What does it mean that the pure in heart will see God?

Jesus taught in Matthew 5:8, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." What does it mean to be pure in heart?

To be pure means to be clean or cleansed. When a person lives with the guilt of sin, it is difficult to walk closely with God. Instead, the Bible teaches, "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you" (James 4:8). In addition, we must come to God by faith in order to draw near to Him, "And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him" (Hebrews 11:6).

How do we become pure in heart? To draw near to the Lord, we are called to confess our sins. First John 1:9 teaches, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Further, the Psalmist offers a powerful example of one who would seek to be pure in heart. In turning from sin, he wrote, "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (Psalm 51:10 NIV). Philippians 4:8 also encourages living and thinking about things that are pure: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."

Matthew 5:8 teaches that if we are pure in heart, cleansed and forgiven from sin and drawing near to Him, we "shall see God." What does it mean to see God?

It is clear from other places in the Bible that it does not mean we will physically see God face to face. The Lord told Moses, "man shall not see me and live" (Exodus 33:20). John 1:18 adds, "No one has ever seen God." Instead, we will be able to "see" in the sense of understanding God better. The principles of the Beatitudes in Matthew 5 each has to do with being closer to God or satisfied in God. When we are pure in heart, we will be closer to God than if we live impure lives.

Jesus also notes that those who are pure in heart are "blessed." This Greek word can be translated "happy" and simply refers to a positive or joyful state of being. Psalm 73:1 adds, "Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart."

We will certainly experience a greater joy in our lives when we have confessed our sins, draw near to God, and seek to live His way rather than ours. We will "see God" in the sense that we can more clearly understand His plans for our lives and walk in a way that pleases Him and helps others.

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