In part 5, we talked about receiving mercy from God and showing it to others (Matthew 5:7). To recap, after we realize our brokenness and need for a Savior, mourn over our sin, submit ourselves to God, hunger for God’s righteousness, and receive God’s mercy, then He will make in us a pure heart, which is today’s verse.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” — Matthew 5:8
What does it mean to be pure in heart?
According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, ‘pure’ is the Greek word katharos, which means “free from corrupt desire, from sin and guilt”, “blameless, innocent”, and “unstained with the guilt of anything.”
‘Heart’ is the Greek word kardia, meaning “of the middle or central or inmost part of anything.”
To be pure in heart means to be cleansed of everything that is impure and corrupt, such as sin. When we recognized our sin and cry out to God for forgiveness, He has mercy on us and cleanses us of our sin.
Think about who Jesus was talking to during His sermon on the mount. He was talking to Jews, and they were being governed by religious leaders who taught that living by the Mosaic Law would get you into Heaven. They were teaching that works would save you.
The problem was that there was no amount of good works any of them could do to earn their way into Heaven. Not even the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament could save them. Only Jesus, living a perfect life and dying as a perfect sacrifice, could atone for all sin.
The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it? — Jeremiah 17:9
Jesus saw past all their outward actions and looked straight to their heart, and He does the same with us. We were all born sinners and deserve His righteous judgment. However, we have been saved by grace through faith.
Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. — Ezekiel 36:25-27
In Ezekiel, God is speaking to the Israelites through the prophet Ezekiel. God has told the Israelites that He is going to bring judgment on them because they are a rebellious people who have forsaken Him. However, He makes this promise. He tells them that He will cleanse them from all “filthiness”, removing their heart of stone that is dead in sin and giving them a heart of flesh that has been made alive in Him.
Being “pure in heart” means that we have been cleansed from our sin by the saving grace of God.
What does it mean to see God?
“See” is the Greek word optanomai, meaning “to look at, behold” and “to allow one’s self to be seen, to appear.” Until we have received God’s grace and mercy and have been forgiven and cleansed of our sin, we cannot see God. Because we are sinners from birth, we cannot truly see God, and we have no desire to know Him.
Can we physically see God when we are saved? No. This “seeing” God is knowing Him and understanding Him and His Word. It’s salvation, the climax of the Beatitudes. All the previous Beatitudes were leading up to this one.
When we are saved, God gives us a new heart, cleansing us from sin, and He gives us His Spirit so that we may know Him and His Words. Just like Ezekiel says, His Spirit helps us understand the Bible and enables us to live out God’s commandments.
The purification doesn’t end with salvation though. In Psalm 51, David says:
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin. — Psalm 51:2
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me. — Psalm 51:10
David is expressing his need to be cleansed from sin again. We have been saved by grace through faith, but we are still sinners. David shows us that, as Christians, we have to continually confess our sins and turn away from that sin that keeps us from seeing God clearly. We are purified through justification when we are saved, but we are also continually purified through regeneration so that we may continue to see and know God.
What are the signs of a pure heart?
A love for God and His Word (Psalm 119:9-16), a desire for purity (Psalm 51), a hate of sin (Psalm 119:104), and a love for others (1 John 4:7).
Your sister in Christ,