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Is my heart pure? That is an essential issue to address. Jesus lays it out in His manifesto (Matthew 5 — 7).

Am I clean, blameless, unstained from guilt? Not on my own but I have been declared innocent because of the work of Jesus and I am being sanctified by His refining fire and His pruning.

Now that is some good news! Jesus gives me clean hands. Jesus gives me a pure heart. Jesus promises I will see God.

Do I, like King David, recognize that no-one could ascend the Lord’s hill or stand in his holy place unless he had ‘clean hands and a pure heart’. So David, conscious that his Master desired ‘truth in the inward being’, could pray, ‘Teach me wisdom in my secret heart,’ and, ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God.’

Happy (aka Blessed) are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Matthew 5:8

Jesus took up this theme in his controversy with the religious elites and complained about their obsession with external, ceremonial purity. ‘You Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of extortion and wickedness.’ Jesus said the religious elites are ‘like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness’.

The Greek word for “pure” in Matthew 5:8 is katharos. It means to be “clean, blameless, unstained from guilt.” Interestingly, the word can refer specifically to that which is purified by fire or by pruning.

John the Baptist told people that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire (Matthew 3:11). Malachi speaks of the Messiah as being like a “refiner’s fire” (Malachi 3:2).

Jesus refers to disciples (learners) as being the branches and to Himself as being the vine (John 15:1-17). For a vine to produce fruit, it must be pruned.

Those who are truly “pure,” then, are those who have been declared innocent because of the work of Jesus and who are being sanctified by His refining fire and His pruning.