April 2 I Sunday
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” —Matthew 5:8
The sixth beatitude states that the pure in heart are blessed. But what specifically does it mean to be “pure” in heart?
In the Greek language, there are three different words that, when translated to the English, are understood as “pure.” The first word is hagnos, which means “pure” in the sense of being clean. For example, if we put our clothes into the wash and they come out pure, they come out hagnos. It has the same root as the word “holy,” which is hagios. The word hagnos is used in 1 John 3:3: “All who have this hope in Him purify themselves, just as He is pure.” Although being clean is a good interpretation of what it means to be pure, this was not the word that Jesus used in Matthew 5:8.
The second word is eilikrinēs, which means “pure” in the sense of being genuine, sincere, honest and having integrity. Paul used this word in Philippians 1:10 when he wrote, “...that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ....” The NKJV translation states it another way: “that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ....” The words “pure” and “sincere” are used interchangeably for the translation of eilikrinēs. While being pure in the sense of sincerity and genuineness is a legitimate understanding, this was not the word that Jesus used to describe “pure in heart.”
The third word is katharos, which means “pure” in a sense of being unmixed with other things. For example, if we have wine that has not been diluted with water, it is pure wine. The word katharos is used several times in the New Testament, such as in 1 Timothy 1:5: “The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” What this verse means is that love comes from an unmixed heart—or a single-minded heart—a good conscience and sincere faith. This is the Greek word and meaning that Jesus used in His teaching from the Sermon on the Mount.
The late William Barclay best explained “pure in heart” in his commentary on the book of Matthew: “Blessed is the man whose motives are always entirely unmixed, for that man shall see God.” In the same way, may our hearts be undiluted—pure—before God.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I desire to have a heart that is entirely unmixed and pure before You. Help me walk single-mindedly in Your ways. Thank You, Lord.