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On Christian Virtue Part 11

Part 11 True Purity of Heart: Realizing the Promise

Last week we discussed the sixth Beatitude, found in Matthew 5:8. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” We learned that Jesus is talking about those who are pure in their innermost being; in the heart, where the Bible says our and deepest desires, emotions, thoughts, and will reside. Pure hearts are those that are undivided by conflicting concerns or unsure loyalties. Pure hearts are those that are free from falsehood, are sincere and transparent. Pure hearts are characterized by pure thoughts, motives and are free from hypocrisy. For a disciple of Christ, a pure heart means undivided loyalty, undiluted commitment, and unmixed motives. A pure heart loves God and Christ first, only, and foremost.

Here is where the fourth Beatitude, ““Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied“, becomes important. In my blog on October 3rd, I defined the word “imputation” in its theological sense. Imputation is a legal and accounting term that means ‘to be credited,’ and in the Bible, imputation is used to describe God’s gracious gift of perfect righteousness given to all those who trust in Christ for their salvation (Genesis 15:6; Psalm 32:1-2; Romans 4:24). We called this Beatitude the hinge because all the others turn on this concept of a hunger and thirst for righteousness that is filled by the imputation of Christ’s perfect righteousness.

Those who are pure in heart love God with all their heart, soul, mind, will, and strength, and when they fail to do so, God credits them for having done so because of Christ. The Bible tells us that this is the condition of the heart of everyone who is “in Christ” (Romans 8:1; 2 Corinthians 5:19). And to those “in Christ,” purity of heart is realized and Jesus promises they receive God’s blessings. So let’s look at how this promise is realized in the here and now.

First, purity is its own reward. Just as we appreciate clean air and water, clean living conditions because it carries the reward of healthy living, in the same way, spiritual and moral purity has rewards as well. People who act out of pure motives, those which can be trusted to do what they say, who help with sincerity instead of anticipating a return, are the kind of people we want to know. When we act out of a pure heart, people often treat us in the same way. True and lasting friendships are built on actions that come from a pure heart.

Second, what price would you put on a clear conscience? At the end of the day, the swindler or thief or cheat looks in the mirror and sees a fraud. They lie restless in bed knowing they are contaminated by their underhanded ways. While the world may disdain the pure in heart because of seared consciences, God has a different view. Solomon writes: “The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.” (Proverbs 19:23, ESV). Purity has emotional and relational rewards that lead to health, life and rest.

Third, purity is rewarded. Jesus says the pure in heart will see God. How could there be a greater reward for the one whom God has called by faith? Think of how you have been moved emotionally by the wisdom of some great person. Imagine meeting Abraham Lincoln or Albert Einstein or William Shakespeare or some other person you admire greatly for their intellect. Well, God is infinitely more wise, interesting and eloquent than any person who has ever lived. God’s mere presence thrills our souls now when we can’t see Him, but think how thrilling it will be in His presence. In Psalm 16, David writes; “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11).

Fourth, purity is real. Do you want to see God? Then God must purify your heart. The Apostle James writes; “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8). Purity of heart is required in God’s presence and those whom God calls into His presence, He transforms and changes. They become new creatures in Christ and are given new hearts, indeed, they are given pure hearts (Ezekiel 36:26; 2 Corinthians 4:6).

What is the condition of your heart? If you have trusted in Christ, God has given you a new heart that is pure. And while that purity of heart is not yet complete, there is merit in an imperfectly pure heart when contrasted with an impure heart. God replaces our old, filthy, dead heart with a new heart alive to Him and persevering in faith that leads to purity of heart. If you wish to see God, then turn to Christ who alone can make you fit for heaven. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

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