Biblegateway Verse of the Day

Is Having an Innocent Heart the Same as a Pure Heart?

By Benjamin H. Liles

          When I say this it's not to demean any part of the Bible, either in part or total, but one of my favorite verses comes from Psalm 24, it says: "Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from the God of his salvation" (Psalm 24:3-5, Berean Study).

          Before I continue on this needs a bit of prefacing as that God had told Moses, "'I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.' [Adding on], saying, 'You cannot see My face, for no one can see Me and live.' [He] continued, ''There is a place near Me where you are to stand...Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen" (Exodus 33:19-23, New King James).

          The word for "pure" in Hebrew is the same word that means innocent, clean. So, when we read in Matthew's gospel record, Jesus says, "Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God" (Matthew 5:8, New King James), he's saying that "For those to see God, they have this blessing to have a pure heart." That same thought in the language being used conveys the same Jewish thought found in the previous verses. If we want to see God, we need a "pure" a "clean, innocent" heart.

          However, Paul says to us that "[All] alike are all under sin. As it is written: 'There is no one righteous, not even one. There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God'" (Romans 3:9-11, Berean Study). Imagine that thought! For us to see God, even so far as to seek Him, we have to have a pure heart before Him. Yet Paul tells us here in Romans, "But you cannot do that, for you are not righteous; no one understands, no one seeks God."

          We have all broken God's commands. Even though He has given us a promise that He's delivered us from bondage and sin within Exodus 20, and I suggest reading that, for some reason we cannot fulfill those laws. Even though God has done His part, delivering from those things, mankind was still entrenched in sin and death. This is then the reason for the ministry of Jesus, the Son of God, the Messiah (Christ). After all, He sent word to John, the Baptist, saying, "The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them" (Matthew 11:5, New King James). 

          So how can we have this innocent, pure heart so as to see God? We have to put our faith and trust in this Jesus, who gave healing and restoration to, even though we deserved to be punished for our sins. He was fully God and still suffered as a man, as Isaiah claims, "Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows...The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:4-5).

          If we desire to see and even seek after God, we need to embrace some essential truths about both God, Jesus Christ and ourselves, and they are thus: 

  • I am unable to do anything to earn His salvation, sanctification, and justification
  • God and Jesus Christ are one and the same - "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it" (John 1:1-5, New King James).
  • To receive eternal life a man or woman must be born again (John 3:7).
  • Jesus gives a sign to Nicodemus that would make sense once Christ was crucified: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so the Son of Man be lifted up...For God so loved the world...whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:14-16).
  • Without this faith in the Messiah, the Christ, Jesus we have no hope of being raised to life just as He was brought back on the third day to take back up His life, which Jesus said would happen: "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" (John 2:19).
          If we take the Bible message and change even one part of it, it knocks apart God, who He is and claims He is: the man known as Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah (Christ), born of Mary, the adopted son of Joseph was both God and man, fulfilled all of scripture, meaning all of the Old Testament scripture. Since then the rest of the Bible of the New Testament revolves around Christ and living in Him. As Paul says in one of his letters to us: "For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him having been crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2, Berean Literal). 

          Knowing this then we can understand therefore that if we want to be innocent and pure enough in heart to see God we need to know He went to Calvary's cross so that we wouldn't have to receive a just sentence of God's wrath on us. It is written after all, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit" (Romans 8:1, New King James). We need to remember Christ did rise again on that very first Sunday following Passover, marking the first Easter. In knowing this, since we are no longer enemies of God's we can see Him and know Him, for that is the real lesson here. If we can see Christ, and to be called children of God, we can and have seen God the Father (see John 14:7). 

          The soul that has been purified by the blood of Jesus on the cross, in remission of our sins (As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us - Psalm 103:12), we have a right-standing with the Father. Therefore we have access to both Him and Jesus, forever being with Him in Heaven. Take this as both a promise of having confessed your sins before a God who does not willingly desire to condemn you, but to give you eternal life. In the matchless name of Christ Jesus, my Lord and Savior. Amen. 

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