8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8 (NASB)
How important is it for Christians to be pure in heart? If we look at Jesus’ statement from Matthew 5:8 we see that those who are pure in heart shall see God. What does that mean? Is this a promise that the only ones who do attain a pure heart will be in eternity with God? Or, does it mean that our English/American understanding of the terms used in this statement by Jesus are inadequate to convey the truths correctly?…
Perhaps it is both. Also, what does it mean for a Christian to be pure in heart? Jesus is telling us that this is very important. I have heard teachings on the Beatitudes that say that the Christlikeness demanded by Jesus in this sermon is only possible for people who have been glorified. That means that they believe in a Millennial Reign by Christ some time in the future where Christians now will live in perfection for 1000 years ruling and reigning with Christ. In other words, they are teaching that Christ’s call for Christian’s to be pure in heart is not possible for us here and now.
If we seriously read the Sermon on the Mount, placing into context with all of Jesus’ teachings and all of the Apostle’s teachings, we must see that Jesus is telling us that His disciples are not to lazily wait around for the Millennium to get serious about their walk before the Lord. We are to pursue Christlikeness by submitting to His Lordship in all parts of our lives. How can we do this? Is it all by will power or do we need help?
Before we enter in to this discussion let’s look at what it means that the pure in heart shall see God. First, God is infinite. He is beyond our comprehension. The little bit of understanding that we have of God comes through where and when God has revealed Himself to us in a way that we can understand. For instance, we learn much from the Word of God don’t we? To see God in the context of Jesus’ statement in v8 means to to come to an understanding of God and His ways as He has revealed Himself to us. This understanding can come through our circumstances, prayer, worship, and from reading the Word of God. I watched a video not long after Hurricane Katrina had done its damage in Louisiana and the surrounding area. The video was about people who had been horribly impacted by the Hurricane. They lost most, if not all, of their possessions to the flood. However, as they were interviewed, they thanked God that He had impacted their lives like that because through the workings of various ministries and godly people they had actually experienced God’s grace in action. One man said that if there had been no Katrina that he would still be wasting his time watching sports on TV while his Bible had three inches of dust on it from lack of use. Now, he is walking closer to God and now he knows where the book of Isaiah is whereas before he didn’t. As many of you know, I was in the blast zone of the OKC Federal Center Bombing on April 19, 1995 when Timothy McVeigh set off his bomb. It was amazing to see God’s hand working in the lives of those severely impacted by that tragedy. God used it in my own life to bring in stress and anger which revealed a heart desperately in need of grace.