Blessed Are the Pure in Heart
By Gabriel García V.
God is holy and pure. He likes pure things. His pristine creation with its unsurpassed purity is marvelous. His judgments are pure.1 In biblical times the ceremonial incense was made by the apothecary to be “pure and holy.”2 The temple lamps burned with pure olive oil.3 Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with pure spikenard.4 The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.5
Holiness and purity are closely related; to approach God, it was necessary to be pure. Now, of course, our purity is through our redemption thanks to the sacrifice that Christ made for us on the cross. He is the only one able to cleanse our impurities and make us pure.
He asks us to be pure in heart and not lift up our souls to vanity.6 He teaches us to discern between the holy and the profane, the clean and the unclean.7 He purges our impurities.8 He asks that we think pure thoughts.9 Brotherly love purifies our souls, as do hope and faith.10 The city where we will dwell with Christ is made of pure gold.11
And, of course, there are things that God considers impure that offend His holiness and the sacred nature of His creation. There are impure foods, impure attitudes, and impure activities that we should avoid. The world has brought many troubles upon itself for eating impure foods that cause illness and even death. Pornography is an activity that has enslaved many and has done much damage in marriages. Purity is important to God. Not to become puritans, not at all, but to be closer to the Creator and His beautiful and pure creation.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”12 Paul added, “To the pure, all things are pure.”13 On the other hand, a dirty mind will besmirch the whole being. Give us, Lord, a pure mind. It’s not about being perfect, but rather about being able to recognize these dirty, impure thoughts and attitudes and to reject them. We do well to remember this in the era of “anything goes” and its promotion of ugliness and vulgarity. For example, if we lustfully “undress” a woman with our eyes, not only does she feel uncomfortable, but we have stained our thoughts. Purity will admire and delight in the beauty, but not devour it.
The body is sacred as the temple of God. There are things that we should not practice, because our body was not made for them. We shouldn’t drug, contaminate, or abuse it. Nor should we use our body to harm others or to do anything that is against its natural use. Nor should we use our tongue to speak lies or use our hands or our mind for destructive purposes. Our prayer is to be pure of heart; not selfish, jealous, or hateful.
And when we dirty ourselves, we come to the Lord claiming His cleansing power over our lives. There is a saying, He that is clean is healthy. That applies both bodily and spiritually. Lord, give us kind and loving hearts, pure spirits, and cleansed minds. The apostle tells us to think on whatever is pure, whatever is lovely.14 We are not proudly striving to reach a state of religiosity, but rather trying to stay as pure and clean as we can. It is worth the effort—for we will see God.15
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Scripture says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Note the order of this beatitude. First, purify the heart, then you will see God. You change your life by changing your heart.
How do you do that? Jesus gave the plan in the beatitudes. You admit sin—you get saved. You confess weakness—you receive strength. You say you are sorry—you find forgiveness. Now you have something positive, and you want more. Then comes mercy; and the more you receive, the more you give. And you can bet that He who made you knows how to purify you—from the inside out.—Max Lucado
1 Psalm 51:4.
2 Exodus 30:34–35.
3 Exodus 27:20.
4 Mark 14:3.
5 Psalm 19:8.
6 Psalm 24:4.
7 Ezekiel 44:23.
8 1 Peter 1:7.
9 Philippians 4:8.
10 1 Peter 1:22.
11 Revelation 21:18.
12 Matthew 5:8.
13 Titus 1:15.
14 Philippians 4:8.
15 Matthew 5:8.