Seeing God

Do not be deceived.

Matthew 5:8

“Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.”

In Biblical languages, “heart” refers to the seat of one’s personality. Love, hate, fear, etc. come from the heart.

Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life.
— Proverbs 4:23

But it’s more than just the source of your emotions; it’s the seat of your morality and ethics—even sin.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
— Psalm 51:10

The heart is deceitful above all things
    and beyond cure.
    Who can understand it?
— Jeremiah 17:9

So, what does Jesus mean by pure in heart?

Well, consider what an impure heart is. The Greek word translated as “pure” (katharoi) means pure, clean, undefiled. It’s related to the Greek roots of "catharsis." The impurities that need to be “purged” are things like deceitfulness.

But note well that when your heart is being deceitful above all things, it’s mainly deceiving you. The pure in heart are simply not deceived. Christian eyes see God in everything because God is in everything. It’s not so much that a pure heart enables us to see God; it’s that an impure heart prevents it.

It’s the deceitfulness of our hearts that keeps us from seeing Him.

You can’t purify your own heart; only the Holy Spirit can. Prayer is the key. Psalm 51:7–11 is perfect for this.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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