PURE IN HEART: Shall see God!
Jesus told His disciples, “Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God” (Mt.5: 8). The Apostle John wrote, “Beloved, if our heart condemns us not, then we have confidence toward God,” (I Jn.3: 21). Jeremiah was troubled and said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and is desperately wicked; who can understand it?” (Jer.17: 9). Jesus added this thought, “Out of the heart come evil thoughts; and they defile the person” (Mt.15: 18-19).
The heart for the Hebrews was an amazing organ. It was a combination of mind (nous) and soul (psyche). It could contain facts and feelings. It could be cool and calculating on one hand and gentle and compassionating on the other. It was the seat of both: good and evil. It was so complicated that only God could screen it. Jeremiah expressed it thus, “I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every person according to his or her ways, and according to the fruit of their doings” (Jer.17: 10). “For man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (I Sam.16: 7).
Paul the Gentile messenger, put it correctly, “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do” (Ro.7: 19). How then can I turn my inside out? Like Nicodemus, how can I become an embryo again? (Jn.3: 4). How do I make the impossible possible? With Paul, I too declare, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death (or from my sinful self)” (Ro.7: 24). How then can I purify my heart so that I can see God? Well, Christ has satisfied God’s greater demand so that I can serve God with my heart and sin with my flesh (Ro.7: 25). Is this where Paul stopped and where Jesus wants us to go?
Paul recommended: stop sinning (Ro.6: 1-2, 12) and clean up our conscience (Ro.2: 15). Jesus was far more drastic. No one deceitful, shameful or unworthy shall be allowed into the presence of God (Rev.21: 27). The members that cause us to sin must be curtailed, more correctly amputated (Mt.5: 27-32). Purity comes from within and not from without (Mt.23: 26). A sage advised, “How can a young man maintain a clean path? It is by paying attention to your word. With my whole heart will I seek you; let me not depart from your commands. Your word have I placed in my heart so that I would not sin against you” (Ps.119: 9-11). Jesus’ words have the same cleansing affect on us, provided we remain faithful to Him (Jn.15: 3).