Blessed are the Pure in Heart

This week’s scripture reading, Matthew 5:1-12, 

And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed [are] the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed [are] they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed [are] they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed [are] the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed [are] the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed [are] the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you,] and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. 

Source of Purity

What does the bible say about pure in heart and how do we become pure in heart? Well, with this week’s focus on blessed are the pure in heart, there is often a feeling among people over the need to have a sense of self-reliance in this quest of becoming pure in heart. Many a valiant attempt is made to become pure in oneself all on his/her own accord. This can result in mentally preparing a list of things to say and do, and not to say and do, in an effort to somehow achieve this sense of perceived purity. With this, any achievement then tends to become the proverbial pat on your back moment so to speak.

But that is similar to what Paul described to individuals who were intent on this self effort quest. He likened it to making a bit of a rule book or ordinances as they were called back then in Col. 2:21, …Touch not; taste not; handle not. Then as Paul continued on a few verses later he called this self effort a form of will worship ( Col. 2:23). While there is perhaps a measure of merit in doing this, it is important to first come to the realization that purity starts with God and God alone.

The purity of God was notably referenced in Job 4:17, Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker? This foundation of purity is derived from and originates with God and not ourselves, despite our best efforts. The pureness of God is expressed in his wisdom from above as noted by Jam. 3:17, But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. King David also wrote of this purity from God in Ps.19:8, The statutes of the LORD [are] right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD [is] pure, enlightening the eyes. * (intreated – to ask earnestly)

Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?

Job 4:17

Purity from Above

The question then needs to be asked, how does one obtain this enlightening purity from God? As noted above, while some degree of self effort may have temporal effects, there is a far better and more enduring way that brings an eternal purity from God. This is by experiencing new birth in Christ. As John the Baptist once responded to inquiring Jews on the subject of purifying in John 3:27, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. It is from God where this purity comes from and it may come as a surprise to some that it comes from the new birth. Jesus spoke about the new birth to Nicodemus in John 3:3, Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.  Take careful note how Jesus relates being born again with seeing the kingdom of God. Similarly, the pure in heart shall see God. * (born again – literally means born from above)

This purity from God must truly come from the spiritual new birth through belief in Jesus’ atoning work on the cross. Paul identified this remarkable transition in 2 Cor. 5:17, Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. The new creature, or new person, deserves special highlighting here. The apostle John also wrote of this in 1 John 3:9, Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. The regenerated spirit of a born again believer in Christ cannot sin however this side of heaven even believers are unfortunately still burdened with the fleshly nature of sin should they willingly choose to pursue it. After all sin is a precarious influence in life as shown in Gen. 4:7b, …sin lieth at the door. And unto thee [shall be] his desire,

Returning now back to Paul’s letters, he also wrote of this spiritual change that takes place when people come to saving faith in Christ as noted in Gal. 2:20, I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. This is truly where blessed are the pure in heart becomes real and lasting in one’s life. It is Christ who is living within believers and it is Christ who is fulfilling this purity in a person’s life.

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 

John 3:3b

This purity of God working through believers by faith through the indwelling righteousness of Christ, in turn produces purity of soul and spirit as noted in 1 Pet. 1:22-23, Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, [see that ye] love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. Indeed, blessed are the pure in heart who now have the incorruptible Christ dwelling in them! This is why Paul exclaimed in Col. 1:27b, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. This is truly a blessed are the pure in heart example.

Purity in Rebirth

Paul also wrote of this to believers in Christ in Eph. 4:23-24, And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. It is this inner spiritual rebirth where purity then manifests itself in outward motives as shown 1 John 3:2-3, Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. It is Christ who now empowers us through his spirit to live a holy and pure life in him.

put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Ephesians 4:24

This outworking of the indwelling Holy Spirit is also shown in Gal. 5:22-25, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Purity in You

As people grow in their pure desires, this is also typically shown  by a yearning to read God’s word and further growth in purity will take place as shown in Prov. 30:5, Every word of God [is] pure: he [is] a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Always remember though, it is God working in you as Paul noted in Phil. 2:13, For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.

This working of God’s Spirit through people is essential to the Christian faith as Paul further emphasizes in Col. 2:6-7a, As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, [so] walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith. For this reason, Paul coined a most unique phrase about purity in 1 Timothy 3:9, Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.

As Christians follow God’s path of righteousness, Paul further elaborates on this in 2 Tim. 2:22b, …follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Paul also adds in 1 Tim. 1:5, Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and [of] a good conscience, and [of] faith unfeigned. This now concludes insight on the first part of the verse for blessed are the pure in heart! * (unfeigned – sincere, genuine)

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.

Philippians 2:13

Seeing God

The second part of this blessed phrase, “for they shall see God”, has proved rather enigmatic throughout scripture. It is not the purpose of this Bible Study to prove or disprove whether people have actually seen God face to face, but rather to present some notable events from scripture.

The first recorded interaction between God and man are found in the first three chapters of scripture, most notably in Gen. 3:8, And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. It is indicated here that they heard God’s voice and hid from his presence but not necessarily God’s physical presence. This would tend to hold true since as Jesus stated in John 4:24, God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.

In the book of Exodus, several interactions like this are recorded with one in Ex. 24:9-11, Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:  And they saw the God of Israel: and [there was] under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in [his] clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink. * (elder – a leader or senior figure)

On another recorded occurrence however there is more direct communication from God in reference to seeing his face in Ex. 33:20-23, And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the LORD said, Behold, [there is] a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen. What is notable in this verse are the physical attributes of God, i.e. face, hand, back. This clearly harmonizes with Gen. 1:27, So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

God Before Us

In the New Testament, there are several indications from various individuals in reference to seeing God such as the one described by Jesus in John 6:46, Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. This reference was to Jesus and he also answered an inquiring Phillip in John 14:9b, …he that hath seen me hath seen the Father. To briefly digress, scripture portrays this oneness of the Lord God in many verses like John 10:30, I and [my] Father are one. This is also illustrated in Is. 45:5, I [am] the LORD, and [there is] none else, [there is] no God beside me.

…he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.

John 14:9b

Returning back now to the notion of seeing God, the apostle John also declared in both John 1:18 and 1 John 4:12, No man hath seen God at any time. Interestingly, Paul also highlighted this invisible nature of God in 1 Tim. 1:17, Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, [be] honour and glory for ever and ever. Paul also noted this same attribute about Jesus in reference to God in Col. 1:15, Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.

In contrast to this, Paul then writes about the future presence of the Lord in 1 Tim. 6:14-16a, That thou keep [this] commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, [who is] the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see.

Perhaps, one last notable verse is provided here since being pure in heart is indeed related in scripture with seeing God. This is noted about godly living in Heb. 12:14, Follow peace with all [men,] and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Finally on this subject, with the eventual second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, his visibility will indeed be a very present one as shown in Rev. 1:7, Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they [also] which pierced him. That will indeed be a momentous experience for the blessed are the pure in heart.

Follow peace with all [men,] and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.

Hebrews 12:14

To close off this study on blessed are the pure in heart, a tremendous amount of scriptural references were provided to give a better understanding and knowledge on the purity and visible nature of God. One of the objectives of STUDYINFAITH.COM is to share an abundance of scripture with readers since therein lies the truth. This study alone likely provided more scripture than the average person may see in an entire lifetime! This is equipping of the saints with, …the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God… as noted in Eph. 6:17.

As readers contemplate Blessed are the Pure in Heart and seek the purity of God by desiring to be in his holy presence, there is an encouraging message from Paul on purity to conclude with in Phil.4:8, Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things. 

Bible Study Questions

  1. In this study on Blessed are the Pure in Heart, can we truly become pure within without God in our life?
  2. Why do you think so many people feel they can become pure on their own merit and self effort?
  3. True or false, a person can become pure just by following certain commandments from the Bible?
  4. How would you explain to someone the need to become born again in order to receive God’s pure spirit in them?
  5. Can you find the verse that says God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth?
  6. What did Jesus mean when he said, …he that hath seen me hath seen the Father?
  7. Can you think of some ways where the purity of God could become more present in your daily walk of faith?

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