5/12 ~ Blessed are the pure in heart

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From the Preacher’s Pen…

  • Purer in heart, O God,
  • Help me to be;
  • May I devote my life
  • Wholly to Thee.
  • Watch Thou my wayward feet.
  • Guide me with counsel sweet;
  • Purer in heart,
  • Help me to be. 

 

  • Purer in heart, O God,
  • Help me to be.
  • Teach me to do Thy will
  • Most lovingly.
  • Be Thou my friend and guide,
  • Let me with Thee abide;
  • Purer in heart,
  • Help me to be. 

 

  • Purer in heart, O God,
  • Help me to be;
  • Until Thy holy face
  • One day I see.
  • Keep me from secret sin,
  • Reign Thou my soul within; 
  • Purer in heart,
  • Help me to be.

Have you ever read the beatitudes expressed in Matthew 5:3-12 and thought to yourself that Jesus was naming a bunch of different people with different characteristics that God appreciates? Well, He’s not! Rather, God expects us all to be those people and possess those characteristics as His children. Let’s take a look at one of those qualities and see how we can measure up:

Pure Hearts

What is purity? While we realize that the New Testament frequently admonishes us to be pure, we may not be quite sure just what is meant by that purity. Sadly, we live in a world that also has trouble with either defining, understanding or living up to any standard of purity. As Christians, we might imagine that purity means being perfect and thus sets a standard beyond our reach. Certainly, we would all struggle with being expected to have some superhuman characteristic that we simply do not and cannot possess.

The fact is, the purity that God calls us to have is not some mythical, superhuman trait. Let’s consider three important passages that deal with our call to pure hearts and see just what it is that God expects of us.

First, is the beatitude expressed by Jesus in Matthew 5:8: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. The word that Jesus uses here is katharos. This word means free from impurity, without blemish, spotless. It refers to those who are pure because they have been cleansed (rather than being inherently perfect). Notice Ephesians 5:25-27 where Christ “having cleansed” (katharizo, another form of the same word) His church by the washing of water and the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. Thus, Jesus is telling us that we who are pure in heart (i.e. cleansed from sin by His blood) are to see (know face to face) God.

Second, Paul says, But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith (1 Timothy 1:5). Paul uses the same word here that Jesus used in Matthew 5:8. We are then told that the goal of what we are taught is to build love. This love is the kind that comes from hearts that recognize they were made clean by the sacrifice of Jesus. That leaves no room for any arrogance on our part, but rather we must realize that we owe our status to Him who died for us all.

Third, one of Paul’s last letters challenges us, like Timothy, to Now flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22). Again, there is this beautiful reminder that we serve God, growing in such qualities as righteousness, faith, love, and peace, as those who are made clean by the blood of the precious Lamb of God. Indeed, we serve together with fellow saints who are pure in heart by virtue of that same cleansing which gives us a pure heart. There is only room then in our hearts for great humility and love for one another as we stand together before God.

No, God does not ask of us a purity we are unable to achieve. Rather, He asks that we allow the sacrifice of Jesus make us what we ought to be, to instill in us a pure heart.  Let’s make that effort to have and maintain those pure hearts! Together, we can encourage each other to be what we ought to be this week.

— Lester P. Bagley

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