“Blessed are the pure in heart”

Beatitude #6: “Blessed are the pure in heart”


By Jeremy Stopford, Semi-Retired Pastor

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” (Matt. 5:8)

We have come to the 6th of the beatitudes of our Savior’s “Sermon on the Mount” {SOTM!) found in its entirety in Matthew 5-7.

Blessed”. Do you remember what this means? By way of review, our English word “happy” begins with 3 letters – “hap” – which show that our emotions are based upon …happenstance or better, circumstances, The Latin word for “blessed” is properly translated…you bet, “BEATITUDE”. But the Greek word for “blessed” is “makarios”. You are now Greek scholars, right? “Makarios” is…GOD’S HAPPINESS, HIS JOY! It is GOD’S kind of “happiness” which is not dependent upon “happenings”. It is dependent upon…GOD HIMSELF! Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) which is a God-thing, created by Him for His purpose.

In today’s lesson, we are told that the blessed here are the “PURE IN HEART”.

(And did you remember: Dr. Becker’s 81st birthday was on Monday, March 8)

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”

So how do we illustrate this truth? Permit me a feeble attempt! The date was July 8, 1968, almost 53 years ago! A small group of about 30 of us high school students – along with several teachers and their spouses – spent the summer of 1968 touring France, Germany, and Spain, spending 6 weeks of our 8 week travel in a chalet in Switzerland. Studying, of course. I took one year of Spanish in those 6 weeks, and finishing the summer for a week in Madrid made for a wonderful opportunity to practice what I learned! One of our side trips while in Switzerland was to “Les Diablerets”, quickly and easily translated “the devils”. From the ground looking up, it simply looked like one of those New Hampshire mountains – only maybe a little higher. Well, maybe A LOT higher! It was 65 degrees at the base. A beautiful Swiss day! We all rode in “gondolas” (cable cars) up the side of the mountain. Straight up, mind you. At the top were two glaciers, and within seconds we were all…having a snowball fight! 20 degrees and a blizzard! Then minutes later, a biting wind blew the blizzard past, and then, and THEN…you could see forever – most of Europe the guide related – from the top of what once was the scene of a tremendous struggle!

So how do we apply this simple (simplistic?) illustration? Let’s work our way through this. The “BLESSED” were all of us finding a newfound joy in the journey. The “PURE IN HEART” was the fruit of being without the storms (and without the threat of being hit squarely between the eyes by a fast sailing snowball!). And those who “SEE GOD”? They are the ones who reach the goal – the experience of seeing the purpose of the journey up the mountain to the glacier. We made it through the trials, through the VERY harrowing gondola trip up the side of the mountain. We made it through the storm of the sudden blizzard. We even made it through the snowball “battle”! And then? As the song says, we could “see forever”. We could see the handiwork of God. Even though it would be another 3 years before I would come to the Savior by faith, that experience was HUGE in my visualizing the magnitude of the God of creation. And, according to Romans 1:20, “ For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse…”. I was without excuse. God’s display on top of that mountain showed me His hand. His presence. Wow!

So let’s make some evaluations. “BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART”. For the Jew, it was part of the Scriptures to use a bodily part like the heart to display an attribute. For example, the “heart”, as one of my college professors wisely noted, “may be understood here as “the interior life of the personality.” Jesus used this same thought again in Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there your HEART will be also.” The heart, the seat of the emotions, as it were, can be either “PURE” or “IMPURE”. Do you remember what the Lord Jesus said to the Pharisees in Matthew 12:34-35? He was NOT very kind to those whose foundation was tradition and their own made up laws (613 of them in addition to the Jewish Scriptures!). Jesus said to them,

Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the HEART the mouth speaks.

A good man out of the good treasure of his HEART brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.

And again in Matthew 15:19:

“For out of the HEART proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.”

Thus, the born again Christian who is “PURE IN HEART” is one who realizes the above battles for that purity. How does the one who is “PURE IN HEART” access that hope, that goal for his walk with the Lord? The Bible says in Romans 10:17, “so then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God”! The battle between purity and impurity – between light and darkness of the heart – demands a heart that is transformed daily into the holy image of the Lord Jesus! And HOW am I to do that?

The Apostles Paul and Peter are quite helpful here. First Paul:

“Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a PURE HEART.” [2 Timothy 2:22]

And Peter:

“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a PURE HEART, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever…” [1 Peter 1:22-23]

BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART”! Flee youthful lusts. Pursue holiness. Love one another because you’ve been born again by the living Word of God. It wasn’t until the Lord brought us through the (snow) storm that He surprised us young ones. He was there with us through the storm, even though we may not have appreciated that at the time! And then?


To “see God” is a two-fold experience for every man, woman, boy, and girl who has come to know the Lord Jesus as Savior. First of all, we can SEE GOD now!!! How? Listen to Philippians 4:4-5:

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.”

What does it mean when Paul says that the Lord is “AT HAND”? Well, we’ve done this lesson far enough to know, don’t we? It means that we SEE GOD…NOW! We know His presence, His blessings regardless of the…HAPPENSTANCES that the world may have to offer. We are BLESSED…MAKARIOS…ENJOYING GOD’S JOY.

But there is another guideline. We can see God NOW only under one MAJOR condition, as the writer of Hebrews relays in Hebrews 12:14:

“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which NO ONE WILL SEE the Lord…”

Peace with all people. Holiness before God and in the world. Rejoicing in the Lord. He is “AT HAND”!


In the midst of Job’s trials, sufferings, and tremendous LACK of comfort by those who were supposedly his closest friends, he utters some of the most classic words of the entire Old Testament, in Job 19:25-27:

“For I know that my Redeemer lives,

And He shall stand at last on the earth;

  And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,

That in my flesh I SHALL SEE GOD,

Whom I shall see for myself,

And my eyes shall behold, and not another.

How my heart yearns within me!”

Do I hear an “AMEN”?

We will close with 1 John 3:1-3, where the Apostle John expressed Job-like hope:

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for WE SHALL SEE HIM as He is.

And everyone who has this hope in Him PURIFIES HIMSELF, just as He is pure.

Now “Les Diablerets” is not for the faint of heart. Neither is life, for that matter. But our Savior invites us into His presence, to SEE HIM NOW. He invites us to His purity. He invites us to see Him every day – through the storms, in the valley, and occasionally from the mountaintop. And one day we will SEE HIM AS HE IS. Are you excited? Are you striving to be one of the “PURE IN HEART”?

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” (Matt. 5:8)