Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.
What does this mean?
Does this mean that God doesn’t reveal himself to sinners? In that case, the Gospel is meaningless and our faith ought to be in our own ability to do right. If purity of heart means simply a heart which has no sin in it, a heart which does not harbour bitterness or conceit, lust or envy, then if one is self-disciplined, they should have direct access to the very throne of God.
I understand Jesus’ blessing to be an announcement of his kingdom. Apparently then, in this kingdom, those who work their hardest earn the right to see God. This would have terrible implications for the rest of the blessings, which then become equally as harsh demands on our souls.
What is this purity of heart to which Jesus refers, and how does it logically follow that the pure in heart see God?
The Psalmist declares:
Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false
and does not swear deceitfully.
He will receive blessing from the LORD
and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob.
Here we see ‘purity of heart’ paralleled with not worshipping idols and also with not cheating or harming others. This seems to be the essence of the Law of God: Those who may stand in his holy place are those who are obedient to the law, loving God and loving others.
This still does not help me. Israel’s history in the Bible records the abject failure of the people of God to be ‘pure in heart’. What hope do I have?
I think the issue here is that I have made purity of heart the goal, when the promise is that I would see God. Which, then, is more important to God? Seeing him, or adhering to a set of rules?
Maybe if the daily question becomes ‘where can I see God’ rather than ‘how can I be pure in heart’ that heart-purity will become second nature.
It’s not as though God has hidden himself behind a wall of laws and rules which one must climb over in order to behold him.
I think one’s impure heart will prevent one from seeing the obvious.
That is, God.
Heart -purity is what prevents a person from seeing God.
One of the key aspects of Jesus’ life is that he was often surrounded by the religious, the law-keepers and the zealous who, despite being very good at being holy, had completely missed the face of God in Christ.
So then these must not be ‘pure in heart’
Not everyone saw God in Jesus. There were a few, though. His disciples, for one. Those who walked with him saw him for who he really was.
Is it possible then, that it is the act of following Jesus which purifies one’s heart. Or even being called to follow which purifies the heart?
Maybe purity of heart is visible when Jesus followers see God’s hand in the lives of others, performing miracles of transformation.
Or maybe that’s just imagination.