Reflection: In English, ‘pure’ sometimes has sexual connotations—and Jesus will, indeed, teach about sexual righteousness later in the Sermon on the Mount. But ‘pure in heart’ just means absolutely genuine. As the great British theologian John Stott put it: “The pure in heart are the utterly sincere. Their whole life, public and private, is transparent before God and men. Their very heart – including their thoughts and motives – is pure, unmixed with anything devious, ulterior or base. Hypocrisy and deceit are abhorrent to them; they are without guile.”
God isn’t expecting ‘sinlessness’ from us—He knows us too well for that! But he is asking for sincerity from us, for purity of heart. Duplicity and hypocrisy are like spots on our glasses, or cataracts in our eyes. They defile us, and obscure our vision of God. This beatitude asks us to remove double-motives, and instead to love God (and others) for God’s sake alone. Then we will see God: now in daily glimpses of his power and love, and ultimately for eternity in his kingdom, where we will see him face to face (Revelation 22:4).
Question: Assuming God doesn’t expect sinlessness from you, in what area(s) of life might He ask you for deeper sincerity, purity?