We live in a wicked world. Every day we are often ashamed of what we read in our newspapers and hear on the TV news shows. Immorality and violence are all over our society and our media. And much of America seems to enjoy it.
We are in great need for purity in our world today. Even in church we need purity. Jesus pronounced a special blessing on those whose hearts are pure.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8)
“Pure in Heart”
What does Jesus mean by ‘heart’?
The Greek word is kardia, where we get our English word ‘cardiac.’ It refers to the inner person. People are tri-une, like God. The heart is the center of our emotions and thinking.
What does Jesus mean by ‘pure’?
Pure means clean. It is also used to describe unmixed milk, gold, wheat (Jeremiah 32:39). Today, we might consider a ‘pure heart’ as a person with integrity or character.
Pure in spirit encourages us to be ‘pure’ in
- Motivation – it is not only important to have ‘pure’ actions, but our motives should be ‘pure.’
- Integrity – character is what you are when no one is looking.
- Holiness – Virtue/character is the next step to add after you receive Christ (2 Peter 1:5). It is extremely important in the Christian life.
– You can’t be pure in heart by yourself. Our heart is naturally wicked. We need God and God will clean our heart to allow us to see Him. (Proverbs 20:9)
– We can develop a clean, pure heart by faith (Acts 15:9). We are made pure by faith, faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17).
– We can develop a clean, pure heart by the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7,9)
– The Greek word means a continuous looking. The ‘pure in heart’ will continually behold God… in creation, in our circumstances, in His Word, and in reality when we arrive in Heaven.
How to stay clean
1. Pay close attention to what you look at.
2. Give greater thought to the consequences of sin.
3. Begin each day with a renewal of reverence for God.
4. Periodically, in the day, focus on Christ.
Jesus demands that we do right in our heart – our motivation, our integrity, our holiness – whether anyone notices or knows at all because Jesus sees it.
What if a U.S. Presidential candidate knew something about an opposing candidate that would guarantee, if the public knew, he/she would win… but it would jeopardize national security? Do you think he/she would have enough integrity to keep it a secret?
This happened to Tom Dewey in 1944. He understood that the government cracked the Japanese code in 1941 and so President Franklin Roosevelt had to know about the attack on Pearl Harbor. But if he let this out, Japan would know that we knew their code and much of future information would be lost. In Tulsa, Oklahoma he wrestled with whether or not to tell the public what he knew. The Chief-of-Staff came to his motel room with a letter asking him, in the interest of the war, to keep silent. As you know, he did and lost the election to Roosevelt and never told what he knew. In 1981 the information was released to the public and for the first time American knew that we had cracked the Japanese code before the attack on Pearl Harbor. But the code we cracked was diplomatic code, not the military code. Nobody knew about the attack: FDR did not know, Japan’s premiere did not know, Japan’s minister of war did not even know. Tom Dewey may have gone to his grave wondering if he did the right thing. But we all know that he did.
Do you have a pure heart? Or do you have a heart filled with anger, selfishness, or lust? I hope you will turn to Jesus to clean your heart and stay close to Him to keep it clean.
You can read my other Sermon on the Mount articles: Life Redefined: Sermons from The Sermon on the Mount.