Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God
The stunning nature of this quality is not always apparent until you ask yourself the question, “What would the average person in Jesus’ day have said about who will get to see God one day?” The answer would have clearly been, “Those who do righteous things.” Jesus says that it is purity of heart, not righteousness of action, that puts one on the train bound for heaven. Who you are starts in your soul, not your body. Long before you ever did something righteous, you began to think righteously in your soul.
Purity has both a positive and a negative quality. Too often we only think about its negative quality: the absence of impurity, filth, and wickedness. It is important that the positive quality of purity be emphasized and that its origin in the soul be spotlighted. The positive quality of purity is love of God and love of others. This is purity: the impulse to do as God does and meet the need of others and to glorify God himself. It is when this is intermixed with the selfishness of the fall that impurity is mixed in. Is your motive pure? Then it will be about glorifying God and meeting the needs of others. We, however, since the fall have naturally placed the impulse for self-preservation as supreme. Our natural desire to please God and love others died, and we became selfish creatures. We must give up this natural impulse to look out for number one first. We will benefit from purity, but it is not our primary motive.
The negative quality is important also. Are you doing something that maybe only you know is wrong? Everybody thinks that you are fine and aboveboard, but you know that it is not right. This does not allow your soul to be pure. We need to be cash register honest in our dealings with others and ourselves. It takes very little time on this side of impurity to make it right; much longer than it will take on the other side to fix it. Just be pure.
Live your life as one who knows that God is watching you every step of the way. Live so that He would be pleased and live so that at the final judgment there will be little, if nothing, to be ashamed about.
see: The Greek word orao is translated in this passage to see. It means to perceive, to recognize, to appear. The idea here is that those who have a pure heart will be able, both in heaven and now, to perceive God. We do not see the spirit, but we perceive its presence and its work. This verse is a major insight into why some can live their whole life and have little if no perception of God in the world. Their whole heart is black with selfishness and wickedness. They can only perceive what they have tuned their heart to perceive. It is a terrible thing to miss God because we were too focused on pleasure, power, money, or ourselves.
Notice that this beatitude does not give a timeframe for this perception, although most of us want to put this in heaven. If we have a pure heart, then we will be able to see God in heaven. It does not say this. It says that if we have a pure heart, we will be able to perceive God. If you are having a difficulty perceiving the presence and activity of God, then check your heart. Is there a lack of love for your fellow man there? Is there illegal, illicit, immoral hidden things in your life that blacken your soul? Jesus says that the person who has a pure heart perceives the presence of God.
Now it is important at this point to state clearly that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. All have blackened their hearts and are in need of the righteousness of God that they cannot earn. This righteousness is offered as a gift of God’s grace through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ of Nazareth. He has offered to purify our hearts through His blood and introduce us into a relationship with God directly.
* This material is copyrighted © by Gil Stieglitz who retains all rights to the material. The verses quoted are taken from the NASB Bible 1995 edition.