For They Shall See God
Robert Wurtz II
Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8)
Our passage on the surface seems to put the future prospect of seeing God completely out of reach for all of us. For if our hearts must be pure in order to see God, who will ever see Him? Reading this passage as a child “purity of heart” seemed to be such a lofty and unattainable thing. Long before the years would come when greater sins and temptations would surface, even a child realizes that their heart is contaminated with thoughts that do not please God. Blessed are the pure in heart? It would seem easier to travel on foot to the moon than to attain to such a place.
Would You Be Free?
An old hymn asks, “Would you be free from the burden of sin?” This is the great question. Until we are prepared to say “yes” to this question, we will writhe under the bitterness of our sins. When the issues are brought out, we will react defensively. We will seek to hide ourselves from any light that reflects upon our burden, because we have no answer in ourselves. We have done our best; are doing our best; and our best is apparently not good enough. We know we are falling short and we are not happy being reminded of it. We don’t want any help. We want to be left alone to deal with it ourselves. What hope can their be when we are in such a condition? God has to bring us to a place where we want, more than anything else, to be free from our burden.
The Cleansing Power of the Blood
The New Covenant affords us a new heart, but there are times when our hearts need to be cleansed. The writer to the Hebrews offers us tremendous insight into how our hearts can be purified and the burden lifted. We read, How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14) Only the blood of Jesus Christ, applied by faith through the Eternal Spirit, can answer our sins. Only the blood applied will cause our conscience to lie down so we can get back to business serving God with a pure heart. John agrees, My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2) Jesus Christ was the price paid to remove the sense of offense that existed between us and God. Without propitiation; without the blood of Jesus Christ poured out in death; there would be no means of ever looking God as it were “in the face” again. We could not come boldly into His presence and eye to eye. Without the blood all we know to do is to flee from God’s presence.
No Conscious Sin
God’s will is that we repent of all known sin and that we walk before him with a clear conscience: that is to say, with no conscious sin. We are to walk before the Lord without any unrepented sin. If we are continuing in a behavior we are not repentant, nor is our conscience clear. Our conscience is designed to alert us when we are doing something against what we know is right. If we are entertaining the possibility of sinning or looking for opportunity to sin, we are unrepentant. The Lord came to save us from our sins not in our sins. We all must come to God as sinners, but we cannot remain sinners. If He is truly our Savior He will save us from our sins. The Holy Spirit will make war with anything in our heart that does not please God. Paul said it this way, This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men. (Acts 24:16 NKJV) and Peter said it similarly, There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:21 NKJV) When we are in Christ we are to walk before the Lord with the answer of a good conscience. If we refuse this path then we risk what the Psalmist reveals, If we regard iniquity in our heart the Lord will not hear us. (Psalm 66:18) Godly sorrow, that is, a sorrow that is “God-wards” comes as a result of our response to God dealing with us. When we know that our sin is against God and in His sight then we will sorrow from a right perspective. Once by God’s grace we truly acknowledge, renounce and forsake our sin, we are enabled by the Spirit to maintain that attitude towards it so as not to turn back to it.
Knowing the Balance
Once we reach the place where we are unwilling to allow God to lift our burden and cleanse our heart, we are in a bad place. Sin can have such a hold on a person that they hold to it as if it were a lover and will resent a call to repent as sure as a person counseled to abandon a dangerous relationship. This is what God told Israel, Wherefore I have delivered her into the hand of her lovers, into the hand of the Assyrians, upon whom she doted. (Ezekiel 23:9) God had reached out over and over and in many splendorous ways. But the occasional sin had grown to be a lover. Sin can become a “personal sin” if we are not careful. No one can speak to us about it and we have no intention of giving it up. We have to be careful. Many people have abandoned their relationship with God and trod over the blood of Christ out of a refusal to allow God to “free them from their burden of sin.” Once a sin replaces God in the life – God and his presence become expendable desires.
The Blessing of a Pure Heart
There is a confidence that comes with knowing our hearts are pure before God. What a blessed (happy!) place to be. Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. (Psalms 24:3,4) What a wonderful thing to know the presence of the Lord! But it was from here that Satan was lifted up with pride and was cast down. In our happiness and zeal we must also guard ourselves lest in our excitement and zeal we forget that we were once purged from our old sins. It was His shed blood, not our works that afford us this blessedness. God was patient with us and we must be patient as well. This does not mean that God excuses sin, He does not; nor does it mean that we leave the impression that it is OK to “sin that grace may abound.” Our confidence is in God and our right relationship with Him, not in the fact that we have victory over sin in our lives. Our confidence is in the fact that our names are written in heaven. God resists the proud – He gives grace to the humble. If we can walk in humility in the times of victory, we will have victory.