PURE IN HEART
Fully devoted to Loving God
with every part of our lives.
Don't we have a pure heart?
- Why do we still do wrong things?
Those with a pure heart will be one-hearted. God gives us a new heart upon salvation, but it is up to us to live by the motivation of that new spiritual heart once we believe. We often hear about the process of dying to oneself but are not very clear to its meaning. One can identity its essential components. We can find these principles clearly taught throughout Romans 6-8 and Galatians 5.
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- We acknowledge that we can live by motivations other than by the new life God has given to us.
- We disavow any loyalty to those desires.
- We decide not to live by them. (This is the moment of 'dying.')
- We affirm that we will live by the knowledge and impulses of the new spiritual heart and the scriptures.
Purity of heart speaks of the need to affirm to fully devote oneself to living after that new heart that the Lord has given to us. This refers to our motivations, purposes and desires. Perhaps clarifying the picture of an impure heart will help.
The heart stands for what I call 'soul affection.' We are speaking of those things to which we are devoted. Impure hearts refer to different affections or desires that motivate individuals. When we speak of a love for something, this "love" is the affection. The object they love is the target of this affection such as money. It is from the heart through which devotion or commitment springs forth.
Christians often think that becoming a Christian means no longer having such idolatrous affections present. This is not true. Let us say what is true about a Christian:
- As a non-Christian, we were bound to live by our old heart (flesh) - "slaves of sin." (Romans 6:20)
- We now have a new heart which desires the things of God. (Romans 6:10-11)
- The old heart no longer has its own right to rule over us. (Romans 6:6-7)
- The old heart can rule over us if we decide to serve it. (Romans 6:12-13)
- We will be tempted by the old flesh/heart. (Romans 7:15)
- We will even feel as if we have to serve the old heart. (Romans 7:21)
- The Holy Spirit always enables us to live by the new heart. (Romans 8:2, 6,26)
The implications are obvious. We personally are liable for our obedience.
- We cannot blame our old heart from controlling us - "It made me do it!"
- Nor can we fault the new heart from not helping us out - "I couldn't help it."
"But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed."
Our sin is ours and no one else to blame.
- If we are growing slowly, it is because we have decided to regularly give in to our own flesh.
- If we are growing fast, it is because we have devoted ourselves to live by the Spirit. (Gal 5:25).
We are not saying that we have not committed ourselves to living for the Lord. Becoming a Christian is the decision to follow Him and none other. It is as Galatians 5:24 says, "Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."
One author has said, "We grow as much as we want." This is so revealing. We have in our lives what we wanted. We are reaping what we have sown. We don't have what we don't want. Here our free will comes into play. The question is will we who are liberated by God's precious Son and empowered by the Holy Spirit going to live for God?
My hope is that in the following pages that we actually seek those things which have held us back. Stare at them. Expose their barrenness. Cut off our devotion to such desires. Reject them. And use that newly released compacity to gain a pure heart to follow harder after the Lord. Let us see how to do this. =>