Summary: Today we’ll look at what it means to be pure in heart and how they are blessed as well as what it means to be a peacemaker and how they are blessed.
The Be-Attitudes (part three)
Recap: In our series on the beatitudes (what our attitudes should be) we’ve looked at why it is a blessing to be poor in spirit, mourning and meek. Last week we looked at why those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be blessed. They are blessed because they will be filled with it. And we saw that being merciful means we are blessed for we will receive mercy. Today we’ll look at what it means to be pure in heart and how they are blessed as well as what it means to be a peacemaker and how they are blessed.
1) Blessed are the pure in heart (vs. 8). Coy Wylie suggests that there are at least 5 kinds of purity taught in God’s Word. DIVINE Purity. This is the purity that belongs only to God and is His nature. CREATED Purity. When God first created the world everything was pure. POSITIONAL Purity. When we are saved the purity of Jesus is assigned to us. Then there’s ULTIMATE Purity. The coming day when Christians will be totally cleansed and purified. But the purity Jesus talks about here in Matthew 5. Mr. Wylie would call PRACTICAL Purity. It’s the purity we strive for and live out in practical ways as a follower of Jesus. 2nd Corinthians 7:1: “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” To be pure in heart means you have a heart that’s been cleansed by the blood of Christ. A pure heart isn’t a perfect heart, but a heart that is in a right relationship with Christ. We have chosen to cleanse our hearts from harmful impurities. To be pure means we are uncontaminated. To be pure in heart means we are unmixed; we don’t have one part holiness and one part sinfulness. James talked about this principle regarding our speech. James 3:9-12, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.” To be pure would mean I’m not trying to be two people or I’m not satisfied with feeding two natures or trying to serve two masters; which Jesus said I can’t do anyway since in reality I will love one and hate the other. It’s interesting that Jesus clarified, ‘blessed are the pure in heart’. He knew there was such a thing as outward purity. And the truly blessed ones are those who are pure on the inside. Matt. 15:8-11, 17-20. Jesus is making the distinction between outward purity and true purity which is from within. The Pharisees looked pure but they weren’t. Jesus said in Matt. 23 that they were like whitewashed tombs which looked good on the outside but on the inside were dead. You can fake purity by getting good at looking good but eventually your true colors are going to show. If you are pure in heart it will be evident. “For they will see God.” Not just in the end, but now. One of the blessings is that purity removes the scales, the blinders, and the obstacles that prevent us from seeing God in the purest of light. The Pharisees saw God right in front of them in the person of Jesus but they didn’t have eyes to see. Many people saw Jesus physically but they didn’t see Him for whom He was spiritually. Impurity clouds our vision so that we can’t see God in the light of who he is. Impurity causes us to see God in an impure light. Impurities cause us to doubt God, question God, be angry with him, turn away from him. But the pure in heart will see God’s holiness more clearly. They will see His hand at work more convincingly and they will love Him more abundantly. Psalm 18:25-26, “To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.” The pure in heart will clearly see God for who he is-faithful, blameless, pure-love. The pure in heart see God in the world around them. The pure in heart will see God at work in their lives. The pure in heart will see God in all his glory and they will see God for all eternity. C.S. Lewis wrote, “It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to.” The pure in heart will see God because they long to; it’s their heart’s desire. We can’t minimize the value of purity. “There’s an interesting animal called the ermine. The ermine is a short-tailed weasel that has the unique feature of having its fur change to a snow-white color in the winter. God created this animal with this feature to protect it from others. The ermine instinctively protects his white coat against anything that would soil it. So much so, that it would rather die than be impure. Fur hunters in northern Europe and Asia take advantage of this unusual trait of the ermine. They don’t set a snare to catch him, but instead they find his home, which is usually a cleft in a rock or a hollow in an old tree. They smear the entrance and interior with grime. Then the hunters set their dogs loose to find and chase the ermine. The frightened animal flees toward home but won’t enter because of the filth. Rather than soil his white coat, he is trapped by the dogs and captured while preserving his purity. For the ermine, purity is more precious than life.” To what lengths are we willing to go to in order to obtain a pure heart?