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Beatitudes Lesson Seven               

Beatitudes Lesson Seven
The Pure in Heart

“Blessed are the ____ in heart, for they shall ___  ___.” (Matthew 5:8)

The well driller found water at 95 feet but insisted he ought to drill deeper because there was not enough water. He found water again at 120 feet. He was not satisfied and wanted to drill deeper. There was plenty of water at 120 feet, but it was not pure enough. He drilled deeper still until he found water that was both abundant and pure. Are our lives too shallow? (Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).)

A pure, honest, and stable spirit is not distracted by a lot of activity. He does everything to honor God and is at rest within himself. He seeks to be free from all selfishness (Thomas À Kempis (C. 1380-1471)).

If your love for the Lord is pure, you will love him as much on Calvary as on Mt. Tabor (Madame Jeanne Marie de La Mothe Guyon (1648-1717)).

God looks with favor at pure, not full, hands (Latin Proverb).

Better to have clean hands and a pure heart than to have clever hands and a smooth tongue (Croft M. Pentz, The Complete Book of Zingers (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1990).).

It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to (C. S. Lewis in The Problem of Pain. Christianity Today, Vol. 38, no. 6).

. . . . one word spoken with a pure heart is worth thousands spoken in a state of spiritual turmoil. Time given to inner renewal is never wasted. God is not in a hurry (Henri J. Nouwen in The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey.  Christianity Today, Vol. 40, no. 13).

Jesus describes the quality of possessing a “pure heart.” He has already spoken of the “poor in spirit,” those who mourn,” “the meek,” those who “hunger after righteousness,” and the “merciful.” It is certainly more than coincidence that Jesus speaks of the “pure in heart,” only after He has described these other qualities. After all, if one does not understand that his worth is only “in the Lord,” the Lord will not have his heart. If he or she isn't mournful over sin and its horrifying consequences, purity will never be achieved in their heart. Unless one is “meek,” having a gentle and heavenly-guided spirit, purity will be at unapproachable heights. And only when one truly hungers and thirsts for the filling of his heart with the righteousness of God, which comes through the person of Jesus Christ, will he possess the motivation that is necessary for a “pure heart.”

It is not surprising, that as Jesus begins His Sermon, He contrasts the characteristics of the Pharisees to that of those who are of His kingdom.

These qualities contrast sharply with Pharisaic “righteousness.” The Pharisees were not “poor in spirit”; did not “mourn” in recognition of their needs; were proud and harsh, not humble and gentle; they felt they had attained righteousness and therefore did not have a continual appetite or desire for it; they were more concerned with “legalities” of God's and their own laws than with showing mercy; were pure ceremonially but not inwardly; created a rift, not peace in Judaism; and certainly did not possess true righteousness (The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament, Copyright 1983, SP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved, Electronic Edition STEP Files Copyright © 1997, Parsons Technology, Inc., PO Box 100, Hiawatha, Iowa. All rights reserved.).

Where the religion of the day emphasized cleanliness in the body and in rituals, in verse eight Jesus said true kingdom people are pure in heart. This is not to say that inward purity does not affect the way we act. It is to say that outward purity should flow out of a pure heart. Jesus compared the Pharisees to whitewashed tombs-pretty and clean on the outside but filled with rotting corpses on the inside (Matthew 23:2) (“The Beatitudes: Picturing Life in God's Kingdom,” Charlie Starr, The Lookout, August 1, 2004).

Vine's Expository of New Testament Words defines “PURE, PURENESS, PURITY,” (katharos) as being cleansed . . . .  or chaste (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright (c)1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers).

“To be pure in heart is to be one whose mind, motives and principles are pure. "Pure" comes from the Greek word katharoi and means to be free from an impure mixture - to be clean and without blemish. One need not look very far to see a world sick with the impure mixture of worldliness. One who is pure in heart is one whose heart (mind) rejects and abhors every vile and evil deed. To be pure in heart is to be free from evil desires and purposes” (“Blessed Are the Pure in Heart,” by Tom Moore, http://www.seekyefirst.us/a/blessed_pure_heart.html).

Whether the Jews caught the point of the beatitude may be questioned, but a moment's reflection reveals that Jesus is attacking all purely external religion. He is combating the most cherished ideas of the Pharisees and cannot help but arouse their antagonism by such speech. These are “fighting words” which will be repeated with increasing intensity and frequency. (Cf. 5:20 6:1-18; 7:15-23; 12:33-37; 15:1-20; 23:1-36) Ceremonial purity, secured by numerous washings, by avoiding contact with certain contaminating objects such as corpses and non-Jews, by abstinence from certain foods, does not qualify for fellowship with God anyone whose HEART is contaminated! (Prov. 15:8; 21:3; 27; I Sam. 15:22; Psa. 51:16, 17; Isa. 1: 11-20; Mic. 6:7, 8) Those who shall be permitted a ready audience of the King Himself, are not those who punctiliously perform but those who are personally pure (Psa. 15:1-15; 24:3-6; Prov, 22: 11) (“THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW VOLUME I” Copyright 1968 College Press Harold Fowler).

“. . . . . try as we might, we cannot quite succeed in living on that level where all our actions exactly represent our true desires. But Jesus did not leave man to grovel in his impurity, for He provided the means by which man can be reborn (Jn. 3:3-5; Tit. 2: 14; 3:5) and become a completely new creature (II Cor. 5: 17-21). By cleansing the heart by faith, Jesus arrives at a moral condition that no legal system, governing merely external conduct, could produce. (Cf. Ac.15: 9; I Per. 1: 22) Jesus aims His teaching at the selfish sentiments, the distorted conscience and the obstinent will, for everything else emanates from these sources. (Prov. 4:23; Mt. 12: 34-37; 15:8, 18, 19) “Happy is the man whose heart has been cleansed!” (Cf. Ps. 51; Jn. 15:3; I Tim. 1:5; 3:9; II Tim. 1:3; 2:22; Tit. 1:15; Jas. 1:27; Heb. 2:17, 18; 4:14-16; 9:14) (“THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW VOLUME I” Copyright 1968 College Press Harold Fowler).

Matthew Fowler asked, “How does purity of heart manifest itself?” (“THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW VOLUME I” Copyright 1968 College Press Harold Fowler). And he follows with a list of five things in answer to the question. The first item on his list is a “chaste” mind. As long as one has a pure mind, in his or her heart lust and sin will be unable to find a home. He or she will possess singleness of mind rather than being the “double-minded man” that James describes (Jas. 1:8). As Jesus teaches later, “No one can serve two masters” (Mt. 6:24).

The “pure in heart” will produce fruit that manifests their character. One who exhibits honesty, love, godliness, compassion, faithfulness . . . . in his daily living, he it is that acts from a pure heart (Mt. 15:10-20). “If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless. 27 This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:26-27, NAS). James gives examples of useless religion: believing you are religious though your tongue is unbridled, possessing a “faith” that is not manifested in works of obedience, possessing an attitude of bitterness, etc. But he also reminds his readers concerning instances of “pure and undefiled religion.” Visiting (providing for) orphans and widows in distress, keeping “oneself unstained by the world,” laying aside “all filthiness” and “wickedness” . . . . . . And then in James 4:7-8, the Lord's brother writes, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (NAS).

“To keep myself unspotted from the world, I must lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and I must purify my heart and cleanse my hands. This is all about personal repentance and determination to avoid all sin and error” (“The Interactive Bible” By Warren E. Berkley, From Expository Files 9.3; March 2002, http://www.bible.ca/ef/expository-james-1-26-27.htm).

"Pure in heart" needs no explanation from the Greek. It refers to cleanliness, a lack of defilement, utter sincerity, and single-mindedness.
1) One who is "pure in heart" is striving to be holy as God is holy (1 Peter 1:15).
2) Continual God-consciousness is included (2 Corinthians 10:5).
3) In short, it is one who is trying to think the thoughts of God, see as God sees, etc.
4) It is one who sees everything in this world as empty and vain without God.
Purity in heart is the only way to truly serve God. . . . . (“Evangelism 101”, from “The Interactive Bible” website, by Brent Hunter, http://www.bible.ca/evangelism/e-brent-hunters-evangelism-101.htm).

Psalms 51 describes David, as he sought to possess a pure heart in his repentance. And again, as we have seen previously in our studies of the beatitudes, it is when we see ourselves in relationship to the righteousness, holiness and purity of God, that we are led to have a pure heart. It was only when Nathan, the prophet of God, rebuked David for his sin that he realized his trespass. Likewise, when we are confronted with the truth of God's Word (John 17:17), we see our trespasses and are brought to repentance. A repentant heart is a “pure heart.”

1 Timothy 1:5, “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (NAS). The goal of Timothy's “command” (paraggeliva, parangelia) is love, . . . . This love issues from (1) a pure heart, (2) a good conscience, and (3) a sincere faith. From a biblical perspective the heart is the seat of the will. A “pure heart” is then the conscience, which wills to do what is right and noble. . . . the “conscience” is the inner awareness of moral right and wrong (Rom 13:5; 1 Cor 8:10). Since the conscience can become calloused and marred (1 Tim 4:2; Titus 1:15), the Christian must so live within the will of God that his conscience is trained (://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref=1Co+8%3A7-12" 1 Cor 8:7-12). “Sincere faith” refers to a genuine faith. In fact the Greek word behind “sincere” (ajnupovkrito", anypokritos) could well be rendered “unhypocritical” (College Press New Testament Commentary: with the NIV).

For they shall see God. Faith and a regenerated heart help man to see God. We see only what we are able to see. By keeping our heart pure, we are now training ourselves to see God, or else if we refuse to submit to this discipline, we shall never be able fully to see Him. . . . This proposition is historically true: only those, whose hearts were bent upon doing God's will, saw God in Jesus. The rest did not. Yet, any who saw Jesus should have seen God. (Jn. 10:30; 14:9) Why did the rest fail to see Him? Because they already had their minds made up about what God had to be, say and do. So when God came walking among them in the person of Jesus, they frankly did not recognize Him. They had been unwilling to submit to God's will, for they really served sin (Jn. 8:31-47). Thus, they heard no echoes of the Father's voice in the tones of Jesus, because they did not really know the Father. (Jn. 5:38-47; 7:17) (“THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW VOLUME I” Copyright 1968 College Press Harold Fowler).

When we see Jesus, as revealed in Scripture and Creation, we see God. When we stand before the Almighty, constantly aware of His presence, we are humbled, and seek to stand before Him pure and holy, pleasing in His sight. Why? We have seen the Lord.

However, we are told that one day we will actually “see God.” Job believed that he would see God. “And as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. 26 "Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God; 27 Whom I myself shall behold, And whom my eyes shall see and not another. My heart faints within me” (Job 19:25-27, NAS).

Job is confident that he will see God. Heretofore Job had indicated a need to hear God. In verses 26f. three times he speaks of seeing God. The reference to skin, flesh, and eyes make it clear that Job expected to have the experience of seeing God as a man would see him, not in a vision or as a disembodied spirit (The Old Testament Survey Series: The Wisdom Literature and Psalms, Copyright © 1996 by James E. Smith. Electronic Edition STEP Files © 1997, Parsons Technology, Inc.).

It is when we are initially immersed “into Christ” and have our sins “washed away,” and again whenever we come before the Divine Throne in penitent prayer, that we are made “pure.” And as we continue in fellowship with our Lord, we are “continually cleansed” by the blood of Jesus (1 John 1). We are “pure” only through and because of the blood of Jesus Christ.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).  

Hebrews 12:2, “fixing [y]our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. NAS

“Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14, NAS).

Discussion Questions
1) Make a list of the beatitudes found here in Matthew 5: 1-12 (particularly the ones preceding “pure in heart”). Could a person possess a “pure heart” without these other characteristics?

a) poor in spirit
b) those who mourn
c) meek
d) seek after righteousness
e) merciful

The beginning of the article:
“Jesus describes the quality of possessing a “pure heart.” He has already spoken of the “poor in spirit,” those who mourn,” “the meek,” those who “hunger after righteousness,” and the “merciful.” It is certainly more than coincidence that Jesus speaks of the “pure in heart,” only after He has described these other qualities. After all, if one does not understand that his worth is only “in the Lord,” the Lord will not have his heart. If he or she isn't mournful over sin and its horrifying consequences, purity will never be achieved in their heart. Unless one is “meek,” having a gentle and heavenly-guided spirit, purity will be at unapproachable heights. And only when one truly hungers and thirsts for the filling of his heart with the righteousness of God, which comes through the person of Jesus Christ, will he possess the motivation that is necessary for a “pure heart.”

2) Contrast a “pure heart” with the righteousness of the Pharisees.

These qualities contrast sharply with Pharisaic “righteousness.” The Pharisees were not “poor in spirit”; did not “mourn” in recognition of their needs; were proud and harsh, not humble and gentle; they felt they had attained righteousness and therefore did not have a continual appetite or desire for it; they were more concerned with “legalities” of God's and their own laws than with showing mercy; were pure ceremonially but not inwardly; created a rift, not peace in Judaism; and certainly did not possess true righteousness (The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament, Copyright 1983, SP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved, Electronic Edition STEP Files Copyright © 1997, Parsons Technology, Inc., PO Box 100, Hiawatha, Iowa. All rights reserved.).

Where the religion of the day emphasized cleanliness in the body and in rituals, in verse eight Jesus said true kingdom people are pure in heart. This is not to say that inward purity does not affect the way we act. It is to say that outward purity should flow out of a pure heart. Jesus compared the Pharisees to whitewashed tombs-pretty and clean on the outside but filled with rotting corpses on the inside (Matthew 23:2) (“The Beatitudes: Picturing Life in God's Kingdom,” Charlie Starr, The Lookout, August 1, 2004).

The righteousness of the Pharisees was an outward righteousness. Their “religious” behavior was neither genuine nor sincere. But Jesus says that the people of His kingdom have a heart, which is “pure” and motivates them to deeds of righteousness.

One truth immediately clear from this passage is, it is not enough just to think that you are religious. Religion in the New Testament is not just a matter of what you think and claim; it is matter of your individual response of heart to God. It is the activity of your faith in Christ, beginning with baptism and continuing therefore to trust and obey (“The Interactive Bible” By Warren E. Berkley, From Expository Files 9.3; March 2002, http://www.bible.ca/ef/expository-james-1-26-27.htm).

The Jews of Jesus' day had a misconception about purity of heart. Notice our Lord's denunciation of the Jews in Matthew 23:25-26, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye cleanse the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full from extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup and of the platter, that the outside thereof may become clean also." In other words, no matter how hard we try to keep our outward actions pure, if our inward self (mind) is not pure, then our outward self (our actions) will not stay pure. Solomon said, "as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Pro. 23:7). This wise king also said, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Pro. 4:23). I am sure that most of you have heard the old saying, "a man is what he eats" - spiritually speaking, a man is what he feeds his mind, he is what he thinks ) “Blessed Are the Pure in Heart,” by Tom Moore, http://www.seekyefirst.us/a/blessed_pure_heart.html).

3) How does the preceding article characterize a “pure heart”? And how do make this our attitude?

Vine's Expository of New Testament Words defines “PURE, PURENESS, PURITY,” (katharos) as being cleansed . . . .  or chaste (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright (c)1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers).

“To be pure in heart is to be one whose mind, motives and principles are pure. "Pure" comes from the Greek word katharoi and means to be free from an impure mixture - to be clean and without blemish. One need not look very far to see a world sick with the impure mixture of worldliness. One who is pure in heart is one whose heart (mind) rejects and abhors every vile and evil deed. To be pure in heart is to be free from evil desires and purposes” (“Blessed Are the Pure in Heart,” by Tom Moore, http://www.seekyefirst.us/a/blessed_pure_heart.html).

Hebrews 1:3, “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (NAS).

Titus 2:14, “who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (NAS).

Hebrews 10:22, “let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (NAS).

1 Peter 2:1-3, “Therefore, putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2 like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 3 if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord” (NAS).

Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things” (NAS).

2 Timothy 2:22, “Now flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (NAS).

Psalms 51, “Be gracious to me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Thy compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. 4 Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned, And done what is evil in Thy sight, So that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak, And blameless when Thou dost judge. 5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. 6 Behold, Thou dost desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part Thou wilt make me know wisdom. 7 Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which Thou hast broken rejoice. 9 Hide Thy face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me away from Thy presence, And do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, And sustain me with a willing spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors Thy ways, And sinners will be converted to Thee. 14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation; Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Thy righteousness. 15 O Lord, open my lips, That my mouth may declare Thy praise.
16 For Thou dost not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; Thou art not pleased with burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise. 18 By Thy favor do good to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then Thou wilt delight in righteous sacrifices, In burnt offering and whole burnt offering; Then young bulls will be offered on Thine altar” (NAS).

The Prerequisite of Redemption (Ps 51).
Ps 51 is the fourth of the so-called “penitential” psalms (cf. Pss 6, 32, 38). David wrote this psalm after the prophet Nathan had rebuked him for his sin with Bathsheba (2 Sam 11-12). . . . 51:1-2. David prays for forgiveness and cleansing. The ground of this prayer is God's grace. “Lovingkindness” was the origin and the bond of the covenant between Yahweh and Israel. Sin is described in three aspects: (1) transgression, i.e., defection from God or rebellion against him; (2) iniquity, i.e., the perversion of right, depravity of conduct; and (3) sin, i.e., error, missing the mark. The removal of guilt is also triply described: (1) “blot out,” i.e., sin is regarded as a debt recorded in God's book which needs to be erased and canceled; (2) “wash me,” i.e., sin is regarded as an inward stain which only God can thoroughly cleanse; and (3) “cleanse me,” i.e., as a leper might be cleansed of his disease.
51:3. The pronoun here is emphatic. His sins have been known to God all along. Now, however, David has come to know them himself; they are unceasingly present to his conscience, at least since Nathan had pricked his conscience with the word of God.
plinkto4 19 51:4" 51:4. All sin ultimately is a sin against God, as a breach of his holy law. Moreover, the king, as Yahweh's representative, was in a special way responsible to him. David's admission of sin would make any sentence concerning him by God appear just. Man's sin brings out into a clearer light the justice and holiness of God.
51:5. David alludes to his sinful nature. He was born in sin, i.e., with a nature prone to do evil. The verse does not plead the sinfulness of his nature as an excuse for his conduct. Rather he is confessing that sin has infected his very nature. The verse furnishes no justification for the doctrine of total depravity.
51:6. God desires “truth,” i.e., wholehearted devotion which is incapable of deceiving self, as David had done, or deceiving man as David had tried to do. Along with truth, God desires wisdom in the inner person, that spiritual discernment which is synonymous with the fear of Yahweh.
51:7. David calls for cleansing and restoration. The figurative language is borrowed from the ceremony of the law. A bunch of hyssop, a common herb which grew upon walls, was used as a sprinkler, especially in the rites for cleansing the leper and purifying the unclean (cf. Lev 14:4ff.). Washing and clothing of the body regularly formed part of the rites of purification. David here, however, is thinking of the inward and spiritual cleansing of which those outward rites were the symbol. He appeals to God himself to perform the office of the priest and cleanse him from his defilement.
51:8. Under the law the purification of the unclean was the prelude to his readmission to the gladness of sanctuary worship. So the inward cleansing of David will be the prelude to his restoration to that joy of God's salvation which he desires. God's displeasure had crushed his “bones,” i.e., shattered his whole frame. Some prefer to read the verbs in this and the preceding verse as futures, thus indicating David's confidence in God's pardon.
51:9. David repeats his prayer for pardon, cleansing, and renewal. To hide the face from sin means to cease to look upon it in displeasure. “Blot out” again suggests a canceled debt (cf. v. 1).
51:10. David wants a radical change of heart and spirit, not a restoration of what was there before. A “steadfast spirit” is one that is fixed and resolute in its allegiance to God, unmoved by the assaults of temptation. Essentially here David is surrendering his heart to the Lord.
51:11. David prayed that he might not be cast away from God's presence. The Spirit of God came upon David when he departed from Saul (1 Sam 16:13f.). David apparently feared that, because of his sin, he might be deprived of God's favor and deserted by that Spirit which supplies comfort and guidance to believers.
51:12. Sin has destroyed the assurance of God's help which is ever a ground of rejoicing. He prays for that deliverance which he is confident (INK "steplinkto4 19 51:8" v. 8) God can and will grant him. He desires to be upheld from falling in the future by God's free or willing Spirit.
51:13. After he has experienced the joy of restoration to communion with God, he will endeavor to instruct transgressors in the ways of Yahweh. One of the most fitting fruits of repentance is the effort to keep others from falling into the same pitfall, and to guide back to the Lord those who have fallen.
o4 19 51:14" 51:14. David asks to be delivered from “bloodguiltiness,” i.e., crimes for which the death penalty was appropriate. He refers to his crimes of adultery and murder (cf. 2 Sam 12:5, 10 12:13" 13). Should forgiveness be granted, David promises to sing of God's “righteousness,” i.e., his faithfulness to his character and covenant. Pardon for the penitent is as much a manifestation of God's righteousness as judgment on the impenitent.
51:15-17. David asks for the power (ability) as well as the occasion to sing God's praise in the public assembly. He wants to praise God aright. Sin hinders genuine praise; pardon releases it. Such a thank offering he proposes to give because he knows that Yahweh does not desire a material offering so much as the sacrifice of a contrite heart. This is not a repudiation of all sacrificial worship but a recognition that the reality within is more desirable to God than the outward symbol. A “broken spirit and a contrite heart” are those in which the obstinacy of pride has been replaced by the humility of repentance. Some see here a reference to the fact that under the law no provision of sacrifice was made for deliberate transgression.
51:18-19. These verses may have been added by the exiles who adapted this psalm to their own situation. On the other hand, it is not impossible that the penitent David would utter this prayer on behalf of Zion, the city of God. To “build the walls of Jerusalem” may have been metaphorical for granting divine protection to the holy city. The “sacrifices of righteousness” are those offered in a right spirit and manner. In the whole burnt offering the worshiper symbolized his complete dedication to the Lord. A continued divine blessing on Zion would enable Yahweh's people to continue presenting to him these whole burnt offerings (The Old Testament Survey Series: The Wisdom Literature and Psalms, Copyright © 1996 by James E. Smith. Electronic Edition STEP Files © 1997, Parsons Technology, Inc.).

4) What results from a “pure heart”? Describe a person who possesses this quality.

Matthew Fowler asked, “How does purity of heart manifest itself?” (The Old Testament Survey Series: The Wisdom Literature and Psalms, Copyright © 1996 by James E. Smith. Electronic Edition STEP Files © 1997, Parsons Technology, Inc.). And he follows with a list of five things in answer to the question. The first item on his list is a “chaste” mind. As long as one has a pure mind, in his or her heart lust and sin will be unable to find a home. He or she will possess singleness of mind rather than being the “double-minded man” that James describes (Jas. 1:8). As Jesus teaches later, “No one can serve two masters” (Mt. 6:24).

The “pure in heart” will produce fruit that manifests their character. One who exhibits honesty, love, godliness, compassion, faithfulness . . . . in his daily living, he it is that acts from a pure heart (Mt. 15:10-20). “If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless. 27 This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:26-27, NAS). James gives examples of useless religion: believing you are religious though your tongue is unbridled, possessing a “faith” that is not manifested in works of obedience, possessing an attitude of bitterness, etc. But he also reminds his readers concerning instances of “pure and undefiled religion.” Visiting (providing for) orphans and widows in distress, keeping “oneself unstained by the world,” laying aside “all filthiness” and “wickedness” . . . . . . And then in James 4:7-8, the Lord's brother writes, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (NAS).

“To keep myself unspotted from the world, I must lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and I must purify my heart and cleanse my hands. This is all about personal repentance and determination to avoid all sin and error” (“The Interactive Bible” By Warren E. Berkley, From Expository Files 9.3; March 2002, http://www.bible.ca/ef/expository-james-1-26-27.htm).

"Pure in heart" needs no explanation from the Greek. It refers to cleanliness, a lack of defilement, utter sincerity, and single-mindedness.
1) One who is "pure in heart" is striving to be holy as God is holy (1 Peter 1:15).
2) Continual God-consciousness is included (2 Corinthians 10:5).
3) In short, it is one who is trying to think the thoughts of God, see as God sees, etc.
4) It is one who sees everything in this world as empty and vain without God.
Purity in heart is the only way to truly serve God. . . . . (“Evangelism 101”, from “The Interactive Bible” website, by Brent Hunter, http://www.bible.ca/evangelism/e-brent-hunters-evangelism-101.htm).

1) Chastity of a mind so clean that lust cannot live (Mt. 5:28)
2) Basic honesty so well-known that oaths are unnecessary (5: 33-37) and worship and service becomes real (6: 1-18)
3) Intelligent love so perfect that hate, anger, contempt (5: 22ff), personal retaliation (5: 39-42) and partiality (5:44-48) have no place in the pure heart.
4) Singleness of mind so completely confident of God's provision that worry and materialism are impossible (Jas. 4:8; see notes on Mt. 6: 19-24)
5) It is that singleness of mind and purpose that owns only one Master (6:22-24)
In short, it is that freedom from all thoughts, motives and intentions behind conduct that defile man and cut him off from God's fellowship (“THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW VOLUME I” Copyright 1968 College Press Harold Fowler).

One who possesses a “pure heart” will help the needy, those who are without daily sustenance, those who are without God. The works of the “pure” will be manifested in their actions.

2 Corinthians 11:1-2, “I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness; but indeed you are bearing with me. 2 For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin” (NAS).

What are the results of not seeking a “pure heart”?
2 Peter 1:9, “For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins” (NAS).

5) What does Jesus mean by the phrase, “they shall see God”?

Psalms 24:1-5, “The earth is the Lord's, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it. 2 For He has founded it upon the seas, And established it upon the rivers. 3 Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood, And has not sworn deceitfully. 5 He shall receive a blessing from the LORD And righteousness from the God of his salvation” (NAS).

Shall see God ton (NT:3588) theon (NT:2316) opsontai (NT:3700). Without holiness no man will see the Lord in heaven (Heb 12:14). The Beatific Vision is only possible here on earth to those with pure hearts. No others can see the King now. Sin befogs and beclouds the heart so that one cannot see God. Purity has here its widest sense and includes everything (Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft & Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. Copyright (c) 1985 by Broadman Press).

optanomai (op-tan'-om-ahee); a (middle voice) prolonged form of the primary (middle voice) optomai (op'-tom-ahee); which is used for it in certain tenses; and both as alternate of NT:3708; to gaze (i.e. with wide-open eyes, as at something remarkable; and thus differing from NT:991, which denotes simply voluntary observation; and from NT:1492, which expresses merely mechanical, passive or casual vision; while NT:2300, and still more emphatically its intensive NT:2334, signifies an earnest but more continued inspection; and NT:4648 a watching from a distance): (Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

This interpretation hinges on a fascinating interplay between the present and future tense in Jesus' words. The kingdom is the possession of the poor in spirit, and the meek will inherit the earth. Tasker points out the significant fact that the Greek present tense can include the future and that the future tense can indicate certainty. In being God's kind of person we experience now the rich blessings of heaven's kingdom, and we guarantee our participation in their fullest expression when Jesus comes. Heaven breaks into our life, and whoever participates in God's present kingdom work within will surely have a place when that kingdom takes its final, visible form (Copyright 1994, by Victor Books/SP Publications Inc. THE VICTOR BIBLE BACKGROUND COMMENTARY NEW TESTAMENT By Lawrence O. Richards).

Last section (above):
When we see Jesus, as revealed in Scripture and Creation, we see God. When we stand before the Almighty, constantly aware of His presence, we are humbled, and seek to stand before Him pure and holy, pleasing in His sight. Why? We have seen the Lord.

However, we are told that one day we will actually “see God.” Job believed that he would see God. “And as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. 26 "Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God; 27 Whom I myself shall behold, And whom my eyes shall see and not another. My heart faints within me” (Job 19:25-27, NAS).

Job is confident that he will see God. Heretofore Job had indicated a need to hear God. In verses 26f. three times he speaks of seeing God. The reference to skin, flesh, and eyes make it clear that Job expected to have the experience of seeing God as a man would see him, not in a vision or as a disembodied spirit (The Old Testament Survey Series: The Wisdom Literature and Psalms, Copyright © 1996 by James E. Smith. Electronic Edition STEP Files © 1997, Parsons Technology, Inc.).

It is when we are initially immersed “into Christ” and have our sins “washed away,” and again whenever we come before the Divine Throne in penitent prayer, that we are made “pure.” And as we continue in fellowship with our Lord, we are “continually cleansed” by the blood of Jesus (1 John 1). We are “pure” only through and because of the blood of Jesus Christ.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).  

Hebrews 12:2, “fixing [y]our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (NAS).

“Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14, NAS).

1 John 3:2-3, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (NAS).

Jesus' challenge to His and any age is simply: “How very badly do you want to see God? Are you willing, then, to open up your inmost thoughts, your best-hidden desires, your secret designs for the inspection of God? How happy is that man who so lives that at any moment he could bare his heart to the eye of God without shame. Who is willing to pay this price to enter the kingdom?” Jesus is keenly interested in the quality of a man's inmost being. (Cf. Mt. 5:28; 6:21; 13:1-9, 18-23; 15:8, 18, 19; Mk. 3:5; 11:23; Lk. 16:15; 21:34) (“THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW VOLUME I” Copyright 1968 College Press Harold Fowler).

Some parting thoughts:
Spiritual truth is discernable only to a pure heart, not to a keen intellect. It is not a question of profundity of intellect, but of purity of heart (Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)).

One's heart cannot be pure whose tongue is not clean (Croft M. Pentz, The Complete Book of Zingers (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.).

•  Pure Democracy. You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets your milk.
•  Representative Democracy. You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to decide who gets your milk.
•  Pure Communism. You have two cows. Your neighbors help take care of them, and you all share the milk.
•  Pure Socialism. You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everybody else's cows. You have to take care of all the cows. The government gives you as much milk as you need.
•  Pure Bureaucratic Socialism. You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everybody else's cows. They are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk as the regulations say you should need.
•  Pure Fascism. You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to care for them, and sells you the milk.
•  Pure Dictatorship. You have two cows. The government takes both and drafts you.
•  Pure Bureaucracy. You have two cows. At first, the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. Then it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows.
•  Pure Anarchy. You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price, or your neighbors try to take the cows and kill you.
•  Pure Surrealism. You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.
[Surrealism is a 20th-century literary and artistic movement that attempts to express the workings of the subconscious and is characterized by fantastic imagery and incongruous juxtaposition of subject matter. Excerpted from American Heritage Talking Dictionary. Copyright © 1997 The Learning Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. The above from Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)]

It is impossible for us to be the children of God naturally, to love our enemies, to forgive, to be holy, to be pure, and it is certainly impossible to us to follow God naturally; consequently the fundamental fact to recognize is that we must be born again. (Oswald Chambers (1874-1917).


Those who have worked diligently for God in their Christian walk will be greatly rewarded-how we long to hear our Master Jesus say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness” ( Matthew 25:21 ). After the judgment, God's people are arrayed in fine linen, clean and white because Christ's shed blood has washed away their sins. They are presented righteous and pure to their bridegroom, Christ. At the marriage supper, individual believers are guests, but collectively they are the bride (Copyright © 2000 by Halley's Bible Handbook, Inc.).

What Jesus declares rings true psychologically: those who have not spent the whole of their life energies seeking God's approval, would not be happy to see Him anyhow. Even admission into the presence of our glorious and holy God would be hellish torment to those whose hearts are contaminated. Therefore, God, in banishing the wicked from His presence forever, is but mercifully conceding them their last wish! `The impure in heart shall not see God” (“THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW VOLUME I” Copyright 1968 College Press Harold Fowler).

It is of the utmost importance to be "pure in heart," for that are - "they shall see God." To "see God" is to enjoy Him and enjoy His presence. Jesus teaching Nicodemus, said, "Except a man be born again, he cannot SEE the kingdom of heaven" (Jn. 3:3). Two verses later, Jesus says, "Except a man be born of the water and the Spirit, he cannot ENTER INTO the kingdom of heaven" (Jn. 3:5). Therefore, to see the kingdom is to enter into the kingdom and thus enjoy the benefits of the kingdom. It is would follow then that if one is "pure in heart" he would "see God," that is, having a relationship with God; and thus, enjoying the benefits of being with God in his kingdom (“Blessed Are the Pure in Heart,” by Tom Moore, http://www.seekyefirst.us/a/blessed_pure_heart.html).



Beatitudes Lesson One   |   Beatitudes Lesson Two   |   Beatitudes Lesson Three   |   Beatitudes Lesson Four   |   Beatitudes Lesson Five   |   Beatitudes Lesson Six   |   Beatitudes Lesson Seven   |   Beatitudes Lesson Eight   |   Beatitudes Lesson Nine   |   Beatitudes Lesson Ten



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