The Sixth Beatitude
"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." Matthew 5:8
It was a distinguishing characteristic of the great Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, that His teaching was continually aimed at the hearts of men. Other teachers had been content with outward moral reformation, but He sought the source of all the evil, that He might cleanse the spring from which all sinful thoughts and words and actions come. He insisted over and over again that until the heart was pure, the life would never be clean. The memorable Sermon on the Mount, from which our text is taken, begins with the benediction, "Blessed are the poor in spirit," for Christ was dealing with men's spirits- with their inner and spiritual nature. He did this more or less in all the Beatitudes, and this one strikes the very center of the target as He says, not "Blessed are the pure in language or in action," much less "Blessed are the pure in ceremonies or in clothing or in food," but "Blessed are the pure in heart."
While a so-called religion may recognize as its follower a person whose heart is impure, the religion of Jesus Christ will not. Christ's message to all people still is "Ye must be born again" (John 3:7); that is, the inner mature must be divinely renewed or you cannot enter or even see the kingdom of God that Jesus came to set up in this world. If your actions appear to be pure, yet if the motive at the back of those actions is impure, that will nullify them all. If your language is virtuous, yet if your heart is revelling in foul imaginations, you stand before God not according to your words but according to your desires. By virtue of the current of your affections- your real inward likes and dislikes- you shall be judged by Him. External purity is all that man asks at our hands, "for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7); and the promises and blessings of the covenant of grace belong to those who are made pure in heart, and to no one else. Purification of the heart is a divine operation that cannot be performed by ourselves or by any human agency. Holiness must be wrought in our lives by Him who is the thrice-holy Lord God.
"What is it to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?" It is to trust Him, to rely upon Him. You will never get rid of your troubles till you do, but you may be rid of them this very moment if you will but believe in Jesus. Though you have struggled in vain against your evil habits, though you have wrestled with them and resolved against them, only to be defeated by your giant sins and terrible passions, there is One who can conquer all your sins for you. There is One who is stronger than Hercules, who can strangle the hydra of your lust, kill the lion of your passions, and cleanse the Augean stable of your evil nature by turning the great rivers of blood and water of His atoning sacrifice right through your soul. He can make and keep you pure within.
Look to Him! He hung upon the cross, accursed of men, and God made Him to be sin for us, though He knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. He was condemned to die as our Sin-offering that we might live forever in the love of God. Trust Him, trust Him! He has risen from the dead and gone up into His glory. He is at the right hand of God pleading for transgressors. Trust Him! You can never perish if you trust Him, but you shall live, with ten thousand times ten thousand more who have all been saved by grace, to sing of a mighty Savior, able to save to the uttermost all them who come to God by Him. God grant you may be among the pure in heart who shall see God, and never leave off seeing Him, and He shall have all the glory.