Blessed Are the Pure in Heart
God calls each one of us up to his presence. How do we respond to his call? How do we respond to his love? He is our creator. Without his breath we would not be living. How do we approach such an awesome God? The Prophet Micah wrote:
“With what shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before God on high? (Micah 6:6)
The psalmist wrote:
Lord, who may dwell in your tabernacle?
who may abide upon your holy hill?
Whoever leads a blameless life and does what is right,
who speaks the truth from his heart.
There is no guile upon his tongue;
he does no evil to his friend;
he does not heap contempt upon his neighbor.
In his sight the wicked is rejected,
but he honors those who fear the Lord.
He has sworn to do no wrong
and does not take back his word. (Psalm 15:1-5)
God has called us, but he has certain requirements for us to enter into his presence and remain. They should not be difficult to understand.
The Prophet Micah continues:
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)
Although these requirements are simple, we may find that they are actually difficult to do. When that proves to be true, the temptations are to modify them so that they are more easily followed. Our system of ethics can turn into situational ethics. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spells out the requirements of approaching God. He does not modify or lesson the righteous requirements of God in any way. He proclaims:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. (Matthew 5:3-8)
If we are to approach God then we need to be pure in heart. This echos today’s appointed psalm 15. What does it take to be pure in heart? How do we do it?
The Apostle Paul wrote the Church at Corinth:
Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)
In truth, we are not capable of being pure of heart on our own. The people of the Church of Corinth had a calling from God. None of them had what is takes. God chose them anyway, just as he has chosen us. What we can say is that none of us can boast in the presence of God. Humility before God, then, must be the key, remembering that Jesus is our source of perfection. Our heart has been made pure by his pure heart. He has sacrificed himself on a cruel cross and cleansed us from our sin so that we may boast in him.
Again, the Micah wrote: “Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.” Justice and kindness comes from walking humbly with our God. Jesus is the source of your life, who became for us “wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” Thanks be to God. Amen.