The Sermon on the Mount’s beatitudes do far more than portray the essential characteristics of a righteous person. The promises they contain are most extraordinary—“theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (vv. 3, 10); “they shall be comforted” (v. 4); “they shall inherit the earth” (v. 5); “they shall be filled” (v. 6); “they shall obtain mercy” (v. 7); “they shall be called the children of God” (v. 9).
No promise is more jaw dropping than the one in verse eight—“they shall see God.” In this life, no one can see God and live (Exodus 33:20). But, the pure in heart will see God (Matthew 5:8). The word translated “see” is also used in 1st Corinthians 15:5-8 of those eyewitnesses of Jesus’ resurrection. It communicates the idea of looking at someone or something with wide-open eyes, of looking at something most remarkable. What a most remarkable promise is given to the pure in heart.
To be pure in heart, two things are essential:
- An undivided loyalty. Those who will see God have only one location for their treasure (Matthew 6:19-21); they are single-minded (Matthew 6:22-23); they love and serve only one Master (Matthew 6:24).
- An undefiled heart. Those who will see God resist temptation vigorously (Matthew 5:29-30), cleanse their hearts thoroughly (Acts 8:22), guard their hearts diligently (Proverbs 4:22), and obey the truth continuously (Psalm 119:9-11).
A righteous person is pure in heart.
What a blessing to be free from the filth (James 1:21), blemish (Deuteronomy 32:5), and vomit of sin (2 Peter 2:22) in this life and see God’s face in the life to come (Revelation 22:4).