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Matthew 5:8

The Pure in Heart

8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

How does our modern concept of purity compare to that of which Jesus spoke?

I decided to surf the net and see what I could find. I soon found that there are a number of sites dedicated to "purity testing". Clicking on one that claimed to have a large number of tests, I was surprised at the questions. (I guess I get more naive as I get older.)

Most of the tests centered on sex and most had many very disgusting questions. Others included smaller sections on drug use and problems with the law. The majority of the ones I had time to read did not allow for answers that would indicate real purity, but only lesser degrees of depravity. All of them were centered only on the actions of the individual being tested.

Jesus, however, is much less concerned with our actions than with our hearts. The Pharisees were men who were righteous outwardly, but had impure hearts. In many instances the Pharisee had a pure mind, that is, he wanted to live righteously, but he still had the natural depravity of fallen man.

While modern society thinks of purity only in terms of sexuality, Jesus' form of purity was much more inclusive. Purity brings together the righteousness of God with the heart, mind, and actions of man. Thus, man does not have the power to make himself pure.

The Greek word for "purity" is "katharos", from which we get the English word,"catharsis". Its most basic meaning is to be purified by fire. Gold is purified by heating it in a fire until it becomes molten. Since gold is one of the heaviest elements, the impurities will float to the top and can be poured off. Likewise, man is born a sinful creature with many impurities. He cannot cleanse himself any easier than a lump of gold can purify itself. Only God can give a pure heart. 1 Peter 1:7 compares the trial of our faith to this purification process.

Another definition of katharos is the cleansing that takes place when a tree is pruned. If trees are not properly pruned, they will not bear much fruit. We, too, must have that which is dead trimmed away in order to bear fruit for God's kingdom. Trees do not prune themselves, however, and neither does man. In John 15:5-8 we find Jesus comparing His church to the branches of the vine (Himself) and purification to the burning of all branches that do not produce.

Men who rely on their own works for their purification will fail. They will never be happy, because they will never have any hope of seeing God. For the Jewish people to whom Matthew was writing, this was the greatest blessing possible. Yet, most never will get to see Him.

To be pure we must be surrendered. We must be willing to suffer the pains of the purification process as God works on us and brings us to maturity. His righteousness must be expressed through our love and commitment to Him (heart), our total agreement with His word (mind), and a life of service to Him and everyone around us (actions).

Before The Throne:

Pray to be purified. The trials of purification might be painful, but you will be happy with the knowledge that you will one day look into God's wonderful face. Ask the Lord to examine your heart and to remove the sinful elements hidden there. Ask Him to purify your mind and to give you perfect agreement with His word. Pray for the vision to see His plan for your life and for the will to follow it.

For Further Study:

(v.8 )
** are. Matt 23:25-28; 1Chr 29:17-19; Ps 15:2; Ps 18:26; Ps 24:4; Ps 51:6, 10; Ps 73:1; Prov 22:11; Ezek 36:25-27; Acts 15:9; 2Cor 7:1; Titus 1:15; Heb 9:14; Heb 10:22; Jas 3:17; Jas 4:8; 1Pet 1:22; ** for. Gen 32:30; Job 19:26-27; 1Cor 13:12; Heb 12:14; 1John 3:2-3;


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