“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God”
Christian doctrine emphasizes the heart! Jesus baffled the scholars of His day because He bypassed the intellectual mechanics of the Scriptures and zeroed in on their effect on the heart. The Pharisees were interested in the outside more than the inside. They made the way of life and righteousness a mere matter of conduct and ethics.
“Heart” refers to the core of our being. It includes our mind, will and emotions. It is also the seat of all our problems. Jesus put it this way: “For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thought, sexual immorality, theft, murder, and adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All of these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean'” (Mark 7:20-23).
Even if we had a perfect environment, it would not solve man’s problems. It was in paradise, the Garden of Eden, that man fell. Problems in life always come from an unworthy desire in the heart. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). To be pure is to be without hypocrisy, which is the worst of all heart problems. It is a lie that has an attractive cover to hide the truth. It causes us to be dishonest, insincere and self-deceiving. The hypocrite may even claim a share in Christ righteousness. He might be involved in religious activity and appear to outdo the committed Christian. But God looks at the heart; He knows better. Judas confidently sat down with the apostles at Passover as if he were the holiest guest of all. Yet his heart was evil, and he went out and betrayed Christ.
A divided heart has always been a problem. One part of our being wants to know, worship, obey and please God. But because of our sinful nature another part wants to do its own thing. A pure heart in a person is shown by the degree to which the heart is less and less divided. Psalm 86:11 defines a pure heart: “Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.”
The more pure our heart is, the more it will merge with God’s will. Even when our best effort fails, the willing spirit of a pure heart means success to God.
In our next blog post we will discuss the next spiritual characteristic “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
In Luke 17:26-30 Jesus warned us of one of the ways Satan would attack Christians in our time. He said: “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man (referring to the time of His return.) People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from Heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed.”
Jesus makes a profound statement in this prophecy that immediately got my attention. Did you notice it? There is something missing in what He said about the days of Noah and Lot. He doesn’t mention the many gross sins that were taking place in the days of Noah and Lot. Not one thing that He does mention is within itself a sin. Likewise, he does not say anything about the many gross sins taking place in our day. He only lists the everyday normal affairs of life: eating, marrying, buying, selling, planting and building.
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