Summary: Purity of heart is NOT sinless perfection.
Series: The Sermon on the Mount
Title: Purity of Heart
Text: Matthew 5:8
INTRODUCTION: When we began our study of the beatitudes some weeks ago, we addressed the question of what it means to be “Blessed”.
We noted that blessedness is not just a synonym for “happiness” even though some translators have chosen to translate the word as Happy.
Makarios (Greek for Blessed) means supremely blessed or extremely fortunate.
Happiness, of course, is a part of this - but because in our modern vernacular “happy” is such a trite word, it does not justly describe the benefit which is here being described.
In our early study, we talked about the highest blessing of the believer which theologians called “THE BEATIFIC VISION”.
The beatific vision is when the believer reaches the culmination of his/her faith, and sees the Lord as He is.
1 John 3:2 “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”
This is the greatest of all blessings which is expected by the Christian: that one day we will see the Lord as He is, and we will be like Him in a glorified and eternal body.
I mention this because we have arrived today at the Beatitude which actually describes the beatific vision within its blessing.
All of the beatitudes have a congruent blessing associated with them.
Blessed are the Poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
And today’s beatitude is no different.
There is the description of the blessed person, and the resultant blessing is that they will indeed, see God.
READ: Matthew 5:8
Each week, I have sought to help us understand the progression of the beatitudes.
As I have said, when you read them together a natural pattern emerges.
We begin to see that Jesus is not here describing various individuals with various character traits (i.e. some are poor in spirit, some mourn, some are meek, etc.)
Instead, he is talking about the natural blessing of the person who is converted by God to faith in Christ.
He begins poor in spirit.
He mourns over his poverty.
He is humbled before God.
He is desperate for righteousness.
And his behavior is affected, as he becomes an agent of mercy.
This is the picture of the blessed man.
But it does not end there... it continues on with another, even deeper description...
The blessed man is PURE IN HEART.
This is probably the most difficult of the beatitudes so far.
I say difficult, because it is probably hard to find ourselves in this beatitude.
We might rightly see ourselves as poor in spirit and mourning over our sin.
We might rightly see ourselves as humbled before God and desperate for the righteousness which we do not have.
We might even rightly see ourselves as ones who’s affection have been changed, and we have become agents of God’s love and mercy.
But pure in heart?
Most of us know ourselves too well to ever consider ourselves to be such.
We know our own hearts.
We know the sins which we battle, and the darkness which is within.
We know that if the thoughts of our minds were translated to video tape, and played before our friends and family, that we would probably be utterly mortified.
So when we see “blessed are the pure in heart” and we know this is the natural progression of the conversion experience, some of us FREEZE in fear.
Perhaps this is the place wherein we will see that we are not what we think we are.
As I said, for many believers this is frightening indeed.
Well, this morning I want to help you understand this term, and the entire beatitude, and show how PURENESS OF HEART is the natural progression of a person who has been regenerated by the holy spirit.
I want us to understand three things about this beatitude:
1. Pure of Heart DOES NOT mean Sinless Perfection
2. Pure of Heart is a RESPONSE to the External Purity of the Pharisees
3. Pure of Heart is a RESULT of Regeneration
Pure of Heart DOES NOT mean Sinless Perfection
There are a number of heretical groups which teach that it is possible to totally comply with all of God’s commands in thought, word and deed by adhering to a process of strict spiritual discipline.
Some of these groups include:
Charles Wesley taught the doctrine of perfectionism, believing that a person could eradicate all of the carnal nature and be completely pure in spirit.