Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Beatitude: Pure in Heart

Beatitude: Blessed are the pure in heart

Beatitude means being in a state if utmost bliss, according to the Meriam-Webster Dictionary. Well here is a list of utmost blissfulness from Jesus's Sermon on the Mount:

Matthew 5  (ESV)

The Beatitudes:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

Today's beatitude is on the pure in heart.

Heart is an abstract construct. It's the personality and disposition of an individual. The personality is a person's emotional and behavior characteristics which are peculiar to the person, while disposition is the prevailing tendencies of the person. All people are predisposed to behave in a certain way, and react to stimuli in their own manner. I'm not Freudian at all, but he identified people who were anal retentive in their disposition. He believed that their childhood potty training had much to do with their disposition. Many people do react as if they are constipated, but the biblical view is that because of iniquity they are predisposed to hostility.

Adam and Eve were born pre-disposed to pureness in heart. They were so pure that they were extremely naïve. They believed a well-presented lie on the part of Satan who used an innocent animal to deceive. (At that time, snakes were docile or Eve would not have been conversant with him).

They were designed in the image of God which is pureness in heart. Purity is without contamination. With sin they both became impure, and we are because they were. God always asked that pure gold be used for his purposes. Purity means holy.
1 Peter 1:16 "Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy."
Holiness is simply behaving and reacting to design intent. Since mankind was designed in the pure image of God, we are called to be pure. Again, purity is without contamination, and God's disposition is pure love - love without fault.
 1 John 2:4 "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked."
What are we to do? Keep his commandments. That's how we show God that we love him. Purity is keeping those precepts written in stone with the intent of enduring for ever! The Ten Commandments are the metrics which measure love. Those who keep God's Commandments are the pure in heart.

Circumcision is what results in pureness of heart.
Deuteronomy 30:6 "And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live."
Pure love is when the flesh is symbolically cut off from the heart. It is sin which is circumcised. Lying, stealing, irreverence, and all the things which appeases the flesh are terminated. That's presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice. That's pureness of heart! If we say that we keep his commandments, we are liars because some impurity always remains because humans are pre-disposed toward impurity. If we say that we keep the Commandments we must endeavor to keep them. That is sanctification.

Entire sanctification is when Christians become entirely pure. That will happen upon death only when the person is transformed and is glorified. Until then, all mortals are imperfect, but it's still the goal. Of course everyone will miss the mark, but God loves the aroma of people doing what is right to please him. The key phrase here is to please him. If Christians merely do things because they have to, their reward is in the doing. It is the self which gets the honor, not God. Being righteous is being pure for right reasons because wrong reasons are impure. Ironically, when a Christian believes he has become pure, then he or she is the most impure. One fragment of pride brings impurity because with self-indulgence your other god - you, still lives.

When a person's disposition is toward purity to please God then the person is pure in heart. That is to be our new personality since we are a new creation!

Let's take a look at one example:
I made a driving error which resulted in a man getting angry. He made an obscene gesture behind my back. I slammed on my brakes at the next stoplight, got out of my Jeep and angrily approached him.
Mrs. A made a driving mistake, the man followed her and made an obscene gesture which is what sinners are inclined to do, but Mrs. A said aloud, "Lord forgive me for making that poor man sin."
My own reaction was impure, but Mrs. A's was with a pure heart. She was merciful. I was not. However, to the Lord's credit, the Comforter intervened with me, at the last moment, and I told the offending man, I'm sorry. Mrs. A had purity in heart, but even though I apologized my disposition was toward anger. The Comforter stayed near me because of my impurity of anger. Mrs. A had a pureness of heart that the Comforter had put her on auto-pilot.

Her pureness of heart was what blessed her. She was promised to see God. That is utmost bliss - to stand in front of the Creator without guilt. Now she is dead and Mrs. A sees God right now! Her name is in the Book of Life, and the other book has her sins blotted out. I admire her because she admired God enough to be pure in heart.

Hearts harden. As one sins more, the heart gets harder because impurity is appeasing one's own flesh. Appeased flesh is hardened hearts, and the disposition is for the person to sin. That hard heart can be given to God, and symbolically it is circumcised when the new person is created. Christians are to change when they come to trust in Jesus, but if the old person still walks, then they are a liar! It's not that we can't sin because we do have the liberty to sin. Pureness of heart is when the desire to sin is removed. For that pureness of heart, those Christians will see God!

Most of us should worry: it seems that we have changed little. The new creature looks just like the old. Impurity of the heart still abounds.

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