“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God”. Matthew 5:8
I have a confession to make. I’m kind of a closet Keith Green fan. If you’re not familiar with Keith Green’s work, I would encourage you to give him a listen. The story of his life and ministry is pretty great too. Keith was a brilliant song writer who had an amazing heart for Jesus! I say ‘had’ because he died at the young age of 28 in a plane crash in 1982. Now I say ‘closet’ fan because most the people who know me know that my style of music is more on the harder side of rock. However, I cannot deny how beautiful Keith Green’s piano driven ballads are. One of my favorite Keith Green songs was inspired by the words of King David. The words are taken directly from one of David’s darkest times found in Psalm 51:
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a right spirit within me.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Thy presence; Take not Thy holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; And renew a right spirit within me”. Psalm 51:1-12
I can almost see Keith Green sitting behind a piano singing it. Here is a link to a you tube video of Keith singing the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rv16YUTCp9U
Back to the thoughts of Jesus found in Matthew 5. We call the first part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes. The men’s discipleship groups that I lead and that meet in my church are currently going through these passages found in Matthew chapters 5-7. Last night we looked at the above passage found in verse 8. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God”. The Beatitudes are truly character qualities of a citizen of heaven. Jesus is saying, to ‘see God” once must have a ‘pure heart’.
Often times we are motivated by stature or appearance. The great prophet, priest and judge Samuel was. If someone like Samuel can be skewed by appearances why would we think that we would be any different? God told Samuel that he was to anoint a new king for Israel. Saul, the current king, was not working out. God had removed His anointing from Saul. God sent Samuel to Bethlehem, to the home of Jesse, to meet the soon to be new king of the Hebrew people. Instantly Samuel is enamored with Eliab. It made perfect sense. Eliab was the oldest of Jesse’s sons and already a proven warrior. However, as many of you know, Eliab was not God’s choice. God’s choice would be the youngest and the smallest of Jesse’s sons. God would choose David! Samuel’s eyes and brain had deceived him. He figured Eliab was the obvious choice. I mean, Saul was huge, strong and good looking. Why wouldn’t God want the next king of Israel to have similar qualities?
However, God picked David! David, a small teen who would destroy a giant. David, a man who would be given into lust and murder. David, ultimately a man that God would have the scriptures declare to be, “a man after his own heart” Acts 13:22. Why is that? How could someone who committed so many vile acts STILL be declared by God as pure? The answer is found in the above Psalm and the words of that Keith Green hymn. Once God made David mindful of his sin and who he had sinned against (the Lord), he, David, was devastated. In his devastation he cried out to his God, “create in me a clean heart”. That is what makes the words of Jesus so important in Matthew 5:8. David understood very well what Jesus was saying before Jesus even said it; God, and only God, can create a ‘pure heart’. A ‘pure heart’ is something we cannot create on our own. A ‘pure heart’ comes from the process of regeneration. Regeneration is the act of God re-birthing us. Jesus explained to Nehemiah in John 3 as being “born again”.
Back to Samuel and appearances. We have no idea who is truly been given a ‘pure heart’, only God knows that information. Many times we think those who MUST be ‘pure in heart’ are those who attend church all the time or serve in the community. The people who are ‘pure in heart’ MUST to be those individuals who know their bibles really well. Any one of those are often times very good indications of a renewed heart. However, often times those with ‘pure hearts’ are the individuals that we would never assume! We often times think the person who is ‘pure in heart’ must go to church almost every Sunday and when they do they wear khakis and a tie. How refreshing, and at times surprising, it is when we find a ‘pure heart’ residing in the body of a person covered in tattoos and having gauged ears. If Jesus teaches us anything from His Sermon on a hillside it is that Heaven will be populated with all kinds of people that we would have never assumed. In fact, the frightening reality is that we will no doubt be more surprised by who we will NOT find in Heaven. Read Matthew 7:13-14 for a glimpse at that.
Have you asked God to ‘purify your heart’ through the blood of Jesus? Why is that important? Because it is ONLY through the blood of Jesus that an individual can truly be made pure. When you place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you are given a new heart in the spiritual world. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 the apostle Paul says something truly beautiful happens: “The old is gone and the new comes”. Spiritually speaking our old heart dies with Christ (Galatians 2:20) and we are given a new heart. Jesus said in John 14:6 that He alone is: “the Way, the Truth and the Life”. Jesus went on to say in that passage, “no one can come to the Father except through me”. Essentially, no one can ‘see God’ who does not have a ‘pure heart’.
If you would like to know how you can have your heart renewed and made pure please feel free to ask!