The pure in heart are blessed, for they will see God.
Matthew 5:8, HCSB
Adam and Eve started off in this world having God walk among them. They actually got to see God. It wasn’t until after their rebellion that they were forced to leave the Garden of Eden, and the separation of spirit also was separation of presence. But there are times in the Old Testament that God shows up. Moses wrote that “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among his contemporaries; Noah walked with God,” (Genesis 6:9, HCSB) and “Then the LORD appeared to Abraham at the oaks of Mamre while he was sitting in the entrance of his tent during the heat of the day,” (Genesis 18:1, HCSB). Daniel recorded an encounter in chapter 10 of his book. And who can forget about Isaiah!? “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, and His robe filled the temple,” (Isaiah 6:1, HCSB). But God’s ultimate revelation to man was through Jesus: “The one who has seen Me has seen the Father,” (John 14:9, HCSB). “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation,” (Colossians 1:15, HCSB). “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of His nature, sustaining all things by His powerful word,” (Hebrews 1:3, HCSB).
How amazing would it be to have such an experience! The question is not so much if we will see God. Everyone, young and old, good and bad, living and dead, will see God at the judgment. It’s more of a question of how we will see God. In this sermon Jesus was referring to seeing God in a positive sense, not in a negative sense. Seeing God as Father not as Condemner. In order to see God as Father, there is the prerequisite of having a pure heart. A pure heart. A pure heart. Would you consider your heart pure? Probably not. I don’t consider my heart pure, far from it. Even the most holy person we can think of would never consider himself or herself to be pure of heart if they are actually holy.
Does that not mean then that no one will see God? Yes and no. First, remember that these beatitudes were being spoken to disciples, followers of Jesus. They were Christians (with the exception of Judas, of course). Apart from Christ they certainly would have impure hearts, but with Christ their hearts are being ever purified. As Paul would later say, “For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers,” (Romans 8.29, HCSB). “For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight,” (Ephesians 1.4, HCSB). To be pure in heart is to be like Christ. It is to be holy and blameless. That is what we are becoming, and by God’s grace we shall fully become at our death.
In order to see God as Father, there is the prerequisite of having a pure heart. A pure heart. A pure heart.
We can never say that we are fully pure this side of heaven. However, we can say that we are being purified. One of the greatest images that Scripture gives to us in this comes from Malachi. “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who will be able to stand when He appears? For He will be like a refiner’s fire and like cleansing lye,” (Malachi 3:2, HCSB). Every impurity will be burned. Every spot will be scrubbed clean. Complete purity will be ours! But even now, even now, we are being purified. Paul told the Philippians, “I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 1:6, HCSB). A lot of people love to read and hear this verse, but rarely do they connect it with what Paul wrote in the same paragraph and just two sentences after. “And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, so that you can approve the things that are superior and can be pure and blameless in the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God,” (Philippians 1.9-11, HCSB).
Yes, God is purifying you, but that is a two-way street. You and I must be growing and doing what God is doing. He is working in us and we are to be living it out. God is showing us inwardly what is lovely and superior and such, but we must then approve of those things, choosing them over things that are ugly and inferior. Again, Paul wrote something similar in the second chapter of Philippians: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose,” (2:12b-13, HCSB). To work out your salvation does not mean that you get to decide how you will be saved, but rather to do outwardly what God is doing inwardly. God is enabling you (inwardly) to desire His good purpose. He is enabling you (inwardly) to live it in reality. That is why Paul went on to say, “Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world,” (Philippians 2:14-15, HCSB). Notice the word do. That’s an action word. It’s not a state of being; it’s a state of action. Why do these things? To be blameless and pure. In other words: act out what God is doing in you and you will be growing in your purity and blamelessness. We cannot be completely pure in this world, but wouldn’t it be great to be as close to it as possible? God enables us inwardly by giving us new desires and new ways to work out the inward salvation so that it also affects how we act.
Hopefully by now you can see how this would benefit your marriage. If husbands are reading this then you know that becoming more like Christ will then lead you to “love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water with the word,” (Ephesians 5:25-26, HCSB). If wives are reading this they will grow in their understanding of what it actually means to submit, knowing that even Christ submitted Himself to the Father: “Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman, and God is the head of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:3, HCSB) Love and humility are the outworkings of an inward change brought about by God. Those are not the only changes. There are others: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control,” (Galatians 5:22, HCSB). Can you imagine your spouse (and you as well) displaying these qualities to each other? This is what will happen as one grows in purity of heart. God shows up and changes us from within.
Notice the word do. That’s an action word. It’s not a state of being; it’s a state of action. Why do these things? To be blameless and pure. In other words: act out what God is doing in you and you will be growing in your purity and blamelessness.
Commit now to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. If you are a believer in Christ, God is already at work inside you. Now it is time to let what’s happening inwardly to happen outwardly.
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