11th June 2011

A Hard Question

The sixth in the series on The Beatitudes 

Blessed are the pure in heart,
 for they will see God.

Matthew 5:8 (NIV)

It would seem only right to begin this study by asking what purity of heart is, but that’s a big question to ask and a hard one to answer. On the other side of death I believe that everything wrong, false and impure will fall off me, and the very, very small creature that remains will see, know and understand God in his reality. On this side of it, I believe God is closer than we know, and that there are things which stop us “seeing” or being aware of him—to the extent, perhaps, that we even fail to recognise his love and his example in the lives of other Christian around us.

An image that comes to mind is the way a stream sometimes runs all opaque with mud, but, given time and quiet weather for the silt to settle out, the water will eventually run clear. The muddiness in my analogy is not just recognisable, listed sins, but all kinds of worries, distractions, stresses and whatever else “does not come from faith” (Romans 14:23). The implication is that we need quiet time with God to let go of those things.

In the Psalms, a “pure heart” tends to be paired with obedience to God’s laws, and in the New Testament epistles it tends to be mentioned in the context of Christian love—probably because it is so natural to have a mixture of motives even for the best of our actions. No one can really claim to have kept themselves pure (Proverbs 20:9).

You see what I mean about its being a hard question to answer. All human beings have sinned; have been trapped in cycles of sin; have suffered confusion of right and wrong; and forgiveness is given for all. We are told that purity of heart will be rewarded, or fulfilled, by seeing God. Perhaps the suggestion is, that to see God in all his holiness and glory is the true ambition and greatest hope of someone whose heart God has cleansed.

Lord, I pray for a clearer awareness of you now, and I pray for the time when all of us will see you face to face.

Study by Fiona Jones 

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