“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).
This beatitude is the central truth to which the previous five lead and from which the following two flow.
The Meaning of Holiness
The word blessed means a condition of well being that result’s from salvation, a condition of one who has a right relationship to God. Being accepted by Him is a matter internal transformation. Christianity has nothing to do with religion but everything to do with a relationship with God.
The word heart is used metaphorically to represent the inner person. The heart is the seat of our feelings, emotions and attitude. In Proverbs 23:7a we are told, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he”.Jesus said to the scribes in Matthew 9:4, “Why are thinking evil in your hearts?”In total contrast to the outward, superficial religion of the scribes and Pharisee, Jesus said that it is in the inner man, in the core of his very being, that God requires purity. The basic meaning of the word pure is to cleanse from dirt, filth and contamination. Even good deeds do not necessarily come from a good heart. Purity of heart is more than sincerity. A motive can be sincere, yet lead to worthless and sinful things completely void of any spiritual value. It has been said that, “Morality can drown a man as fast as vice,” and that, “A vessel may sink with either gold or with dung.”
People who think that they live good lives or who are self-righteous often judge themselves by the worst standard and not the best. Often they will compare their lives to those who are in prison or anyone who simply does not come up to their standard because of their reputation, their lifestyle, even their job. The “good” person looks down on the one who seems to be less good than himself and in turn, that person looks down on those worse than he is and on and on we go. In the book of Isaiah chapter 64:6 we read these words, “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are like filthy rags.” God’s standard for all men, however, is Himself. Paul wrote, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
The Way to Holiness
Throughout the existence of man, people have struggled and suggested various ways to achieve spiritual purity and holiness. No matter what man’s understanding and answers may be to this problem, whether we try to escape from it or devote ourselves entirely to meditation and prayer, the reality is that the problem of sin is not primarily the world around us but the worldliness within us. Other signs of an impure heart are self-centeredness, sinfulness, unbelief and a hatred for purity. But God has always provided for what He demands, and He has provided ways for us to live in purity.. First – we must realize that we are unable to live a single holy moment without the Lord’s guidance and power. Only by faith in who Jesus is, and by what Jesus has done on the cross, “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7).
The Result of Holiness
The wonderful blessing for all those who are pure in heart is that ‘they shall see God.’
When our hearts are purified at salvation we begin to live in the presence of God. We begin to see and relate with Him with our new spiritual lives. As Paul wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ; It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me”(Galatians 2:20).
A Study from the Beatitudes – by John Denman
Photos by A. Chu