The Pure In Heart
The sixth beatitude is “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8. We may ask ourselves, “What does it mean to be pure in heart?” The answer might be more easily understood by looking at what it means not to be pure in heart. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:24: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” The opposite of a pure heart is a divided heart. If God is searching for those who have a pure heart, then He is looking for those whose heart is bent toward Him. God is looking for those whose heart is not divided.
James 4:4 says: “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” James 4:8 makes it clearer: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” Paul explains that as believers we must live in the world, yet we are not of this world. Our citizenship is in heaven.
I. The Principle of Integrity
Acts 13:22 tells us about King David: “And when He had removed him (King Saul), He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.” When Samuel went to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as king, the LORD told Samuel: “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
To have a pure is to have integrity. David explains this in the Psalms. Psalm 7:8 says: “The LORD shall judge the peoples; judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, and according to my integrity within me.” Psalm 25:21 says: “Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for You.” Psalm 26:1 says: “Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity. I have also trusted in the LORD; I shall not slip.” Psalm 26:11 says: “But as for me, I will walk in my integrity; redeem me and be merciful to me.” Finally, Psalm 41:12 says: “As for me, You uphold me in my integrity; and set me before Your face forever.”
We know David sinned, but David repented of his sin. We read of his repentance in Psalm 51 and Psalm 32. God forgave David’s sin and God called David “a man after My own heart, who will do My will.” After David’s confession of sin, he was determined to follow after the LORD and to be a man of integrity. We need to ask ourselves if we have the same determination that David had. Are we willing to confess our sin and determine to follow after God with all of our heart? That is what the shema tells us: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6:4) The Jewish custom is to say the shema twice a day.
The problem with the church today is that the members and the ministers do not walk in integrity. We have heard so many stories of ministers “falling” because of sexual sin or financial sin. There is little difference between those inside the church and those outside the church. We tend to worry more about our reputation than about our integrity. We must know the difference. Reputation is what others think of you when they see what you do or hear what you say. Integrity is what we do or say when no one else is looking. Integrity is seeking to do the right thing, what God would want us to do, even if no one is looking or ever finds out. We will know the truth and we know that God knows the truth. God knows our heart even if others do not know our heart.
II. The Place of Integrity
Where is our integrity? It is in our heart. Proverbs 4:23 says: “Guard your heart with all diligence; for out of it spring the issues of life.” How can we guard our heart with all diligence when our heart is so deceived and wicked? Jeremiah 17:9 tells us about the heart: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart; I test the mind even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” Jacob is certainly an example of one who was a deceiver. His very name means deceiver. After he had an encounter with the angel of the LORD (who was actually Jesus), he was a different man. He came away from that encounter with a new heart and a new limp after wrestling with the angel of the LORD.
In the New Testament Jesus tells us the same things that Ezekiel said in even more definitive words: “And He said, ‘What comes out of a man that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thought, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” (Mark 7:20-23)
Most people are trying to medicate or fix their sinful heart when what they need is a heart transplant, a new heart. This new heart can come only from the LORD. This is not a New Testament idea. The Old Testament prophet Ezekiel tells us that the LORD would give the Israelites a new heart when they repented and confessed their sin and took away their detestable things: “Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.” (Ezekiel 11: 19-20) The LORD will do the same for the unbeliever today. Today we call on the name of Jesus (the same man that Jacob wrestled with). His blood on the cross has the power to save us. He cleanses us from our sin and gives us a new heart just as Ezekiel said.
So the question is – how do we keep a pure heart as a believer? King David gives us an answer. We should ask God to search our heart: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties, and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
III. Our Response
The responsibility is not all on God. We have a responsibility as believers to guard our own heart: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you double-minded.” This is part of our process of sanctification. This is what Paul was talking about when he said: “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12) God is right there to help us and lift us up. Paul encourages us in Philippians 4:7: “and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Having a pure heart is a matter of our willingness to work in cooperation with the Holy Spirit in our sanctification. God will not work against our will.
The promise of this beatitude is that the pure in heart will see God. This is an incredible promise, but what does it mean? We “see” God as believers when we see Him working in the circumstances of our lives and the lives of others. We see God when we see the handiwork of His creation. We see God as we read the Word and God speaks to us personally in the rhema of His Word. We see God as we see the prophecies of His Word being accomplished and fulfilled. The pure heart has spiritual eyes to see the things of God which unbelievers cannot see.
Notes from Dr. Adrian Rogers Taught by Dr. Susie Stiles