Friday, August 18, 2006

The Pure In Heart

The Pure In Heart

Matthew 5:8- Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

As we find ourselves in the days of apostasy, the falling away spoken of by Paul in 2Thessalonians-2:3, this falling away from truth has taken on many forms.

While most bible believing Christians are made aware of the compromising doctrines and false teachings which have infiltrated the body, there is another side to this 'great falling away' which in most part, is being unnoticed.

This is a return to legalism, and salvation by works: an 'adding on' to the Gospel message.

And while false teachings, and false doctrine is indeed a very important issue, needing to be pointed out at all times, the other side of this 'apostasy coin' is just as important. For it too is a part of the great falling away from the truth of the Simplicity found in Christ alone and the Gospel message. For in its deception it seeks to add to the work of the Cross, and by doing this, denies the completeness of this work along with a denial of the keeping power of the Holy Spirit, and limits the work of the blood of Christ.

In many ways it is understandable that Christians, out of a sense of fear concerning the watered down Gospel message, and the perverting of the teachings of Christ which are abounding, have fallen into this trap: but nevertheless, it is indeed a trap. 

We stand by the word's of our Lord, for truly only the pure in heart shall see God: and while it be true, that all men's righteousness is as filthy rags we have the promise of salvation and eternal life by our faith in the once shed atoning blood of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins.

Jesus + "anything else" does not equal true salvation

*Quotes from the pulpit of Jonathan Edwards on the Pure Heart

GOD formerly delivered his law from mount Sinai by an audible voice, with the sound of a trumpet, with the appearance of devouring fire, with thunders, and lightnings, and earthquakes. But the principal discoveries of God’s Word and will to mankind were reserved to be given by Jesus Christ, his own Son, and the Redeemer of men, who is the light of the world.

Here is God speaking, as well as from mount Sinai, and as immediately, but after a very different manner. There God spake by a preternatural formation of sounds in the air. Here he becomes incarnate, takes on him our nature, and speaks, and converses with us, not in a preternatural, awful, and terrible manner, but familiarly as one of us. His face was beheld freely by all that were about him. His voice was human, without those terrors which made the children of Israel desire that God might speak to them immediately no more. And the revelation which he makes of God’s Word is more clear and perfect, and fuller of the discoveries of spiritual duties, of the spiritual nature of the command of God, of our spiritual and true happiness, and of mercy and grace to mankind.

John 1:17, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”

This discourse of Christ on the mount seems principally leveled against the false notions, and carnal prejudices, that were at that day embraced by the nation of the Jews. And those benedictions, which we have in the beginning of his sermon, were sayings that were mere paradoxes to them, wholly contrary to the notions which they had received.

That he, who was poor in spirit, was blessed, was a doctrine contrary to the received opinion of the world, and especially of that nation, who were exceedingly ambitious of the praise of men, and highly conceited of their own righteousness.

And that he was a blessed and happy man, who mourned for sin, and lived mortified to the pleasures and vanities of the world, was contrary to their notions, who placed their highest happiness in worldly and carnal things.

So also that they who were meek were blessed, was another doctrine very contrary to their notions.

Equally strange to them was the declaration that they who hungered and thirsted after righteousness were happy. For they placed their happiness, not in possessing a high degree of righteousness, but in having a great share of worldly good. They were wont to labor for the meat that perisheth. They had no notion of any such thing as spiritual riches, or of happiness in satisfying a spiritual appetite.

The Jews were dreadfully in the dark at that day about spiritual things. The happiness which they expected by the Messiah was a temporal and carnal, and not a spiritual, happiness.

Christ also tells them that they were blessed who were merciful and who were peacemakers, which was also a doctrine that the Jewish religious leaders especially stood in need of at that day, for they were generally of a cruel, unmerciful, persecuting spirit.

The truth which Christ teaches them in the text, that they were blessed who were pure in heart, was a thing wholly beyond their conceptions.

The Jews at this time placed almost the whole of religion in external things, in a conformity to the rites and ceremonies of the law of Moses. They laid great stress on tithing mint, and anise, and cumin, and on their traditions, as in washing hands before meat and the like. But they neglected the weightier matters of the law, and especially such as respected holiness of heart.

They took much more care to have clean hands, and a clean outside, than a clean heart, as Christ tells them, Mat. 23:25, 27;

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within ye are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.”

 What is meant by seeing God.

It is not any sight with the bodily eyes. The blessedness of the soul does not enter in at that door. This would make the blessedness of the soul dependent on the body, or the happiness of man’s superior part dependent on the inferior.

God is a spirit, and is not to be seen with the bodily eyes. We find it attributed to God that he is invisible.

Heb. 11:27, “As seeing him, who is invisible.” Col. 1:15, “Who is the image of the invisible God.”

It is mentioned as a part of God’s glory. 1 Tim. 1:17, “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

That it is not any sight with the bodily eyes is evident because the unembodied souls of the saints see God, and the angels also, who are spirits and were never united to bodies.

Mat. 18:10, “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones: for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.”

Thus it was when the three disciples beheld Christ at his transfiguration upon the mount.

They beheld a wonderful outward glory in Christ’s body, an inexpressible beauty in his countenance. But that outward glory and beauty delighted them principally as an expression of the divine excellencies of his mind, as we may see from their manner of speaking of it. It was the sweet mixture of majesty and grace in his countenance, by which they were ravished. 2 Pet. 1:16, 17, 18,

“We were eye-witnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.”

But especially from the account which John gives of it. John 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth;”

But to see God is this. It is to have an immediate, sensible, and certain understanding of God’s glorious excellency and love.

There is a certain understanding of his love, there is a certain apprehension of his presence. He that beholds God, does not merely see him as present by his essence, for so he is present with all, both godly and ungodly. But he is more especially present with those whom he loves, he is graciously present with them. And when they see him, they see him and know him to be so. They have an understanding of his love to them. They see him from love manifesting himself to them. He that has a blessed-making sight of God, not only has a view of God’s glory and excellency, but he views it as having a property in it. He sees God’s love to him. He receives the testimonies and manifestations of that love.

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