Purity—Not a Popular Thought

He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith.—Acts 15:9

Now that we understand what Scripture means by the term “heart”—the core of our being—we ask ourselves another important question: what does our Lord mean when He uses the word “pure”? “The pure in heart are blessed, for they will see God” (Mt 5:8). The word “pure” (Greek: katharos) means a heart that is clean or clear. Unfortunately, purity does not seem to be popular in contemporary Christianity. The emphasis nowadays seems to be more on power than on purity. Most Christians I talk to want to know how they can possess and develop spiritual gifts. Few, generally speaking, want to know how to experience the blessing of what our text today calls a heart purified by faith.

Sixteen hundred years ago, St. Augustine expressed a sentiment in words which might well sum up the thoughts of many—thankfully, not all—in today’s church: “Lord, make me pure … but not just yet.” Most of us would be willing to identify ourselves with the conditions laid down in the first five of our Lord’s Beatitudes, but how do we feel about the condition of being pure in heart? Are we ready and willing to pray:

I want, dear Lord, a heart that’s true and clean

A sunlit heart, with not a cloud between.

A heart like Thine, a heart divine.

A heart as white as snow.

On me, dear Lord, a heart like this bestow.

Prayer

O yes, dear Father, from the depths of my being I cry out make me clean. I have come so far with You—how can I turn back now? I’m a candidate for both power and purity. Give me the deep inner cleansing I need—today. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Further Study

Jn 13:1-17; 2Co 7:1; Jms 4:8; 1Jn 3:3

What was Peter’s request?

Make your request today.

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