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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Matthew 5:8

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

This sixth Beatitude brings to mind Psalm 24:3-4,

Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart…

To the psalmist, external purity, or "clean hands," are not enough, but there should also be "a pure heart," internal purity. Jesus denounced the Pharisees who concentrated only on the external and neglected the internal. They cleaned the outside of the cup, but were inwardly full of wickedness.

The Greek word pure in this beatitude is an etymological root of the English word catharsis, which can mean an inward cleansing that brings about spiritual renewal. It is also the same word Jesus used in John 15:3 – "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you."

And what does Jesus mean by heart? To Western culture, the heart is limited to just emotions. But to the Jewish mind, the heart was much broader in meaning to include the entire interior life of a person: mind, will, and emotions. Jesus here refers to a purity that includes right thinking, holy resolves, as well as honorable and appropriate emotions.

This is a precious promise that has been a motivation for me to strive for authentic, inward purity. I yearn with all my heart to see God, not only face-to-face in heaven, but to see Him now more clearly in the Scriptures and see Him in His handiwork in the world, and see Him at work in His people.

I believe this is the effect Jesus intended to engender in our hearts: a deeper desire to pursue true holiness, without which no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). May this be our resolve today.

Tom Day

 

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