Today's Word of Encouragement
A PURE HEART
Sunday, May 31, 2020
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God (Matthew 5:8).
What does it mean to be ‘pure in heart’? Today, a ‘pure heart’ doesn’t make a whole lot of sense because we think of ‘pure’ and ‘heart’ differently than the ancient Hebrew people did.
The ‘heart’, in Scripture, can mean a number of things: 1) the physical human heart, the heart of Absalom (2 Samuel 18:14), 2) in the midst of something, the heart of the heavens (Deuteronomy 4:11), 3) the seat of emotion, it grieved him in his heart (Genesis 6:6), 4) the seat of intellect, the thoughts of his heart (Genesis 6:5), and 5) the seat of the will, test my heart and my mind (Psalm 26:2).
To be ‘pure’, in Scripture can mean: 1) unpolluted, without impurities, or 2) holy, especially when referring to a person. Put together, a ‘pure heart’ is an Hebraism (idiom, expression) that means a life that is physically, mentally, morally, emotionally, holy (set apart, consecrated to God).
In the days of Jesus, the Pharisees and Scribes were thought to be holy men because they kept themselves religiously, ceremonially, and physically pure from sinful actions, from things that pollute the body, from associations with sinful people. But Jesus said while they may have been ‘pure’ on the outside, they were polluted on the inside. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness (Matthew 23:27).
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us that those who are His disciples, who are truly saved, will have ‘pure hearts’ - their thoughts, motives, affections, attitudes, and actions will be holy, godly, free from worldliness and sin. Consequently, they will ‘see God’, another Hebraism that means they will enjoy God’s presence. Without holiness no man will see the Lord in heaven (Hebrews 12:14).
How does a person ‘get’ a pure heart? The bad news is a person cannot make his/her heart pure. The good news is only Jesus can cleanse a person’s ‘heart’ and make it holy. Those who believe in, and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are given a ‘new heart’, a ‘pure heart’ - his/her thoughts, motives, affections, attitudes, and actions are, moment by moment, day by day, being transformed into Christlikeness. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).
“Father, thank You for giving me a ‘new heart’ by grace through faith in Your Son, Jesus Christ. My heart’s desire is that my thoughts, motives, affections, and actions will reflect the new life I have been given in Jesus Christ. Continue to purge me from every desire that is offensive to You, from every thought that is abhorrent to You, from every word and deed that You consider to be sinful and disobedient. Thank You for the promise that, as Your servant Job said, ‘after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God’. I look forward to that day. Amen.”