“Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.” Impurity in thought or practice obscures spiritual vision, so that the soul can not contemplate and be charmed with the character of God. The world is full of disobedience, and the understanding of men has become so darkened by a sinful course of action that righteousness is not clearly discerned, and is not therefore appreciated above unrighteousness. The pure in heart shall see God, whose character is represented in the law. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. . . . 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.”
He who has an eye single to heavenly and divine things, will delight in beholding God in Christ Jesus, and by beholding he will become changed into his image. “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the ingrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass; for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” He is seeking to be like the Pattern. When in perplexity he inquires, “How would Jesus do under similar circumstances? It is important that I follow Christ, that I conform my conduct to the model of his example. Without holiness no man shall see God. I must obey the commandments of God; for his law is a transcript of his character.”
The pure in heart shall see God. While all men shall behold Christ as a judge, the pure in heart shall behold him as a friend; for Jesus has said, “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” The pure in heart shall see Christ as a friend and elder brother. Those who are constantly looking unto Christ for his counsel, who pray in sincerity for his Holy Spirit, will be grieved if a cloud hides him from their sight. Satan will pass his hellish shadow across their pathway in order that the human agent shall not discern God, but may behold him who obtrudes himself between the soul and God, suggesting, as he did to Adam, his lying sophistry to lead men into transgression. He frames lies to substitute for a “Thus saith the Lord.”
The Christian world in this age are inclined to accept the sophistries of Satan in the place of the words of God. Many have separated themselves from God by wicked works, and they love not to behold God, or to retain him in their knowledge. They do not want to see God any more than did Adam when he hid himself from the approach of his heavenly Father. But let us not follow the example of Adam; for not one of the human family can hide himself from God. You may turn your face from God so that you can not see him, but you can not place yourself where God will not see you; for the darkness is as the light to him, and he knoweth every secret thing.
Pure through Christ
“And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.” What kind of fear? Not servile fear. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Every human being should fear to offend God, should fear to lose his favor by engaging in anything of an impure character. “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot; who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.”
We are to look unto Jesus as our only hope for the taking away of our sins; for in him is no sin. He became sin for us, that he might bear our guilt, standing before the Father as guilty in our place, while we who believe in him as a personal Saviour shall, because of his merits, be accounted as pure from the contaminating influence of sin. Through the imputed righteousness of Christ, we are accounted guiltless. Christ has given to every human being the evidence that he alone is able to bear human grief, sorrow, and sin. Those who claim Christ as their substitute and surety, hanging their helpless souls upon Christ, can endure as seeing him who is invisible. The benediction, “Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God,” belongs to them.
When you are betrayed into sin, do not despair. Do not delay and mourn in hopeless unbelief, but take your case at once to Jesus. “We have not an high priest which can not be touched with the feeling of our infirmities,” but in order that he might be a perfect Saviour for humanity, he was “tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin.” He understands every device that the enemy prepares for the unwary. He was touched with the feeling of our infirmities; he himself suffered being tempted. Though he was without sin, and was not tainted with guile, yet by a painful experience he understands what it means to come into conflict with the arch-deceiver. He suffered, resisting his temptations, and he knows what man will meet in resisting evil. He gives encouragement to the souls who trust in him as their Saviour, promising that they shall not be tempted above that which they are able to bear. “With every temptation,” he says, “I, your Lord and Saviour, have made for you a way of escape.”
Christ passed over the ground where Adam failed, and redeemed his disgraceful failure. He was made perfect through suffering, and is able to succor all who shall be tempted, and to make a way of escape, that they may be able to endure temptation. Though he was a son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered. He knows how to sympathize with every human being; for he has identified his interest with the interests of those he came to save. What a wonderful high priest is Jesus! We may lay our very soul burden upon him. We may lay our hand of faith upon the promise of God, that he will pardon the guilty, and impute to us the purity of Christ. Through the faith that works by love the soul is purified, and the human agent can discern God; for he is a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. The one great need of the sinner is righteousness, and the word of God is called “the ministration of righteousness;” for it presents a sinless Saviour to the defiled soul, One who was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. The righteousness of Christ is a free gift; we can obtain it without money and without price. Christ himself has become the sin bearer. In his own person he answered all the claims of the law, and through the offering of himself, he made it possible for the human agent to keep the law of God, and to stand before God as innocent, accepted in the Beloved.
Power from Christ
Though men have fallen through transgression, they may receive moral power from Christ, and return to their allegiance. They may receive the Holy Spirit as the representative of the Lord. If they believe the testimony of the Spirit, obey the requirements of the Gospel, following on in the ways of purity and holiness, they shall know that “his goings forth are prepared as the morning.” The Holy Spirit leads men to Christ, links the soul to the Saviour, and causes the human agent to identify himself with Christ.
Christ alone can save from sin; for he can make over to us his righteousness, and place it to our account. God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son for us, that by this infinite sacrifice he might not only show the terrible character of sin, but condemn sin in the flesh. Men can not continue in sin and stand faultless before God; for God will not tolerate sin. The human agent must separate himself from sin, crying out with earnest soul hunger, “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” The Lord will answer such a cry, saying, “A new heart also will I give thee.”
If men in responsible positions of trust, no matter in what line they may work, would cultivate that faith which works by love, and purifies the soul, they would experience the creating power of the Holy Spirit. What a change would be made in families! What a wonderful change would be made in our churches! It is because there is so great a lack of the purity and righteousness of Christ that there are unhappy families and polluted churches that stand in need of cleansing. Unless this cleansing shall take place, the building can not be fitly framed together, can not grow into an holy temple unto the Lord. Many hold the truth in unrighteousness; they have a theory of the truth, but are not sanctified, soul and body, through the truth. Being destitute of heart purity, they do not discern sin in its true character, and have not correct views of righteousness and of judgment to come. Controlled by the spirit of the world, their hearts are impure, earthly, sensual, and they can not commune with the only true God, can not know God, nor Jesus Christ, whom he has sent.
There is hope for a man who is hungering and thirsting after righteousness, who is longing for heart purity, who is desirous of having fellowship with the Spirit of God. Such a man prays, and watches unto prayer. He seeks for strength to keep the heart with all diligence knowing that out of it are the issues of life. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.” Fellowship with God means much, and those who have this fellowship with God, hear the voice of invitation saying “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” The more lowly the soul in its own estimation, the more distinctly and clearly will God be discerned. He who is in communion with God will recognize the divine excellence of heavenly things, and respond to the invitation, “Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart.” The word of God comes in power to the soul, impressing the mind with the exceeding great and precious promises. Those who learn of Christ, look earnestly unto him that they may catch his Spirit, and perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord. Their feelings become pure, their words pure and tender, and the earnest of the inheritance leads them to walk in love, drawing near to God, to listen to the voice of the true Shepherd.
The Pure in Heart Shall See God
He who has taken no pleasure in contemplating God in this world, who has felt it no privilege to commune with God, will not be prepared to see God or to appreciate his character in the future life. Those who are occupied with earthly things, enjoy a low, cheap level, and their souls could not bear the purity of the saints in light. The conversation of heaven would be a language which they could not understand, and they could not endure the purity of infinite holiness. Heaven would not be a place of perfect bless to them; for the faculties of the mind would not be capable of dwelling upon heavenly things.
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God; therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” If we were breathing in the atmosphere of the world, we should not be regarded by the world as strangers, but if our affections are set on things above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God, we will be misunderstood by the world. But we shall see God, because our eye is single to his glory. Our whole body will be full of light; for we are dead indeed unto sin, and alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Purified by the faith that works by love, we shall see and appreciate the preciousness of Christ. “Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.”
— E.G. White, Signs of the Times, 10/3/1895