Pure 

A few Bible verses have been rattling around my head in recent weeks, to the extent where I felt the need to write about them. They will probably provide the source material for my posts over the next three days so for those of you who don’t do the whole Jesus thang…..

WARNING – This post may contain material of a Biblical nature!!!

There is something deeply satisfying about the combination of bold type, capital letters and exclamation marks. It’s the blogging equivalent of running down the street with no clothes on. Which, in my case, nobody wants to see. 

Anyways. I digress. Today’s verse…. 

Matthew 5:8 – ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.’


Now I’m no theological genius and I’m not going to dive into the Greek or Hebrew translations. People have written books about the Sermon on the Mount, of which this is just one verse. I’m not going to contextualise or cross reference it, I’m just going to briefly write what it meant to me when I read it the other week.

I rarely feel pure in heart. Let me rephrase that. I never feel pure in heart. Regular readers of the blog (all four of them) will know that I regularly fall back on my dodgy past for inspiration. My heart is about as impure as they come. Steeped in selfishness. Stained by my sinful nature. As black as my name. Which is er…..Black.

I still struggle. Every day I am not generous enough, not forgiving enough, not loving enough. I regularly feel utterly inadequate and out of my depth when it comes to being a Christian. My mixed experiences with organised churches have done little to allay these doubts. I try every day to be a better person. And I invariably fail every day.

So I’m doomed right? Jesus said it himself. Only the pure in heart will see God. Which means no Stephen come the big party in the sky. But hang on then, doesn’t that mean it will be a pretty sparsely populated party? Didn’t Paul say something about us all having fallen short of the standard required to stride through the pearly gates?

So what was Jesus trying to say then? Was he condemning us all to an eternity in a rather hotter environment than heaven? Well no I don’t think so. However I believe he was issuing a stark reality check to his assembled audience, which no included a few self righteous Pharisees and other pompous do gooders.

Tbe reality is that there is only one way to access eternal life. And that is through Jesus. None of us have pure hearts. We can attend church seven days a week. Give all our money away to charitable causes. Help old ladies cross the street and adopt stray kittens. Doesn’t matter a jot. We all fall hopelessly short of the standard required. Our minds are runaway trains fuelled by jealousy, lust and every petty little thought in between. We are hurtling down the track full tilt and the brakes aren’t working.

Jesus knew all this. What he was doing was pointing out the problem and the solution. Namely him. Accept you can’t do it alone. Surrender to him. Fly the white flag. Only then can we accept him as the only means by which we can dig ourselves out of the mud and mess of our sinful existences.

Jesus knew all this. He knew he had to come to earth and die a brutal, humiliating death on a Roman cross. Only by the shedding of his blood, via nails, thorns, boots, fists and spears, could we be saved. He shed buckets of it. For us. To wash away our sin and allow us to approach the throne of God unblemished and white as a fresh snowfall.

Only through Jesus can we become pure in heart. Only through Jesus. 

Here endeth the sermon….

What are your thoughts on this verse and my interpretation of it?

28 thoughts on “Pure 

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  1. Beautiful thoughts on this verse. When I read the Beatitudes, I now read them as a process. I once read them as individual promises that some people could cash in on while others couldn’t. But I now know that the process of each verse allows us to experience, through God, things we cannot experience on our own. Jesus leads us in this passage to a richer, more full relationship with a God that was previously hidden behind the law. One of my favorite parts of the Bible!

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  2. This is such an excellent post, brother. I was so encouraged in my studies to hear about the late, great Jonathan Edwards own words in regard to this very subject. He had, at an early age, made a massive list of resolutions he wanted to live by. Then later that year wrote that he had almost daily broken those resolutions. The man was literally called a PURitan. I think you and I are in good company here! God bless you, brother.

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  3. Great thoughts. Yes, we can do nothing without Jesus living in the center of it all. There is a good analogy I turn to regarding having a “pure heart” and on sin in general.

    There is acid resident in our stomach’s reaching a pH between 2-3. This is close to the pH of concentrated sulphuric acid. Think about it. Acid at this level can corrode steel nails and cause severe skin burns. Yet, the acid does not eat its way through our stomachs and internal organs. This is what the power of God’s Spirit (the Holy Ghost) can do for a believer regarding the sin that resides in our bodies. It does not have to be in the drivers seat (by the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ).

    We do not have a glorified body, so until then we have to deal with the “sin issue”. It always comes down to the sin issue; either ours, those around us and sin that is in the world. Sorry to be long-winded here.

    To me, it is a daily challenge. As the great Apostle penned: “I die daily”.

    Blessings

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  4. It’s kinda funny how you felt like you never felt pure in heart before. For a long, long time, I felt this veil. I couldn’t be blameless. I couldn’t be this, I couldn’t be that. But recently, as God has been pricking my heart and helping me give up things of this world that I use to watch/partake in I feel lighter. I feel closer. It was the first time ever I was like, “There is hope to become blameless by the end of our days.” You’re absolutely right, it’s only through Christ can we achieve this. The only thing we can give Him is our will and determination to choose Him over the world.

    There’s a scene in the Bible when a man is boasting in the streets of how perfect and righteous he is and how better he is compared to the tax collector praying nearby quietly. Christ asks His followers (paraphrase), “Whose prayer would God hear/answer? The man in the streets or the one asking for God’s forgiveness in humility and sincerity?”

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  5. This really is a beautiful post. I love to be reminded that none of us can ever be considered pure without the blood of Christ. Of course we’re going to keep trying the best we can, but thank God it’s not up to us to save ourselves. We only have to accept God’s gift of salvation.

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  6. I will leave you a tip about mountain sermon: all, you read there, is about and to the people, who still live ON EARTH. So.. to see God (you wont see Father or Holy Spirit), you have to clean yours heart.. just my experience.
    Jesus’s words : “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and MANIFEST MYSELF to him.” (John 14:21). – both of those verses are about same thing…
    its a promise.

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  7. sorry, cant edit my comment. but i have to add – John 14:21 is also “how-to”
    is it possible, to have pure heart?
    never felt that way. but i did John 14:21 and … promise was fulfilled, several times.

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  8. Really loved this post. ‘Rather hotter environment that Heaven’ has me tittering behind my desk at work. Where I am definitely working, and not exploring the blog world.

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