Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A PURE HEART WINS

Sermon on the Mount (pt. 8)

Growing up Catholic in the 1960’s, we were taught that no one outside the Catholic Church could be saved, or, in our terminology of the time, go to heaven.


We were also taught that our entrance into heaven was based on the quantity of our good works as measured against the quantity of our bad works (whatever they were).

Therefore, the question naturally arose as to the eternal outcome of those who were “good,” but not Catholic.

The answer has stayed with me ever since—
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matt. 5:8)

That promise of Jesus has guided my thinking over the years as I have contemplated various aspects of reality in this life when questioned by well-meaning seekers. Trying to reconcile some things that I see with a particular verse of scripture would often prove quite challenging.

This verse has been my go-to answer for the unknown ramifications dealing with those outside the pale of Christianity.

Please read the rest of this article before scrolling down to the comment section to tell me that Jesus is the ONLY way. That is simply a mindless, knee-jerk reaction of the bible-thumper who thinks they have it all figured out.

Of course Jesus is the only way. He is the way, the truth, and the life (Jn. 14:6)

How people discover that truth is the issue here.

Let’s look at how the word ‘pure’ is used in the Bible.

Outline of Biblical usage from the Blue Letter Bible:
1.   clean, pure
      a. physically
          i. purified by fire
          ii. in a similitude, like a vine cleansed by pruning and so fitted to bear fruit
       b. in a levitical sense
          i. clean, the use of which is not forbidden, imparts no uncleanness
       c. ethically
          i. free from corrupt desire, from sin and guilt
          ii. free from every admixture of what is false, sincere genuine
          iii. blameless, innocent
          iv. unstained with the guilt of anything

For our purposes here, then, we will be looking at the ‘ethical’ sense as given above.

The word is used 28 times in the NT and is translated “pure” 17x, “clean” 10x, and “clear” 1x.

Now, here’s the deal—you cannot know another’s heart.
Well, duh.

True. Then why do so many Christians want to lock someone out of the kingdom because they happen to be following the way of Buddha, or the way of Krishna, or the path of some other unknown god?

If you don’t (and you cannot) know their heart, then you have no idea where their path is taking them.

Sure. You can make an educated guess that if they follow that path for the rest of their natural life, they will not be born again.

But, it is still only a guess on your part, for you do not know all there is to know about their life.

Fact of the matter is, according to Jer. 17:9, you can’t even know your own heart; so, how can you claim to know another’s? (This thought will show up again when we get to Matt. 7:1)

Jesus’ promise here from the Sermon on the Mount declares that if their heart is pure, they will be brought to the truth and see God.

Simple.

You don’t need a theologian to explain the simplicity that is in this verse. Actually, you probably only need a theologian to confuse you about this verse, while watering down the truth of what Jesus said.

Therefore, when someone asks, “What about those innocent villagers who were killed by the bombs? They never had a chance to hear the gospel. What about them?”

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“What about my dad who never made an open profession of faith? What about him?”

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

There is more hope in that one verse alone, than there is in all the conjecturing and wrangling about the “process” of salvation.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

As I am writing this, tears are welling up in my eyes as I become aware of the magnitude of God’s love and understanding. It is so far beyond anything we can imagine.

Such a simple statement.

Such a simple promise.


Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they shall see God.

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