Our church family is teaching through the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. On Sunday we looked at verses 7-12, and I just wanted to quickly share our insights around verse 8.
Matthew 5:8, “8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
When you see the phrase, “pure in heart” it could sound like a challenge of moral perfection, so that if you change your morality, your mind, and motives then you could attain a pure heart and see God.
But, Scripture makes it really clear that humanity is unable to make our hearts pure. I know this might sound odd because we have grown up in the Age of the Enlightenment where better education should make us more civil, but Jeremiah 17 says our hearts area deceitful and wicked.
- In Matthew 7 Jesus calls our hearts evil. He says, “If you being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father?”
- The heart is what you are when nobody knows but God. It is why 1 Samuel 16 says, “Man looks at the outward appearances, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
- The heart is the invisible root matters of our soul. It is why Matthew 15 says, “What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart.”
Therefore, in verse 8 when Jesus teaches “blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” He isn’t talking about moral platitudes. God didn’t take on flesh and enter human history to improve our bad habits. No, if we want to see God then we need new hearts!
When God created all of humanity He created us with hearts that are captivated by Him, but in our sin we rejected God to go our own way. As a result our hearts have become hardened toward God. Our hearts have become stubborn toward one another. Our hearts have become splintered so that we chase after little sparkly things over and over.
It is why Jesus says in John 3, “We must be born again.” It is why the Apostle Paul says, “We must be made new.” It is why in Matthew 5 Jesus is inviting us to live under His reign and His rule on earth as it is in heaven and for that to happen we need new hearts.
Today, when you turn on the news and you see chaos in our culture we need to remember that we are a people who need new hearts. It is great to see our country engaging social issues like racism, equality for women, and refugees, but there is only so much government can do to solve these problems. It is good for us to be aware and involved, but our expectations need to be realistic.
We need new hearts, and it is only Jesus who has come to take our heart of stone and place it around His neck to be put to death at the cross. It is only Jesus who gives us His righteousness by grace through faith so that we are made new.
Has that happened in your life? Have you desperately cried out to God, “Create in me a clean heart” through faith in Jesus?