Summary: So in asking you “How is your heart?”, I am not talking about the physical organ in your body. Rather, I am asking you about your moral and spiritual nature. How are things with you spiritually?
HOW IS YOUR HEART?
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
The psalmist asks, “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).
How is your heart? The word “heart” is kardia, from which we get cardiac and similar terms. When your doctor asks you that question, he is referring to the organ in your chest that is the center of your physical life.
The word “heart” is also used figuratively as the center of one’s moral and spiritual nature. “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man:” (Mt. 15:19-29)
When God judges a person, he looks at the heart. “For the LORD seeth not as man seeth: for a man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” ( 1 Sam 16:7)
This is the meaning of Matthew 5:8. So in asking you “How is your heart?”, I am not talking about the physical organ in your body. Rather, I am asking you about your moral and spiritual nature. How are things with you spiritually?
The Bible speaks of those who have a deceitful and a wicked heart. It also speaks of those who have an evil heart of unbelief. Moreover, it is possible to harden one’s heart to the things of God. Pharaoh hardened his heart to the point that God began to harden his heart.
I. BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART
When Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart,” he was speaking of inner moral purity as opposed to outward cleansing.
The Pharisees were obsessed with external cleansing and ceremonies. Yet Jesus charged them with inward corruption. Listen to his searing words to the Pharisees in Matthew 23:25-28. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”
The word “pure” in the Greek is katharos, a form of the word from which we get our word carthasis. The basic meaning is to make pure by cleansing from dirt, filth, and contamination. Cartharsis is used in pshchology and counseling for a cleansing of the mind or emotions.
Purity of heart refers to that inward moral purity rather than external appearances. Outwardly, the Pharisees appeared to be morally clean, but inwardly, their hearts were corrupt. Jesus teaches that inward “heart-righteousness” is more important than “rules-righteousness.”
Pure in heart refers to a single-minded person who is free from the tyranny of a divided self. Those whose hearts are pure do not try to serve God and the world at the same time. This is where many Christians get into trouble. Pure in heart speaks of a sincere person whose heart is free from all falsehood and pretense.
A Hypocrite is a play actor pretending to be something he is not. He has a divided heart. He is double-minded person who wants to serve God and the world system. James says, “Friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)
Jesus said, “You cannot serve both God and mammon.”
Only God can give us a pure heart. After He sinned, David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Ps. 51:10)
II. THE BLESSING PROMISED TO THE PURE IN HEART
Notice the special blessing that is promised to those who are pure in heart. Jesus said that the pure in heart are blessed because “they shall see God.”
A. The pure in heart will see God in the now through the eyes of faith. “By faith he (Moses) forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27).
B. The pure in heart will one day meet the Lord face to face. “Beloved, now we are the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 2:3).