My three-year-old daughter is a sweet kid. She has always been playful yet reserved, sensitive yet affectionate. But since she’s now three, she’s getting smarter and she’s learning to manipulate. I’ve heard the same joke a million times, and now I understand it: “If you don’t believe we’re born sinful, just have a kid.” Indeed!
Though my daughter is a joy and I love to believe that she is totally innocent, she is also a daughter of Adam. She sometimes battles me when I discipline her. She often talks back when she’s cranky. She can be selfish with other kids. If anyone should be considered “pure in heart,” it’s her, but like I said, she’s Adam’s daughter. And you and I are his sons. As Paul tells us, “just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).
Sin is inevitable. We aren’t pure in heart, even in our best moments.
Yet, Jesus tells us here in Matthew 5:8 that the pure in heart are blessed. Because we are born into sin and sin every day, does that mean we are destined to the non-blessing of condemnation? Are we hopeless?
It seems Jesus is giving us an impossible standard here, and in a sense, He is. When He says, “Blessed are the pure in heart,” it should immediately hit us that we aren’t pure. If we’re not pure, we have to look to someone who is.
Throughout the Beatitudes, Jesus lifts up various virtues. Like the Ten Commandments way back in Exodus, each beatitude stings a little because it reveals our absolute need for God. Though we may portray to others a sense of purity, our inner thoughts and private actions condemn us. No one can live up to the Ten Commandments; no one can live up to the Beatitudes.
No one except Jesus.
Jesus was pure in heart: He never sinned, and He loved (and still loves) perfectly. As the “image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15), Jesus carried with Him perfection, and in that perfection, the purest heart to ever walk the face of the earth. The Son of God took on flesh, and He lived with a pure heart so that He could purify the hearts of His people.
This beatitude emphasizes consistency between who we are in private and who we are in public. The more single-hearted we are before God—privately and publicly—the deeper our delight and desire will be to see our Maker face to face. We love because He loved. We serve because He served. We are pure in God’s sight because He was pure.
May we look at the face of Jesus with gratitude, for through His pure heart we can pursue purity in our own hearts.
Written By Brandon D. Smith