Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
At first glance, when I first read this beatitude years ago, I felt hopeless. ‘Pure in heart’. “Welp, that excludes me from the club…” It was devastating.
From the time I was little, I was terrified that others would find me out for the fraud I was and turn away. I knew, somehow, I wasn’t all there, wasn’t quite right and couldn’t live up to the expectations put on my life. I have family members with PhD.’s. I wasn’t that smart. I knew kids with such charisma that you couldn’t help but smile when you were around him. I was shy. No matter how hard I trained, I was always a little heavier…
However, even those cases are just surface level. What about down to a ‘heart level’? If that was what was on the surface, how deep did the cracks go? I knew they went deep. So how could I ever have a pure heart? The task seemed like Mount Everest to me. I knew how deep my sin ran.
The problem was not an unhealthy understanding of sin, but a problematic picture of grace. I believed God could not fix me. Even if he could, God would not want to fix me. I was too problematic, too far gone, too broken to be loved. Essentially, I believed God could not do the impossible and raise a child of darkness to be a child of light, to be ‘pure of heart’.
The first time I truly understood grace was when I finally said, “I can’t do this” and my mentor replied, “You’re right. God will do it for you.” It was the first time I heard, God would leave His ‘ivory tower’, His throne and meet me down in the dirt and the grime. I finally put my hope and trust in a God who was powerful enough and cared enough to change me. Ezekiel 36:26 says, “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” God was willing to give me a new ‘pure’ heart. This is the picture the bible gives us, that we who had broken hearts are given a new one, a ‘pure’ one by Jesus. This came to be because of Jesus’ work on the cross, taking our place and exchanging our brokenness (which he takes) and giving us His righteousness.
If you’re a follower of Jesus, I pray that you would take heart that you’ve been given a new heart to replace your broken heart and trust that because of the work of Jesus, you are now children of the Most High God. Because of this truth, one day you will see God face to face. It is the greatest hope we have that because of the work of Jesus, we have been united with God and brought into His heavenly family. Praise be to the one who loves us so!
Parkland Community Church:
We Exist to Develop People Who Love Jesus and Serve Others.
William ConLead Pastor
William has been the Lead Pastor of
Parkland Community Church since Nov. 2018