Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. – Jesus
As I meditated on this verse, one thing that stuck out very clearly to me is that God wants us to be pure in heart. In other words, pureness of heart does not come by regulating our outward actions, but by repentance and change of heart. It comes by being born again through the Holy Spirit and being purified by grace, through faith in the working of God.
This is expressed beautifully by David in one of the best-known verses in Scripture:
Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me. (Psalms 51:10)
“…Don’t you perceive that whatever goes into the man from outside can’t defile him, because it doesn’t go into his heart, but into his stomach, then into the latrine, thus purifying all foods?” He said, “That which proceeds out of the man, that defiles the man. For from within, out of the hearts of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, sexual sins, murders, thefts, covetings, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” (Mark 7:18b-23)
Evil actions are the result of an evil heart. Merely changing our actions will do nothing to purify our hearts. That is why Jesus said, “You must be born again.”
But this isn’t a call to salvation, since you probably have already been born again. Assuming you’ve already repented and trusted in Jesus for salvation from sin, you don’t need to hear the Gospel all over again.
For those who have been born again, there is still a lesson. Because, too often, we forget Who it is that purifies us, and we attempt to purify ourselves without God’s help. Make no mistake: God does not do a halfway job when He saves us. Remember the joke about being a little bit pregnant? Considering that God talks about a new birth, it seems that either you’ve been born again or you haven’t.
However, as we go through life, we find things within us that are not pleasing to God. There are also things that God doesn’t immediately take care of, but waits until a future time to convict and cleanse us.
David gives us a good example of what to do when we find these problems within us: recognize that they come from an impure heart, and call out to God to cleanse us: “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” We are promised: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
But as you seek to be pure in heart, don’t miss the incredible second half of the verse, the blessing of being pure in heart: “…they shall see God.” That sounds exciting. I certainly want to see God!
Because let’s not lose sight of the end goal: we do not seek pure hearts just so that we can feel good about ourselves or so that we look good. We want to have a close relationship with the King of Kings!