Summary: Last week we saw that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be blessed because they will be filled with it. And if we're merciful we will receive mercy. Today we’ll look at what it means to be pure in heart and a peacemaker and see how they're blessed.
THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT (part three)
So far in our series we’ve looked at why it is a blessing to be poor in spirit, mourning and meek. Last time we saw that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be blessed because they will be filled with it. And we saw that by being merciful we're blessed because we will receive mercy. Today we’ll look at what it means to be pure in heart as well as what it means to be a peacemaker and how these two groups are blessed.
1) Blessed are the pure in heart.
Matt. 5:8, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God."
Coy Wylie suggests that there are at least 5 kinds of purity taught in God’s Word. There's Divine purity. This is the purity that belongs only to God and is His nature. Then we have Created purity. When God created the world everything was pure. There's Positional purity. When we are saved the purity of Jesus is assigned to us. There's Ultimate purity. The coming day when Christians will be totally cleansed and purified. The fifth kind is Practical Purity. This is the purity we strive for and live out in practical ways as a follower of Jesus.
To be pure in heart means you have a heart that’s been cleansed by the blood of Christ. However, though we have positional purity in Christ through salvation, we don't have perfect hearts here on earth (ultimate purity). But as a result of that positional purity, we now have the ability to strive for and live out practical purity.
2nd Cor. 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.”
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. To be pure in heart means I’m not trying to be two people or I’m not trying to feed two natures or serve two masters; which Jesus said I can’t do anyway since 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.
When the religious leaders questioned Jesus about why the disciples weren't washing their hands before they ate, in keeping with the traditions of the elders Jesus went after them because he knew their hearts were impure and thus their worship was in vain. They did a good job at looking clean on the outside but they weren't on the inside.
Matt. 15:17-20, “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’ ”
Jesus is making the distinction between outward, superficial purity and true purity 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.” Because of our positional purity when we were forgiven of our sins we can look forward to being with God forever. But not only that, because of that positional purity we have the spirit of Christ living in us, putting us in a right relationship with God.
The Holy Spirit enables us to see God today. Not literally; but spiritually. 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 physically saw Jesus but they didn’t see Him for who he was spiritually.
Impurity clouds our vision so that we can’t see God for who he really is. Impurity causes us to see God in an impure light. Impurity causes us to doubt God, question God, be angry with him, turn away from him. Not that we won't deal with these issues occasionally, but an impure heart feels this way toward God more consistently.