Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part LIV

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Image Depicting Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount

The Beatitudes

by Thomas Watson

An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12 

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (v.8)

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
“Blessed are those who are persecuted, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

Heart Purity

Let us put ourselves on TRIAL whether we are pure-hearted or not. Here I shall show the signs of an impure heart; and then, signs of a pure heart.

I. Signs of an IMPURE heart – Continued

4. An UNBELIEVING heart is an impure heart. The Scripture calls it expressly ‘an evil heart of unbelief’ (Hebrews 3:12). An unbelieving heart is evil in the highest degree. It is full of the poison of hell. Unbelief is the foul medley of all sins—the root and receptacle of sin.

[1] Unbelief is a God-affronting sin. It puts the lie upon God. It calls in question his power (Psalm 78:19), mercy and truth. ‘The one who does not believe God, is actually calling God a liar’ (1 John 5:10). Can a greater affront be cast upon the God of glory! It makes us trust to second causes, which is setting the creature in the place of God. ‘Asa in his disease sought not to the Lord—but to the physicians’ (2 Chronicles 16:12). He relied more on the physician than upon God. Saul seeks to the witch of Endor. O high affront, to lean upon the reed and neglect the Rock of Ages!

[2] Unbelief hardens the heart. These two sins are linked together. ‘He upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart’ (Mark 16:14). Unbelief breeds the stone of the heart. He who does not believe God’s threatenings—will never fear him. He who does not believe God’s promises—will never love him. What is said of the Leviathan, is true of the unbeliever. ‘Its heart is as hard as rock, as hard as a millstone’ (Job 41:24). Unbelief first pollutes the heart—and then hardens it!

[3] Unbelief breeds hypocrisy. Professors do not believe that God is a jealous God, and will call them to account. Therefore it is they put on a mask of religion and are saints in jest, that they may play the devil in earnest (2 Timothy 3:4, 5). They pretend to worship God—but Self is the idol they worship. Like rowers—they look one way and row another. The unbeliever is the greatest hypocrite.

[4] Unbelief causes the fear of men. ‘Fear is proof of a baseborn soul’. Fear is a debasing thing. It unmans a man. It makes him afraid to be godly. The fearful man studies rather compliance, than conscience. ‘The fear of man brings a snare’ (Proverbs 29:25). What made Abraham equivocate, David pretend to be mad, and Peter deny Christ? Was it not their fear? And whence does fear spring—but from unbelief? Therefore the Scripture joins them together. ‘The fearful and unbelieving’ (Revelation 21:8).

[5] Unbelief is the root of apostasy. ‘an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God’ (Hebrews 3:12). What is the reason those who seemed once zealous—now despise God, and leave off prayer in their families? Is it not their unbelief? They believed not that God is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6). Infidelity is the cause of apostasy. In the Greek, ‘apistia’ (unbelief) leads to ‘apostasia’ (apostasy). And if unbelief is the breeder and fomenter of so much sin, then the unbelieving heart must needs be an impure heart.

5. A COVETOUS heart is an impure heart. The earth is the most impure element. The purity of the heart lies in the spirituality of it, and what is more opposite to spiritualness than earthiness? Covetousness is ‘the root of all evil’ (1 Timothy 6:10). ‘To what cost do you drive mortal hearts—you accursed lust for gold!’

[1] Covetousness is the root of discontent. Why do any repine at their condition—but because they think they do not have enough? The Greek word for covetousness signifies an immoderate desire of getting. Because the covetous man is never satisfied, his heart frets in discontent and impatience.

[2] Covetousness is the root of theft. Achan’s covetous heart made him steal that wedge of gold—which served to cleave asunder his soul from God (Joshua 7:21).

[3] Covetousness is the root of treason. It made Judas betray Christ. ‘How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?’ (Matthew 26:15). Absalom’s covetousness made him attempt to pluck the crown from his father’s head. He who is a Demas, will soon prove a Judas. ‘Men shall be covetous’ (2 Timothy 3:2), and it follows in the next verse, ‘traitors’. Where covetousness is in the preface, treason will be in the conclusion.

[4] Covetousness is the root of murder. Why did Ahab stone Naboth to death but to possess his vineyard? (1 Kings 21:13). Covetousness has made many swim to the crown in blood. And can the heart be pure, when the ‘hands are full of blood’? (Isaiah 1:15).

[5] Covetousness is the root of perjury. ‘Men shall be covetous, and it follows, ‘trucebreakers’ (2 Timothy 3:2, 3). For love of money will take a false oath and break a just oath. He who lives a Midas, will die a perjurer.

[6] Covetousness is the root of necromancy. Why do people indent with the devil—but for money? They study the black art—for yellow gold. Alexander the Sixth pawned his soul to the devil for a popedom.

[7] Covetousness is the root of fraud and theft. Such as would be over-rich, will overreach. It is the covetous hand which holds false weights (Amos 8:5).

[8] Covetousness is the root of bribery and injustice. It makes the courts of law, ‘great places of robbery’, as Augustine speaks. At Athens, court cases were bought and sold for money.

[9] Covetousness is the cause of uncleanness. The Scripture mentions ‘the hire of a whore’ (Deuteronomy 23:18). For money both conscience and chastity are sold.

[10] Covetousness is the root of idolatry: ‘Covetousness which is idolatry’ (Colossians 3:5). The covetous person bows down to the image of gold. His money is his god, for he puts his trust in it. Money is his creator. When he has abundance of wealth, then he thinks he is made. Money is his redeemer. If he is in any strait or trouble, he flies to his money and that must redeem him. Money is his comforter. When he is sad he counts over his money and with this golden harp he drives away the evil spirit. When you see a covetous man, you may say, “There goes an idolater!”

[11] Covetousness is the cause of unprofitableness under the means of grace. In the parable, the thorns choked the seed (Matthew 13:7). This is the reason the Word preached does no more good. The seed often falls among thorns. Thousands of sermons lie buried in earthly hearts!

[12] Covetousness is the root of selfishness and stinginess. It hinders hospitality. A covetous man has a withered hand. He cannot reach it out to clothe or feed those who are in need. The covetous person is so sordid, that if his estate may flourish he is content to let his name lie dead and buried. What a cursed sin is avarice! And can he be pure in heart—who has such a ‘root of bitterness’ growing in him? We may as well say that the body is pure which is full of plague-sores.

6. Those hearts are impure which are ‘haters of purity’ (Micah 3:2). They ‘hate knowledge’ (Proverbs 1:29). Some things in nature have an antipathy; the serpent will not come near the boughs of the wild ash. There is an antipathy in a carnal heart against holiness; and when hatred is boiled up to malice—it is dangerous. Thus Julian maliciously opposed holiness. Receiving a mortal wound when in battle, he threw up a handful of his blood into the air in indignation saying, ‘O Galilean, you have overcome me!’

7. He who scoffs at purity, has an impure heart. ‘There shall come in the last days scoffers’ (Luke 16:14; 2. Peter 3:3). There are some who make a jeer of religion. It is a sign of an Ishmael spirit to scoff at holiness. Are we not commanded to be perfect as God is perfect? (Matthew 5:48). One would wonder that those who dare open their mouths in derision against holiness—the earth does not open her mouth to swallow them up as it did Korah and Dathan. These are devils covered over with flesh! They have damnation written on their foreheads! Lucian who in the time of the Emperor Trajan had professed religion, afterwards became so profane as to make a mock at the Christians and by his jeers and taunts went about to destroy religion. At last he himself was rent asunder and devoured by dogs. When the scab of the leper appeared, he was to be shut out of the camp (Leviticus 13:8, 46). Those who flout at religion, if God does not give them repentance, are sure to be shut out of the camp of heaven

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