Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Jesus, in this fifth “blessed are . . .” statement, makes clear His concern with our hearts. He is not just interested in whether or not we change outwardly. He wants to know our hearts are right as well. In Matthew 23, he called out the scribes and Pharisee for being clean on the outside and filthy on the inside. His instruction was to clean the inside of the cup first – and the plate – that the exterior might be clean as well. He didn’t come just to change our lives; He came to change our hearts. John Piper observed,
“What we are in the deep, private recesses of our lives is what he cares about most. Jesus did not come into the world simply because we have some bad habits that need to be broken. He came into the world because we have such dirty hearts that need to be purified.”
Blessed are the pure in heart. It’s who He wants us to be. It’s how He wants us to live. The Psalmist wrote, “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?
He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation” (Psalm 24:3-5). Clean hands. Pure heart. “He shall receive…”
John Piper, cited earlier, noted three specific areas of definition for seeing God, the other side of “Blessed are the pure in heart…” in an online article on this passage (www.desiringgod.org). First, was “To Be Admitted to His Presence.” To see God means you and I have been granted access to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. It’s not a proverbial “see” – like when I call the doctor’s office for an appointment and get there actually “see” the PA. There are no substitutes, no “almost the same as seeing him” moments when it comes to the pure in heart seeing God. A pure heart grants you access – admission into the presence of the King. It’s Esther in the presence of King Ahasuereus. It’s you and I in the presence of the King of the Ages, granted access into the Holy of Holies by a torn veil and a risen Savior.
Second, seeing God means “Being Awestruck by His Glory”—by a direct experience of his holiness. In the story of Job, we read the words of Job: “. . . but now my eye sees thee.” John Piper described it this way:
“There will come a day when God himself will dwell among us. His glory will no longer be inferred from lightning and mountains and roaring seas and constellations of stars. Instead our experience of him will be direct. His glory will be the very light in which we move (Revelation 21:23) and the beauty of his holiness will be tasted directly like honey on the tongue.”
The third component of Piper’s definition of “seeing God” is “To Be Comforted By His Grace.” Once again we refer back to the writings of the Psalmist David. In Psalm 27:7-9 he shares the cry of his heart that echoes time and again in our own. “Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me! Hide not thy face from me…” We want God to show up. We want to see and feel and know His grace.
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Purity of heart will bring purity of life and language, of deeds and decisions. Purity will direct our lives and lead us ever toward that goal of seeing Him. Pure hearts will admit us into His presence. Pure hearts will leave us awestruck by His glory and comforted by His grace. Blessed are the pure in heart…