Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8
The Pharisees of the day were hung up on ceremonial cleanliness. They had a habit of fixing their external appearance while ignoring what was on the inside. Jesus continually called them out on their actions because he saw through their facade. Ultimately they couldn’t handle the truth, so they killed him so they could keep their fake lives in order.
Today we aren’t much better. We know how to put on a good face, when to say the right things, and what actions aren’t acceptable. We know how to make ourselves appear clean. But that doesn’t fix what’s on the inside. While we might be able to fool those around us, we cannot fool Jesus. He doesn’t care what our outward appearance looks like, he cares about the condition of our heart.
Jesus is tossing another grenade here. This stung the pharisees, and it should sting us today too. Jesus is saying that the pure in heart will get the good life. Not the ones that have it all together, not the ones that look good on the outside, not the ones the do all the right actions. It’s the people that have a pure heart that have the good life; the pure heart will see God.
Simply put, Jesus is saying the blessed are those who do the right things for the right reasons. The emphasis is on the motive behind the actions not the actions themselves.
In Jesus’ day, and in our world today, the religious tell us that we need to fix our actions. They weigh everyone down with the expectations to look the part. But the problem is no one can live up to that, and it just puts an unnecessary burden on people.
Jesus comes along and says something different. He says it’s the pure in heart that are blessed. In other words, you shouldn’t focus on fixing your actions. Instead focus your eyes on Jesus.
Does this mean our actions don’t matter? Absolutely not, they matter to God. That’s why Paul says: Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. 2 Corinthians 7:1
Our actions matter deeply to God. But our actions flow out of what already exists in our heart. We cannot fix our actions without first fixing our heart. When we start to focus our heart on God, our actions change naturally. Why? Because our actions flow out of whatever we put in our heart.
What Jesus is referring to is the washing/cleansing from the inside. What happens when you change your inside? You begin to see God. When we change our heart it gives us a clearer picture of God. When we fix our outward appearance little will change because we are still the same person. But when we fix our heart we start to become more like Jesus.
Now let’s put this in context of the previous things we have seen Jesus say. When we are pure in heart we begin to see people the way Jesus sees people. In the previous verses Jesus said Blessed are the Merciful. That’s a statement about how we treat others, and this theme continues on in the coming verses. What Jesus is trying to communicate is that we need to be pure in heart in order to see people the way he sees them.
This is the whole message of the gospel. Jesus saves us eternally, and we point others to him. But we cannot do this if we are not pure in heart. We cannot do this if we only focus on outward appearance. Many have tried but only to weigh people down with rules and expectations. We first must become pure in heart so that we can see God. Then we can point others to the grace and truth that exists to others.
So let me ask you this. What is in your heart? What does your heart beat for? Because your actions will mimic whatever is in there. You can hide it for awhile, but it will eventually come up. Stop trying to change your actions and start chasing after Jesus. The good life is found in those that are pure in heart.
Read the previous article in the Series: Blessed are the Merciful
Read the next article in the Series: Blessed are the Peacemakers