Certainly that must be one of the greatest statements in all the Bible. Jesus focuses attention on the center of true religion. Outside appearances, looking and acting religious do not make us acceptable to God – rather it is the condition of the heart.
The heart has always been the source of all our troubles. “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, envy, blasphemy, pride, foolishness; all these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7.21-23). Some people have the notion the world is to blame. Change the world, improve the environment, and all our troubles will disappear. But that’s just not so! Where was man when the trouble started? He was in Eden, Paradise – no environmental problems there! His troubles started from within himself, not without. That’s why purity of heart is so vital. Neither education, health, power, wealth, nor fame make us good people – purity of heart does.
“Happy are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” We should view that statement as a challenge: “How badly do we want to see God?” Are we willing to open our innermost thoughts, our cleverly concealed desires, our secret ambitions, for God’s inspection? Oh, how happy are those who live without shame before the all-seeing eye of God!
Who is willing to pay the price to enter heaven? Jesus is keenly interested in the quality of our innermost being – purity of mind so clean that lust cannot live; honesty so well-known and respected that oaths are unnecessary; love, care, and concern so genuine that hate, anger, prejudice, and retaliation are never reasons for action; trust in God’s provisions so complete that worry, greed, and material indulgence do not distract. Of such are “the pure in heart.”
“Happy are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”