The great desire of the so many saintly people is for purity of heart – for in Matthew we read, blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Born, dead in trespasses and sins, there is a gulf betwixt man and God – a gulf so huge that none but God’s perfect Sacrifice alone, could bridge that gap. Sin in all its ugly shades of black darkness, hangs shroud-like over humanity’s head – but thanks be to God that in His grace He has given the way to bring us back to Himself – through the blood of Christ – (incarnate God and perfect Man)
The blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin. 1John 1:7 “Washed in the blood of the Lamb ..” – Such hymns are rarely sung today, for the truth – the shocking truth.. that God should die for me is overwhelming. In all its bloody truth, man prefers to hide the truth of God’s eternal sacrifice. Grace is indeed a free gift, but at what tremendous cost. The price paid by the God of the universe was the blood of His only begotten Son. Unless washed in that Blood there can be no peace with God, nor purity of heart – for there is none good – no not one. Rom.3:1
The Word of God goes to many lengths to emphasise the need for purity… Be holy for I Am holy – occurring and reoccurring as a call to come and wash and be cleansed. Job even asks the question, "How then can man be righteous before God – How can he be pure who is born of a woman ?” And David cries… "Create in me a clean heart – a pure heart.. and renew a right spirit within me..” And the answer is Christ – and in Christ alone.
Man of himself remains dead in trespasses and sins… unless and until he is washed: cleansed and forgiven in the blood of the Lamb. Isaiah tells us, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow – but that is not the final product of holiness – but it is the first step towards purity. But once spiritually cleansed… once purified by the blood of the Lamb and born again Jesus, at the last supper, exemplified – in action, the ongoing need for purity.
We read in John 13 After supper, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. You shall never wash my feet! ….was Peter’s indignant outburst. You shall never wash my feet! These were the proud contradictory proclamations of the carnal disciple. But Christ reprimanded that.. unless I wash you – you have no part with Me, for he who is bathed (and note this Greek word means a full bodily cleansing louō) – He who is bathed – needs only to wash his feet (a partial cleansing- niptō), –to be completely clean. John.13:10
We are not required to be born again and again. Salvation is a once for all, full cleansing – but we are required, from that day on – to be cleansed… cleansed from the influences of life… cleansed, day by day, from all that infects and debilitates our witness for Him… cleansed from any daily sins.
If I truly am to have a pure heart, a clean heart, and a right spirit within then I must put off the things of this world – of self – of the old man – of the sin nature. Indeed I must be an overcomer, in sin, the world, the flesh, and the devil. But I cannot overcome on my own and by my own, feeble efforts, for Jesus said, without Me, ye can do nothing.. and ‘nothing’ means nothing. If I seek purity and holiness through my own efforts, I will not succeed. If I seek to overcome the world and self and Satan in MY strength, I will fail. But If I dress myself in Him.. if I allow Him to work through me, I will succeed.. for I can do all things through Christ, Who gives me His strength.” Philippians 4;13.
As a believer I choose to follow Christ then I follow the way of death to my own self-effort. If as a believer I choose to follow my own carnal Self – I will utterly fail. A clean heart must be emptied of all misguided and ill-placed affections, whatever they are. A pure heart is one where God reigns supreme and devotion to Him is uppermost. All affections must be filtered through Him – until we love only as He loves. All relationships must be viewed from the angle of my relationship with the Father – and it is in Christ and in Him alone that we shall attain to purity of heart.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see our God;
The secret of the Lord is theirs;
Their soul is Christ’s abode.
Our Lord, who left the heavens
Our life and peace to bring,
To dwell in lowliness with men
Our pattern and our King.
Still to the lowly soul
He doth Himself impart;
And for His cradle and His throne
Chooseth the pure in heart.
Lord, we Thy presence seek;
May ours this blessing be;
Give us a pure and lowly heart,
A temple meet for Thee.
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