"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8 NASB)
For this post there are two commonly misunderstood words that we need to get set straight, and then this verse may very well come to life. The words pure, and heart, are two words that have been used over and over in a certain way that they have lost their full meaning. Let me explain starting with pure, the word purity has come (in Christendom) to always have to do with sexuality. Youth are encouraged to remain sexually pure, people wear purity rings, we talk about purity in marriage, etc... and we have come to the point where we instantly associate pure or purity with sexuality, and abstaining from sexual sin. This is far too narrow of a view on purity. The other word is heart, people speak a lot about knowing things in their heart, or feeling things down in their heart... when talking about the heart instantly people think of the emotional center of the human... the word heart is primarily used when speaking of emotions and feelings. This far too narrow of a view on the heart.
Let’s start with pure. Pure means simply ‘to be of one substance.’ If you have a glass of water that is 98% pure and 2% feces then that water is not of one substance, and you will not drink it. When reading Exodus you see God’s emphasis on purity when Moses is given the plan for the tabernacle and all the instruments thereof. You read about using pure gold, pure incense, pure fabric, pure silver, pure wood, pure gemstones, pure pure pure. Then when you begin to read the rules concerning making burnt offerings you read about the purification of the priests, so that they can make offerings for the purification of the people, and so on. Purity is essential, and required.
Now onto the heart, the heart certainly is the emotional center of the body, and when speaking of the heart we are speaking of emotion, but there is much more. The heart is the seat of desire, all desires spring forth from the heart. The heart is the birthplace of words, the words we speak show the condition of our heart. The heart is the seat of the will, it is from the heart that your will comes. (Now lets be clear, we are not talking about a blood pumping muscle here, we are talking about something deeper than that.) So if you speak of a ‘change of heart’ it must be a change of the will, desire, emotion, etc... the heart controls all of that.
Now back to the beatitudes, ‘Blessed are the PURE in HEART, for they shall see God.’ Or, ‘Blessed are those whose, will, emotions, and desires are of one substance, for they shall see God.’
Now under those conditions this verse makes a little more sense. The redeemed have had a supernatural change of heart. The unredeemed have hearts that chase down desires that conflict with the will, and produce emotion inconsistent with the desire. Not to say the redeemed do not get emotionally conflicted they do, nonetheless, the redeemed have a will that is growing more and more in line with the will of God, a desire that is growing stronger and stronger to be in His presence, and emotion that is becoming more and more driven by His Holy Spirit. The heart of the ‘blessed’ is pure in its purpose, and pure in its direction. Yes we fall, yes sin seems to abound, but blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.