In the society that we live in today, external beauty is all that really matters. How attractive a person is, what clothes they are wearing, what house they live in, and what cars they drive are all things that the world cares about and determines the value of a person. Jesus taught completely different from this way of thinking, not just from the world’s perspective, but from a religious perspective as well.
Around the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry, the Jewish religion had turned into a religion of outward rituals. It only mattered what you did, not what your heart was like. It only mattered how you were perceived by other people, not what your heart truly felt. Beginning in Mathew chapter 5, Jesus began the most amazing sermon ever spoken in the history of the world called the Sermon on the Mount. He started off by listing what is called the Beatitudes, talking about what the nature of life in the Kingdom of God is like. In verse 8, He says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Jesus is speaking to a crowd filled with Jews, His disciples, and even the religious leaders of the time. These statements were so radical because it went against what the religious teachers were falsely teaching at the time. He was calling out the manner of their living telling them that it is not through the actions that you perform that will bring you to God, but rather the condition of your heart. Does the question then become how are we to be “pure in heart” if our hearts are deceitful? Are we not all sinners who fall short of the glory of God daily?
The answer to both of those questions is yes. Our hearts are deceitful, and yes we are sinners who daily fall short of the glory of God. However, Jesus is not commanding us to be pure in heart on our own power. He is telling us that we need Him to make us pure in heart. The only way for us sinners to be cleansed from our sin and break the bondage that sin has in our lives is to submit to Jesus as the Lord and Savior over our lives. Trusting, and having faith in Jesus’ sacrifice for us, living the perfectly righteous life that we could never live, and dying the death we were supposed to die is the only way to be pure in heart. It is out of this love that one can live pure in heart and see God. Paul says it perfectly in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Christ gives us a new heart, and through His Spirit if we have surrendered our entire life to Him as Lord we can live with a pure heart by His power.