choices. We now struggle between two extremes. “To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.” (Titus 1:15). We now see the power of mourning and being poor in spirit for this is the only way to become pure in heart. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart — These, O God, You will not despise.” As we to grow in purity, Jesus promised that ultimately we will see God.
- If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1Jn. 1:9)
- But the end of the charge is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (1Tim. 1:5)
- Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, 17 Learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. 18 Come now, and let us reason together, says the LORD, Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; (Isa. 1:16-19)
- Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. (Pr. 4:23)
- Who shall ascend into the hill of Jehovah? And who shall stand in his holy place? 4 He that has clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto falsehood, and has not sworn deceitfully. (Ps. 24:3-4)
- The perverse in heart are an abomination to the LORD, but the blameless in their walk are His delight. (Pr. 11:20)
- Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; (Heb. 12:14-15)