“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Wow! The Bible says in Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” He’s speaking of man’s heart, desperately wicked as a result of the penetration of sin into the world following that first rebellious act committed in the Garden of Eden. Man’s heart is deceitful. Man’s heart is desperately wicked. So how can we be pure of heart?
King David, himself once exposed as a sinner by Nathan the prophet, said in Psalm 51, “Create in me a clean heart, a pure heart.” He understood that his heart was not clean or pure. The heart is where everything flows from. Jesus told His listeners at the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the pure in heart.” Who can give us a pure heart, if not God? And how can we have access to God if not through Jesus? And, therefore, “blessed are the pure in heart” can only be truly exercised if we know the Lord, if we have the Holy Spirit, and if our heart of stone is turned into a heart of flesh.”
It has been said: “The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart.” While the original source of this truism is unknown, it is rooted in Biblical truth.
Matthew 15:19-20 KJV – “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.”
Jesus had just rebuked the Scribes and Pharisees for elevating their traditions to equal status with the commandments of God. He did this in response to their question as to why His disciples did not wash their hands in the manner prescribed by their man-made rules.
Jesus response was, in essence, the truism we quoted; it’s not failing to wash your hands properly or refraining from certain foods that defile a man, but rather the heart of man itself from which evil thoughts and their companions proceed.
The word “heart” in Matthew 15 is the Greek term kardia, obviously the root for the English word “cardio”. While the word certainly applies to the cardiovascular system of the human body, it is not limited to this. It also refers to the soul or mind, the seat of passion and desire.
Jeremiah 17:9-10 KJV – “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”
If the Lord tests the hearts of us all and our heart condition is found to be desperately wicked, how then do we arrive at the place where we can experience the blessings of being “pure in heart” that Jesus spoke of in the Beatitudes of Matthew 5?
The answer is, obviously, we need a new heart and, thus, a figurative heart transplant. The organ that pumps blood to the body is not evil in and of itself. It is the figurative meaning which applies wickedness to the heart. Thus, our need for a heart transplant, or a new heart, is also figurative in nature.
Psalm 37:3-5 KJV – “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”
Having established that the seat of our passions and desires is the heart, we can see that trusting in the Lord and doing good while feeding on His faithfulness is the path to the heart transplant we all need. In New Testament Christian terms we could say, if we are born again and repent of our sin and the Lord has become our delight, then we will have a new seat, or source, of desires and, thus, a new heart.
David, who authored many of the Psalms, including Psalm 37, knew this to be true. After he had sinned with Bathsheba and was confronted by Nathan the prophet about his lack of repentance, David confessed he had sinned against God and prayed this:
Psalm 51:10 KJV – “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”
He did not pray, “Lord, tell me what to do to make my heart pleasing to you again.” He did not ask the Lord what acts of penance would restore his spiritual status as a man after God’s own heart. He did not ask for a list of good deeds that he could “check off” to make his heart right again. He asked God to do what only God can do – take a desperately wicked heart and make it clean and new.
We also need to draw our attention to the fact that David was dubbed as “the man after God’s own heart” long before he sexually sinned with Bathsheba. This reminds us that God is not only the “creator of clean hearts”, but He is also the restorer and repairer of erring hearts.
The only way for us to enjoy the blessings of a pure heart is to trust in the Lord for our eternal salvation. As a result He creates in us a pure heart filled with His desires, rather than what proceeds from our desperately wicked hearts whose dark capabilities not even we know the depths of.
If we have done that and also done what David did – sinned against God and not repented – the same source is required for restoring and renewing our erring heart.
1 John 1:9 KJV – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
This is not saying that we have to verbally confess to God every sin we have ever committed or will commit in order to be forgiven. That would mean that if you forgot something you once did wrong and didn’t confess it, it would remain unforgiven. The word “confess” means “to see as the same”. In other words, when we fail or fall as a forgiven child of God, we don’t justify our sin. We don’t modify sin’s definitions. We simply say, “God is always right and I did wrong and the blessings of a pure heart will be restored.”
That does not mean there will not be any pain or regret or even consequences at times for our sin. However, it does mean the most important relationship in our life is restored to what it should be, and, thus, we can experience the joy of our salvation again.
If you have yet to have a clean heart created in you, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. If you have fallen prey to the desires of your old heart and its passions, see your sin for what it is, turn from it, and ask the Lord to restore the joy of your salvation. This is what David did, and God said, “Ok, let’s enjoy our fellowship once again.” He’ll do the same for you!
Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus