Summary: When Jesus spoke the Beatitude revealed in verse eight, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" He was really answering the question that is on every one’s mind. "Who Can Stand Before A Holy God?"
“Being Pure In Heart”
There are only two kinds of religion in the world – and only two. One is the religion of human achievement, which the belief that you earn your own way. This is the belief that somehow one can make them-selves acceptable to God. It is the belief that there is some good thing one can do, some rules that can be kept, some ritual that can be observed, something that will make things right with God.
The other kind of religion is the religion of divine accomplishment that says, "I can't do it. God did it for me in Christ." Every religion of the world fits into one of those two categories. So take your pick. But it must be remembered that the religion of human achievement is Satan's lie.
The psalmist spoke of man’s desire to approach God in Psalm 24:3-5. "Who shall ascend to into the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, and who hast not lifted up his soul to falsehood, and has not swore deceitfully. He shall receive a blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation." The Psalmist was asking the question, “How can one be worthy of standing in God’s presence?” David in Psalms 51:10 gives us the answer, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” David knew two things; first without a clean heart there was no possibility of ever being able to see God and secondly, this was not something he was able to do for himself.
With all that being said we need to understand that when Jesus spoke the Beatitude revealed in verse eight, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" He was really answering the question that is on every one’s mind.
We have in the last few weeks talked about Israel’s political situation under Roman rule and why they so desperate looked for a Messiah to deliver them. What this Beatitude does is touch on the spiritual reality of the people. The Jews were living under a repressive legalistic faith. God had given them Ten Commandments but the leading religious leaders (the Pharisees) had turned the Ten Commandments into a complex set of 600 laws that was a burden that no one could keep. If completely keeping the law was what was required to get into the Kingdom of Heaven every honest person knew they would never make it! So the people were not only looking for a political Savior, they were looking for a redeemer who could lift their unrelenting burden of sin and guilt.
In Luke 10:25 we read “And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" That was the question on every one’s mind. What is the standard? It is the same question the Nicodemus had when he approached Jesus is John 3. It was the question of all those who had gathered on the hillside to hear Jesus preach His “Sermon on the Mount.” They had one great question, “What must I do? How can I make myself accept-able to God?”
This Beatitude, more than any single other, answers that question. Jesus sets out to explain to them that it is not a matter of human achievement. It is not attained by keeping a set of ceremonial rituals. In this message we will explore four things about purity!
First, The Meaning Of Purity.
So what does Jesus mean when He spoke of purity of heart? What does “pure” really mean? Does is mean perfect? If so we are in real trouble. Who among us has a perfect heart? The English word “purity” is (katharos) a form of the word we get catharsis .The word that is translated "pure" has two basic meanings: to make pure by cleansing and unmixed or undiluted.
So then first, the “pure” are those who have been cleansed. So the pure in heart are those who come to Jesus in recognition of their sins and who have received forgiveness and been cleansed of their sins. The pure in heart are those who have been cleansed. This purity can not be attributed to any human effort, but rather through the experience of a new birth.
But secondly “pure” means unmixed or undiluted. William Barclay tells us that the Greek word was used to describe clear water or of metal with the impurities removed or of grain that has had the chaff removed or of feelings that were unmixed. [Barclay p. ? Hughes] So purity in this sense means, having a heart that is unmixed with devotion to anything or any person other than God. Yet double-mindedness has always been one of the great plagues of the church. The trouble with us is our divided heart. One part of me wants to know God and worship God and please God; but another part wants things my own way. Paul expressed it well in Romans 7 when said there was a continuous war, one in which he finds the will to do right is present in him but the difficulty is in carrying that out. (Roman 7:15-18).