Matt.5:8: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
Here is the beatitude which demands that everyone who reads it should stop, and think, and examine himself.
The Greek word for pure is "katharos"), and it has a variety of usages, all of which have something to add to the meaning
of this beatitude for the Christian life.
Originally it simply meant clean, and could, for instance, be used or soiled clothes which have been washed clean.
It was also used for corn which has been winnowed or sifted and cleansed of all chaff.
In the same way it is used of an army which has been purged of all discontented, cowardly,
unwilling and inefficient soldiers, and which is a force composed solely of first-class fighting men.
It commonly appears in company with another Greek adjective -- "akiratos".
Akiratos can be used of milk or wine which is unadulterated with water, or of metal which has in it no tinge of alloy.
So, then, the basic meaning of katharos is unmixed, unadulterated, unalloyed.
That is why this beatitude is so demanding a beatitude.
It could be translated: "Blessed is the man whose motives are always entirely unmixed, for that man shall see God."
It is very seldom indeed that we do even our finest actions from absolutely unmixed motives.
If we give generously and liberally to some good cause, it may well be that there lingers in the depths
of our hearts some contentment in basking in the sunshine of our own self-approval,
some pleasure in the praise and thanks and credit which we will receive.
If we do some fine thing, which demands some sacrifice from us, it may well be that we are not altogether free
from the feeling that men will see something heroic in us and that we may regard ourselves as martyrs.
Even a preacher at his most sincere is not altogether free from the danger of self-satisfaction in having preached a good sermon.
After preaching a sermon, John Bunyan was once told by someone that he had preached well that day.
Bunyan answered sadly, "The devil already told me that as I was coming down the pulpit steps"?
This beatitude demands from us the most exacting self-examination.
Is our work done from motives of service or from motives of pay?
Is our service given from selfless motives or from motives of self-display?
Is the work we do in Church done for Christ or for our own prestige!?
Is our church-going an attempt to meet God or a fulfilling of an habitual and conventional respectability?
Are even our prayer and our Bible reading engaged upon with the sincere desire to company with God
or because it gives us a pleasant feeling of superiority to do these things?
Is our religion a thing in which we are conscious of nothing so much as the need of God within our hearts,
or a thing in which we have comfortable thoughts of our own piety?
To examine one's own motives is a daunting and a shaming thing, for there are few things in this world
that even the best of us do with completely unmixed motives.
Jesus went on to say that only the pure in heart will see God.
It is one of the simple facts of life that we see only what we are able to see;
and that is true not only in the physical sense, it is also true in every other possible sense.
If the ordinary person goes out on a night of stars, he sees only a host of pinpoints of light in the sky;
he sees what he is fit to see.
But in that same sky the astronomer will call the stars and the planets by their names, and will move amongst them
as his friends; and from that same sky the navigator could find the means to bring his ship across the trackless seas
to the desired haven.
The ordinary person can walk along a country road, and see by the hedgerows nothing but a tangle of weeds
and wild flowers and wild grass.
The trained botanist would see this and that, and call it by name and know its use;
and he might even see something of infinite value and rarity because he had eyes to see.
Put two men into a room filled with ancient pictures.
A man with no knowledge and no skill could not tell an old master from a worthless daub of art,
whereas a trained art critic might well discern a picture worth thousands of dollars in a collection
which someone else might dismiss as junk.
There are people with filthy minds who can see in any situation material for a dirty laugh and a soiled joke.
In every sphere of life, we see what we are able to see.
So, says Jesus, it is only the pure in heart who shall see God.
It is a warning thing to remember that, as by God's grace we keep our hearts clean,
or as by human lust we soil them, we are either fitting or unfitting ourselves some day to see God.
In Scripture one of the clearest symbols of the believers is the vessel or cup.
A Christian is a cup filled to overflowing with the water of life.
A Christian is an "earthen" vessel — dirt — but the water purifies and sanctifies the vessel as long as
it is being poured in.
When the water's flow is stopped the cup becomes stale and stagnant.
The two chief marks of the cup are that it has the capacity to contain and is open at the top.
Capacity is what we bring to God — and it is all we bring.
Openness is what makes purity possible, as the riches of glory are poured into the vessels of mercy.
As long as the divine life is being poured into our hearts we can see see ourselves as God sees us.
If only we can bring ourselves to face our impurity, there is hope for us.
All we need to do is to turn our hearts over to Him. "Purge me . . . and I shall be clean: wash me,
and I shall be whiter than snow" (Psalm 51:7).
We need major cardiac surgery of the kind that the Lord prescribed for Israel:
"A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart
out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh." (Ezekiel 36:26)
The old heart must go, for it was impure.
With a new heart, we shall be able to see our Lord!
So, then, this sixth beatitude might read:
"O the bliss of the man whose motives are absolutely pure, for that man will some day be able to see God!"
This Concludes the Sixth Beatitude.