What does “Pure in Heart” mean?

When Jesus was teaching his disciples, in what is known as The Sermon on the Mount, he said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8) At the time he was contrasting those who were authentically righteous with those who were faking it.

The religious leaders of the day looked as if they were the epitome of righteousness. They wore the right clothes, said the right things and performed the right rituals. But Jesus could see beneath their outward appearance. He saw their hearts and observed that these religious men lacked purity of heart. That’s why Jesus so often challenged these leaders and exposed their true motivations.

Jesus wanted people to know that true purity is attained when someone earnestly seeks God; when he “hungers and thirsts for righteousness.” That’s when God grants that purity. It will come partly in this life and fully when Jesus returns. The more someone recognizes that he or she is unworthy to come to God, the more receptive he or she becomes to God’s purifying work.

The promise that Jesus makes to his disciples is forward looking to the time when they will literally behold God in all his glory. This passage is not a figurative reference to special insight into the nature of God, but rather a clear teaching that one day Jesus’s true followers will experience something that no one on earth has ever done: look into the face of God and live.

I f you desire a pure heart and a closer walk with God, please check out our post, How does one become a Christian?