Thursday, March 1, 2012

“Blessed are the Poor in Heart”

The sixth beatitude reads: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matt. 5:8; NKJV). In Psalm 24 the question is asked, "Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place?" (v. 3). The answer given is, "He who has clean hands and a pure heart . . ." (v. 4). A "pure heart" involves complete sincerity and absolute devotion to God. Nothing else intrudes or intervenes. Our motives are sincere, pure and clean.

    Here we can see the difference between true and false religion. Perhaps most people have a religion that consists of a variety of external observances. They attend religious services, participate in rituals, and try to conform to an external code of conduct. But this kind of religion is sociologically driven. It is governed by our desire to appear respectable in the eyes of our peers. And very often it does not reflect the true condition of our hearts, but rather disguises it. Inwardly we are apt to be apathetic or perhaps motivated by overweening pride. Or we might be driven by a sense of guilt, social pressure, or mere force of habit. But there is little genuine piety or devotion to God.

    In true religion, however, there is a consciousness of a relationship with God Himself. And because God looks on the heart, and not on the outward appearance, our motives count for everything. Hypocrisy is the worst of all sins. Thus the true believer is acutely aware of the need to please God in all that he does. He will make a conscious effort to conform his life to the ethical standards of the Bible, and will resist the temptation to cut corners for the sake of convenience or popularity. His is a conscientious faith. Nothing else matters in the sight of God.

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