Text: Matthew 5 : 1 - 12
To hear Jesus speak about God must have been a deeply profound experience. His doctrines may indeed be called “Life-changing teachings”. Each thought was skillfully crafted. Each statement was refreshingly presented. Every word was life-giving and those who were truly receptive would find that their lives would never be the same again! Their perspective of life had been changed irrevocably!
ANOTHER SOUL-STIRRING PROCLAMATION
What were the disciples looking for as they followed Jesus? Were they really looking for God? Would they find Him more real and precious through listening to Jesus? Then they must listen to this word He proclaimed.
“Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.”
What did Jesus mean? The question of “seeing God” was an old one. Surely, the ancients had already established that no one could really see God and live?
A TIME WHEN GOD TALKED WITH MEN FREELY
The Scriptures wrote of the ancients who seemed to have close communion with God. Did not God speak to their patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Did not the prophets have dreams and visions from God? Where were those times?
It had been hundreds of years since Israel heard the voice of a prophet! John was the closest they had to a prophet’s voice. But John’s ministry was short-lived. He was in prison for having spoken up against Herod Antipas.
Then came this Man whom John proclaimed as The Lamb of God. He was hailed as the One who was far greater in stature and in power! What did He promise? Could God be seen? What did that statement really mean? How wonderful it would be if it was true that one could “see” God.
HOW DOES ONE BECOME “PURE IN HEART?”
If one has to be “pure in heart” before he can see God, then surely nobody would be able to see Him! Who could be pure in heart? How does one become pure in heart? (The word “pure” translates from the word “katharizo” – to make clean. This root word in Greek is behind the English word “catharsis”).
Again we are deeply indebted to the Psalms. Let us consider how the sinful may become pure! One of the most moving pieces of works that David wrote must be this penitential psalm. If anyone was guilty of sin and in need of forgiveness and cleansing, David was that man!
“Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness,
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.”
David had nothing to plead with, except his knowledge of God. He knew that God was most merciful and full of lovingkindness. If ever anyone could cleanse a most wicked and sinful heart, the God that David knew could do that!
The penitent David wept much before God, pleading with God to cleanse his heart.
“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Create within me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
Psalm 51:7, 10
Would anyone really like to “see” God? Then they must first seek to be cleansed from their sins! They must plead as David did! They must make full confession. And when the heart is sincerely seeking to be cleansed from sin, then would true and full cleansing take place!
WOULD GOD TRULY CLEANSE AND CAUSE THE HEART TO BE PURE?
Cleansing and purity of heart are inextricably related. A pure heart is one that has been cleansed. The cleansed heart is pure. Let us consider another psalm that David wrote.
“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not
And in whose spirit there is no deceit.”
The Lord heard the heart-felt cries of David, and forgiveness was granted. All sins were covered. All transgressions were forgiven! The Lord would not impute iniquity upon the repentant sinner! The penitent who sought God for His cleansing is now “pure in heart”.
A CALL TO BE CLEANSED FROM SIN
The person who desires to follow Jesus and be His disciple must first comprehend just how sinful he really is. He who stands in the Presence of the Messiah cannot help but feel sinful and in need of cleansing! Jesus came as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. He came to do the impossible. He can cause the heart to be pure, thus paving the way to see God! What a wonderful Beatitude.