THE PURE IN HEART SHALL SEE GOD
We come now to what may be the most difficult of all the beatitudes Jesus listed in this wonderful sermon. It is a goal which the true Christian must pursue through his entire life and for which he must be thankful for the grace of God to fill up what he lacks in achieving it completely.
The Greek word for “pure” has varied meanings, but in the final analysis it simply means unmixed. No foreign matter can enter the item that is pure. Pure metal has no alloy mixed in, pure corn has no chaff, the pure item not only has nothing to make it dirty, it simply has no element other than the item itself in its makeup.
Therefore, because the heart is the seat of all of our motivations, the repository of everything we love, the source of our ultimate wishes and desires, then its every thought and desire must be good and right if it is to be pure. Not only must it be free from evil thoughts and desires, but it cannot be self-satisfied with its own goodness. All thought of the pure heart must be for the good of others, not even pride in acts of kindness or self-sacrifice.
When we describe the pure heart, we are describing the motivations of God Himself, who, with only love as His reason, gave His only Son for our salvation. This is why Jesus says the closer we come to purity of heart, the better we will be able to see God. God is Spirit and so is not viewable with human eyes. The only way one can see God is by having His Spirit dominating one’s life.
William Barclay points out that we can see only what we are prepared to see. In a room full of old paintings, the untrained eye might simply see junk, but the trained artist might see an old Master worth millions. In the night sky we see thousands of pinpoints of light, but the astronomer knows the names and views as friends the glories of the heavens. The wise man said, “The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no God’ “. He who does not seek the will of God cannot see His wisdom and His grace. Only those who seek purity of heart can see God.
I said at the beginning of this essay that it was impossible to achieve. However, this is not to despair. Jesus also said, “Be ye perfect, even as your Heavenly Father is perfect”, but who can achieve that lofty goal? Both the perfection of God and purity of heart are bestowed on those who come to God, as the Hebrew writer says, with faith that He is God and will reward those who diligently seek Him.
Perfection of life and purity of heart are the gifts of God to those who in sincere faith take His Son as the Lord and standard of their life. Walking with Him we are, according to John, cleansed from all unrighteousness. That is the Christian hope and the achievement of purity of heart. But the walk with Him must be a walk that diligently seeks Him and His will every step of the way.