Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. (Matthew 5:8)
I think it’s appropriate to treat this passage purely in a sermon. We are going to be straightforward with this passage so as to be certain we are hearing it as it is meant to be heard … understanding it as it means to be understood … applying it as it wants to be applied.
First, we’ll get a biblical understanding of what “the heart” is, what that means with regard to being a citizen of the kingdom, as well as what the heart’s condition is.
Second, we’ll examine what it means to be “pure in heart.”
Last, we will try to wrap our minds around the meaning of that last phrase: “they will see God.”
What is the Heart?
The heart is the center of a man’s personality. It is his will, his mind, and his emotions in their totality.
So by saying “pure in HEART”, Jesus’ focus is on the total package of what it means to be human. He’s not talking about any ONE of those things, or any combination of TWO of those things (can’t pick 2 from the menu for a small discount). He’s talking about all those things.
Blessed are the pure in intellect, AND …
Blessed are the pure in emotion, AND …
Blessed are the pure in behavior.
Blessed are the pure in heart.
All or Nothing
The primary implication that I want to briefly touch on is that biblical Christianity is an all or nothing enterprise. There is, no doubt, an abundant amount of superficiality among Christians, but there’s nothing superficial about biblical Christianity. Biblical Christianity consumes the whole person. You’re not going to be able to follow Jesus with your mind and not your behavior. He cannot rule over your mind and not your emotions. The “Kingdom of God” value is purity of HEART … purity of the whole person.
The Heart is Not Pure
Because it is those who are “pure in heart” that are blessed, this is most unfortunate. This is a problem for us.
First, because our hearts are anything but pure.
The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. (Genesis 6:5-6)
Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak. (Psalm 12:2)
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. (Matthew 12:34)
But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. (Romans 2:5)
If the pure in heart are the ones who are blessed, this is a problem because the heart is anything but pure, AND … because it is the HEART that is important, we are forced to ask ourselves deep, meaningful questions, and not just get by with discussions about March Madness or the latest memes from the Oscars this year. Questions like:
- What do we think about when our minds slip into neutral?
- To whom or what am I allegiant?
- What do I want more than anything else?
- To what extent do my actions and words cover up what is in my heart?
“If the whole world followed you – followed to the letter –
Would it be a nobler world,
All deceit and falsehood hurled
From it all together;
Malice, selfishness, and lust,
Banished from beneath the crust,
Covering human hearts from view –
Tell me, if it followed you,
Would the world be better?”
Blessed are the pure in heart?! How can this be? My heart being what it is … and who wants to think about themselves so deeply?!
Rob is Teaching Pastor at Blackman Baptist Church.