Following the Beatitudes: Why Are the “Pure in Heart” Blessed?
The Bible states that the blessed are the “pure in heart.” But what does this mean? Are believers the ones referred to in the Bible as “blessed are the pure in heart,” and what is a pure heart? How can our hearts be pure if we are sinners?
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Which Gospel Talks about Being Pure in Heart and Who Spoke Those Words?
The New Testament book of Matthew shares the Scripture about being pure in heart. Specifically, Matthew 5:8 says the pure in heart are blessed “for they will see God.” This does not mean we will see God on this earth. We will see God when we reach heaven.
Matthew, also known as Levi, was a tax collector who became a disciple of Jesus. Despised by the people, this tax collector turned disciple shows that God can use anyone to further His kingdom. There is always an opportunity to seek and follow God.
The four Gospels each highlight different parts of Jesus’ life and mission.
In his writings, Matthew starts by sharing about the birth of Jesus, His early years, escaping to Egypt with His family, and returning to Nazareth. In Matthew 3:13-17, we learn about John baptizing Jesus. John was shocked and humbled that Jesus wanted him to be the one to baptize the Messiah. John listened and answered Jesus’ request.
Matthew 4:18-22 tells that Jesus began His public ministry by calling the first disciples. Early in Matthew’s account, Jesus shares the Beatitudes with his disciples. Later, He told them that He would die and be resurrected. Between these early conversations and Jesus’ words being fulfilled, plenty happened. Matthew describes Jesus’ healing the sick, raising the dead, and driving out demons. (for the story on demons, see Matthew 8:28-32)
One particular highlight of Matthew’s Gospel is he wanted to show that Jesus was the Messiah. As a result, he includes stories like the Transfiguration, where Jesus shared his true identity with His disciples Peter, John, and James.
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Who Was Jesus Talking to When He Said: “Blessed Are the Pure in Heart”?
Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart,” as part of his sermon known as the Beatitudes. Matthew 4 and 5 explain how word about Jesus’ miracles spread, and crowds from all over Judea came to see him.
Seeing these crowds, Jesus went up to a mountainside and began to preach the Beatitudes to the disciples. Perhaps some people in the crowd followed and heard Jesus preach.
Jesus wanted everyone to know how to be blessed by God. However, He didn’t say the blessed life was an easy one. He told His listeners that worldly values would contradict His words. He knew that there were believers and unbelievers in the crowds. He told the disciples not to be surprised by difficulties such as mourning, hunger, and persecution.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5: 10-12 NIV)
These Beatitudes share that being blessed by God gives hope and joy, no matter the circumstances. Suffering leads to transformation. While we don’t want to suffer, God’s blessings will come from our pain. We may not understand why certain events or situations happen in life, but we can find peace knowing God is with us in every trial. His plan is being fulfilled.
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Does Jesus Promise the Pure in Heart Will Receive Material Blessings?
The people wanted to know how to be in God’s kingdom. Some sought salvation, while others sought tangible ways of gaining God’s blessing. The word was spreading about the ministry of Jesus. Some believed He was the Messiah, while others did not believe. Some people continued to search for the answers they desired.
Jesus did not say the pure in heart would receive material blessings. Jesus promised that the pure in heart would see God. Jesus reminded people not to obey worldly laws in hopes of being closer to God. Jesus said that the people who are pure in heart would be in heaven and see God.
“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. Be we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.” (1 John 3:2-3 NIV)
Material blessings are nothing compared to the blessings of God. Seek Him first always. “Things” are temporary. Life with God is eternal for those who are saved.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6: 33-34 NIV)
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How Do We Become Pure in Heart?
The Oxford Dictionary defines “pure” as not mixed or adulterated with any other substance or material. Also, free of any contamination.
Jesus says the pure in heart are blessed. Since we are sinners and continue to sin, how can we be pure in heart? Purity of the heart means being made clean through the Spirit and the Word. We must put God first in every thought, word, and action. Yes, sin will try and enter. Staying in God’s Word, acknowledging our sins, repenting when we sin, and asking for His forgiveness will guide us to a pure heart.
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Can We Become Pure in Heart Without God’s Help?
How can we become pure in heart if we fail at one or more Beatitudes? What if anger or resentment enters into our thoughts? Perhaps the day has been filled with one bad happening after another, and our patience is stretched to the limits. What happens when we fail and sin?
Following the instructions in each Beatitude will lead to being pure in heart.
Is it possible to be pure in heart if we only follow one or some of the Beatitudes and not all? A sin is a sin. There is no big sin or little sin. Therefore, we must aim to have a pure heart in every situation. A halfway dedication to obeying God will not work.
Since we are sinners and continue to sin, is there a way to be pure in heart?
The way to have a pure heart is when Jesus cleanses us. “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10 NIV) Purity of the heart means being made clean through the Spirit and the Word.
Yes, sin will try to enter us, and we cannot withstand its influence on our own. Having a pure heart requires asking God to enter our lives.
When our heart is pure, we will seek to do His will and share His love and glory with others. We must put God first in every thought, word, and action. We don’t have to worry about losing our chance if we fail to follow His ways. We can begin again by asking for His forgiveness and guidance.
The Beatitudes remind us to live for God, not self. By following the laws of God, our hearts will become pure, and we will see God in Heaven.
Dear God, thank You for the ways You lead us closer to a relationship with You. May we become pure in heart and always seek You. Amen.
In His Name,
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Award-winning author Melissa Henderson writes inspirational messages sometimes laced with a bit of humor. With stories in books, magazines, devotionals, and more, Melissa hopes to encourage readers.
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