The Beatitudes
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Lesson Six • Now and Later
Dr. Randy T. Johnson

I was recently meeting with someone who was distressed. After some initial discussion, it was clear that for starters she needed the Lord. She had stated she believed in God and Heaven, so I asked, “What must I do to go to Heaven?” The response was fascinating, “You have to be a good person.” After a pause, “But nobody is good. The world is full of sin.” I asked, “Did you just defeat your own argument?” The answer was in agreement and I went on to share the work and offer of Jesus Christ. I then had the privilege of leading her in a prayer of salvation.

     1. What is the work of Jesus Christ?

     2. What is the offer of Jesus Christ?


In Matthew 5:8, Jesus says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Something that is amazing about the Beatitudes is that there is often a fulfillment of the blessing both now and later.

     3. Before we begin the study, what do you believe this verse means?


As we look through this verse, it is valuable to view it from two perspectives. First, all of Scripture should be viewed from the lenses of the Gospel. This verse can relate to our salvation. Once we give our lives to the Lord, we are cleansed and promised to see God in Heaven. Second, it can relate to our growth in the Lord once we are saved. This is also referred to as sanctification. This is the daily decision of growing in the Lord which allows others to see God through us, but also, helps us see God now and hear what He desires of us.

“Blessed are the pure in heart” - Salvation

One of my professors from Dallas Theological Seminary has written, “The pure in heart are those who are inwardly clean from sin through faith in God’s provision and a continual acknowledging of their sinful condition.” It must be realized that the only way to be “pure in heart” is through the work of Jesus on the cross.

The Bible is clear and consistent in both the Old and New Testaments that no one is or can become “pure in heart” on their own accord. In 1 Samuel 15:22, we read that we cannot buy God’s blessing, “And Samuel said, ‘Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.’”

     4. How would this have been a radical statement in Samuel’s time?


In Ephesians 2:8-9, Paul adds, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

5. Paul is redundant in this verse. How does he twice say that salvation is not based on our own works?


“What? Get to heaven on your own strength?
Why, you might as well try to
climb to the moon on a rope of sand!”
George Whitefield
(Evangelist from the 1700s)

Paul was redundant in saying we cannot obtain a pure heart on our own works, but he is also redundant on how we can be “pure in heart.” In Ephesians chapter 2, he mentioned it was “the gift of God;” however, in Romans 6:23, he is more redundant, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

     6. How is Paul redundant here? Why?


Other passages reiterate that becoming “pure in heart” is not through our works, but through the work of Jesus. Titus 3:4-5 says, “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 3:28 clearly states, “For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.”

“You can’t go back and change the beginning,
but you can start where you are
and change the ending.”
C.S. Lewis

“Blessed are the pure in heart” - Sanctification

In his commentary, R.V.G. Tasker writes, “Others take it to mean singlemindedness, a heart ‘free from the tyranny of a divided self.’” This is the concept of being free from deceit. The “pure in heart” are thus “the utterly sincere.” This idea acknowledges that we are saved by faith, yet focuses on a changed heart and life as a logical result of following Jesus.

We already saw that we are saved by faith and not our works in Ephesians 2:8-9. However, the next verse says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

     7. What were we created for? What does that mean?


     8. Why should a believer do good works?


King David was a man after God’s own heart, yet he sinned. After his multiple sins surrounding Bathsheba, he is broken and writes Psalm chapter 51. He was already a “follower of the Lord” when he says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (verse 10).

     9. What were some of David’s sins? What does he mean in this verse?


This concept of holiness is also expressed in 2 Timothy 2:22, “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”

As Christians, we know of the horrible reputation surrounding hypocrisy. In Matthew 23:25-28, we read of the difference between a pure heart and mere outward actions, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”

     10. Describe the illustrations given here. What is being said?


“The aim of our charge is
love that issues from a pure heart
and a good conscience
and a sincere faith.”
1 Timothy 1:5

The outcome or blessing of having a pure heart is the ability to see God. This also can be viewed from the now or later aspect.

“For they shall see God” - Salvation

The promise for Christians is that they will have eternal life. This means Heaven and being with the Lord forever. We will see Him face to face.

In 1 Corinthians 13:12, Paul beautifully displays the future, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” John adds in 1 John 3:1-2, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” John also records in Revelation 22:4, “They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.”

     11. What is promised here? What do you think your response will be?


“For the Christian, heaven is where Jesus is.
We do not need to speculate
on what heaven will be like.
It is enough to know that
we will be forever with Him.”
William Barclay

“For they shall see God” – Sanctification

John Peter Lange wrote, “This vision of God commences when the eye of the soul opens, or when spiritual vision begins in the regenerate heart: it is perfected when in eternity we shall see Him face to face.” Basically, he is saying that by being “pure in heart” we “see God” now in daily events and will be with Him when we die.

Ephesians 1:16-18 adds light to the topic, “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.”

     12. How can having “the eyes of your hearts enlightened” be helpful?


Warren Wiersbe seems to always have a good practical perspective, “We experience God’s mercy when we trust Christ, and He gives us a clean heart and peace within. But having received His mercy, we then share His mercy with others. We seek to keep our hearts pure that we might see God in our lives today. We become peacemakers in a troubled world and channels for God’s mercy, purity, and peace.”

This aspect of seeing God is when we come to a place where I can be completely open and honest with God and others. It is a life that is transparent because I have nothing to hide. I do not have to pretend what I am not.

Hebrews 12:1-2 talks about seeing Jesus today, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” A Couple of other translations (NIV and NASB) use the wording, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus.” That should be our goal every morning. We need to wake up and look up until the day we see Him face to face.

“Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false
and does not swear deceitfully.”
Psalm 24:3-4


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