Beautiful Purity; Beautiful Jesus

Purity

Having been ministering in the context of ‘youth ministry’, it seems to me that one common idea Singaporean ‘Christian’ youths have about ‘purity’ is that it is boring… and I have no doubt that this (mis)conception is popular across varying cultures as well. If so, then the first half of this beatitude would seem absurd! Jesus claims that purity in heart leads to blessedness/happiness – what are we to make of this?!

Since the Beatitudes describe (1) the blessed person and (2) the blessing promised, let us examine this beatitude in that order – showing what it means (1) to be “pure in heart” and (2) why this is true blessedness.

Blessed are the Pure in Heart
Firstly, this blessed believer has a heart which is pure. In Scripture, purity is often understood as the opposite of idolatry and impurity. Therefore, a pure heart is the opposite of a divided heart (Psalm 24:4, Psalm 73) and a defiled heart (Hab 1:13, James 1:27)

Thus, we understand that no one is born with a pure heart. Rather, we are born with hearts that are idolatrous and impure – hearts that resemble and are controlled by the devil (Jn 8:44). And neither would our former master, the devil, let us go, nor could we change our impure hearts (Job 14:4). How painful it must be to be in this condition! The unbeliever is chained, he must do the will of the devil, he can do nothing to purify his own heart, but must constantly live in sin and the destruction that it causes. Oh, what a torment!

But there is One who can purify, for He says, “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you” (Ezek 36:25-26). What happens when we are given a pure heart? The devilish heart is taken out and a godly heart is put in. It is godly and it is pure because it resembles and is controlled by its Maker – the Pure Father. Therefore, we are called to “be holy, for [your Father is] holy” (Lev 11:44-45, Matt 5:48).

Secondly, this blessed believer has a pure heart. Many may pretend to be pure in outward actions, but this believer has a pure heart. Like many hypocrites and religious pretenders in our day, the Pharisees in Jesus’ time had impure hearts but put on a right show. They hid behind the pretense of ministry as a cover up for the sin in their hearts. Thus, while Jesus says, “Blessed are the pure in heart”, He also says “Woe to you… hypocrites”, those with impure hearts but put on a false display of religiosity (Matt 23).

Seeing God
Here is the blessing – the blessed believer “shall see God”! What a promise! But how are we to make sense of this? Surely, Jesus didn’t mean that every believer will, in this life, physically see God.

Like all the other Beatitude blessings – of salvation (Matt 5:3), of comfort (Matt 5:4) etc, – these blessings are attained partially in this life, and fully in the next. For example, we have experienced salvation, but will attain a fuller experience of salvation in heaven! Again, we have received comfort, but will receive a fuller experience of comfort in heaven! Likewise, there is a sense in which we “see” God in this life, and will see Him more fully in the next.

How, then, do we “see” God in this life? Citing 2 Cor 5:7, Owen answers that the way we “see” God in this life is by faith and not by sight – “Faith is the light wherein we behold the glory of Christ in this world.” Watson adds that “Faith sees God’s glorious attributes in the glass of His Word.” It is with the “eye of faith” that we see God in this life. Thus, the more we read His Word through the “eye of faith”, the bigger the vision and sight we have of Him!

But this blessed believer knows that “now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face” (1 Cor 13:12), and so he considers himself blessed, longing for the bliss and beautiful sight of Jesus His Lover, who he will one day meet, face to face.

Let us, therefore, be this blessed believer. And in doing so, we are ultimately following THE Blessed Believer (He who said, “Follow Me”), who because of His clean hands and pure heart, has ascended the hill of the Lord (Psalm 24), and has seen God face to face; having atoned for our sin, that we may also have clean hands and a pure heart, and may one day ascend the hill of the Lord, and see Him face to face – Jesus Christ is The Blessed Believer!

Daryl first got acquainted with  Transform Student Ministries in 2011 serving in the Summer Intern Program. When we asked Daryl for a short bio for the blog, he told us that he is a great sinner, and has a great Savior.

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