Matthew 5:8 – “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God”
The first Beatitude, being poor in spirit, deals with being real first to who we are and then to who He is, so that we can become empty of us and filled with Him. Second, those who mourn, means those who have come face to face with their sin and are broken. This moves us to meekness, where we surrender to His supremacy and give God control. As we do we develop a hunger for Him which causes us to become more engaged in the eternal and less entertained by the earthly. As a result we major in mercy, making people the priority instead of possessions as we chose to release those in debt and restore the downtrodden. After manifesting mercy to my neighbor, the attention moves from my neighbor to me, from charity to purity, from external compassion to internal holiness. The Message paraphrase this Beatitude: “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.” The emphasis is on what’s inside us, being pure in heart involves our inner life. Yet just because this occurs on the inside doesn’t mean that our heart is hidden, because what goes on in secret will show up and be seen on the outside. What takes place on the inside will be reflected on the outside. Your attitudes will be seen in your actions, your motives will be revealed by what moves you. In dealing with the external God looks at the internal because what is in your heart will come out. Being pure in heart means having an honest heart and dealing with the deceit, you can’t live with the lies and with the Lord. People that are pure in heart don’t put up a pretense of piety. Being a follower of Jesus means not faking it, it means being real, we are called to be followers not frauds. Yet in our performance based world it’s easy to give in to the pressure of pretense, to fall into the trap of faking instead of pursuing purity. We are all tempted to trade truth for fiction and start faking it, but when we do we end up living a lie. We end up wasting our energy engaged in maintaining masks so that we can con our coworkers, and fool our friends and family. Some of us even try to carry on our charade with God, thinking that we can masquerade before Him in our well maintained masks and He will not notice, but you can’t fool the Father. In his book called, “Rumors of Another World,” Philip Yancey concludes one of his chapters with a quote from Malcolm Muggeridge to show the subtleness of sin: “It is precisely when you consider the best in man that you see there is in each of us a hard core of pride or self-centeredness which corrupts our best achievements and blights our best experiences. It comes out in all sorts of ways – in the jealousy which spoils our friendships, in the vanity we feel when we have done something pretty good, in the easy conversion of love into lust, in the meanness which makes us depreciate the efforts of other people, in the distortion of our own judgment by our own self-interest, in our fondness for flattery and our resentment of blame, and in our self-assertive profession of fine ideals which we never begin to practice” (Pages 123-24). As Christians we do a pretty good job of mask management expending huge sums of energy trying to look right instead of living right. The Lord can see our hearts and when our hearts are pure, we can see Him. We need to have a passion for purity if we are going to pursue purity. This term “pure” is the Greek word from which we get our word “catharsis,” which means a cleansing of the mind or emotions. It has two meanings, first, it means to make pure by cleansing from contamination. It’s the picture of metals being refined by fire so that they are free from impurities. It was also used to describe dirty clothes washed clean, or grain that was sifted and cleaned to remove the chaff. Second, it refers to being unmixed so that we don’t have a double allegiance. This deals with our devotion, what Warren Wiersbe calls singleness of heart, as opposed to duplicity, or a divided heart. In Matthew 6:33 Jesus reminds us that: “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” Jesus wants us to be single-minded in our devotion. James 1:5-8 teaches us to be devoted and not divided in our dependence on God: “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.” Double-minded people are not devoted to God, their allegiance is divided. A person with a passion for purity is one who has been cleansed in character so that the way they look in public is the way they live in private. Character is what you are when no one is looking and only Christ can see. Psalm 24:3-4 says: “Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.” The one who is single-minded in their commitment to Christ is the one who is inwardly pure. The bible speaks to two kinds of purity, positional purity and practical purity. Positional purity is the Saviors purity that is imputed to us at the moment of salvation. Because of Jesus God sees us robed in the righteousness of Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:21 says: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Practical purity is a work in progress and is the call for us to live out our position in practical ways. 2 Corinthians 7:1: “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” There is a day dawning when our positional and practical purity will mirror one another and our purity will be permanent, 1 John 3:2 says: “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” Are you living out your position of purity as you purse practicing purity in the midst of an impure world? Are you living a faithful life or a fraudulent one?