Matthew 5:8 says “Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.” It has often been used to make people mind their manners in church. Many people repeat it in other ways. “Be holy so you can see God” they say. “Let’s become holy so God will come to visit us” others say. It sounds wonderful but will have little effect on the heart. Attempts to become holy will always fail and make people feel like a failure. …Why? ..because no one is holy! (Romans 3:10, 23) Jeremiah reminds us that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
God can do a holy work in you, not because of how wonderfully pure and holy you are but because of His holy work in you! The apostle Paul never promoted himself as “holy” even though God used him mightily. Paul tells us that even when the church honored him, instead “they glorified God in me.” (Gal. 1:24) The holiness in us is not us, It is God in us!
Jesus has done His holy work on the cross; outside of us. The Holy Spirit has come to accomplish God’s holy work inside us and through us! Without Him, we can do nothing. (John 15:5)
We do not see God because of our holiness, but because of His!
The angelic beings described in Isaiah 6 saw God and cried out “holy, holy, holy!” They could see God and so could Isaiah. And what was his reaction? He realized he had “unclean lips.” I think maybe even his own unspoken thoughts made his lips feel unclean. This is not at all unusual. It always stands that the more mature a believer in Christ becomes, the more they are aware of their own sinfulness. Not their holiness. Their growth into purity is a submission to honesty and truth. As a result, a growing believer is humbled and increasingly reliant upon God’s reputation in place of their own.
Again, the more we know God, the more we are aware of our own sinfulness. God is holy and we are not. Yet in light of our shortcomings we find that “His mercies are new every morning.” Gratitude overflows at this work of His faithfulness. We become increasingly quick to ask for His forgiveness and do it more often. And the more He continues to forgive sin, the more freedom and liberty we find in life! It is easier to forgive ourselves and move forward in life because we see that God is always ready to forgive (no matter what others may think).
Believers must never take God’s mercies for granted. A believer in Christ should hate sin. God’s forgiveness does not give license to sin. On the contrary. Loving the Savior causes us to hate what He hates. To sin is an absolute offense to God. It was because of sin that Jesus died and so we honor God by living a life without sin.
When a person sins, a child of God never smiles. Friend or enemy, it does not matter. Sin is never a joking matter. A believer does not dance over a sinner. Instead, they reach out to show the way out of it. And all the while the believer in Christ says “I had better be on guard. …If it happens to them today, it could happen to me tomorrow!” There is no glory in sin. It causes us to be watchful of our own lives.
Thank God for the cross of Christ. Thank him for His holy work. Thank Him for the gift of the Holy Spirit to accomplish his holy will in us. Yes, what God wants to do through us is holy and holiness should be the desire of every child of God. No one who loves God should ever be comfortable or accepting of sin. But let us look at the cross instead of ourselves.
We end once again with this great verse. “Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8) The “pure” heart is the honest and truthful heart. It knows what it is not because He is Holy.
Jason is founder and evangelist for The Nations Hope and lead pastor of Life Tree Church in San Jose, California. He talks a lot.
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