Larry Sheehy032512Listen to Pastor Larry Sheehy's latest column.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
People have different reactions to religion, along with those who try to live a life consistent with the God’s desire for spirituality in his people. Some admire and try to imitate their example, while others are put off by it, often responding in very negative ways. They don’t seem to understand that Jesus teaches his disciples to let their “little Christian lights” shine (as the children’s song says) so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
The goal of religion is to “see” God. The apostle John wrote, “Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be (that is, in heaven) has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2) Then John adds that those who have this hope are seeking to be pure, “just as he is pure,” so they can realize the goal. Could there be a more important concern for the child of God?
Jesus spoke of those whose “heart” is pure. The “heart” in scripture usually refers to the spiritual, emotional and mental nature of man. In obvious contrast to what Jesus means, Moses spoke of the hearts of men during Noah’s time this way: “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5)
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”
Purity carries with it the idea of cleanness: "Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart." (Psalm 73:1) Also, purity of heart is the only true indicator of godly love. Paul’s goal for his instructions to Timothy about what he was to teach was “love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1Timothy 1:5)
William Barclay suggested that Jesus’ use of “pure” may describe the heart that is free of adulterated “motives;” the state of mind which longs to serve God and others for the unselfish joy of honoring God, and is free of corrupt incentives.
Jesus’ promise is that those who are “pure in heart” will “see God.”
David wrote, “Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob.” (Psalm 24:3-6)
There is a sense in which to “see God” is to enjoy his blessings and fellowship in this life. We see God in his mighty works, his people, his word and his providence.
Since it is those who are “pure in heart” who will see God, the impure will not see him. This doesn’t refer to those who believe they are “self-righteous.” Only those who hearts have been cleansed in the blood of Christ, and who live daily in his will can see God in any sense.
Can you “see” God in your life now? Will you see him in the world to come?