Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part LV

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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.

II. I shall next show you the signs of a PURE heart.

1. A SINCERE heart is a pure heart. ‘In whose spirit there is no deceit’ (Psalm 32:2). There are four characters of a sincere-hearted Christian.

[1] A sincere heart serves God with the whole heart.

First, he serves God with the heart. The hypocrite does but make a show of obedience. ‘You are always on their lips—but far from their hearts’ (Jeremiah 12:2). There may be a fair complexion when the lungs and vitals are diseased. The hypocrite is fair to look on. He has a devout eye—but a hollow heart. But he who is sincere, his inside is his best side! In the law God would have ‘the inner parts’ offered up (Leviticus 4:11). A good Christian gives God ‘the inner parts’. When he prays—his heart prays. ‘Hannah prayed in her heart’ (1 Samuel 1:13). In his thanksgiving the heart is the chief instrument of praise (Psalm 111:1). Then is the sweetest music when we ‘make melody in our hearts to the Lord’ (Ephesians 5:19).

Secondly, the sincere Christian serves God with the ‘whole heart’ (Psalm 119:2). Hypocrites have a double heart (Psalm 12:2)—a heart for God, and a heart for sin. ‘Their heart is divided’ (Hosea 10:2). God loves a broken heart—but not a divided heart. An upright heart is a whole heart. The full stream and torrent of the affections runs out after God. A sincere heart ‘follows God fully’ (Numbers 14:24).

[2] A sincere heart is willing to come under a trial. ‘Search me, O God, and try me’ (Psalm 139:23). That metal is to be suspected which men are afraid to bring to the touchstone. A sound heart likes the touchstone of the Word. It is for a searching ministry. Hypocrites fly from the light of truth; they fly from that light which would reveal their sin. They hate that physic of the Word which, meeting with their ill humours, begins to make them sick, and trouble their conscience. A gracious soul loves that preaching best, which makes a heart-anatomy.

[3] A man of sincere heart, dares not act in the least against his conscience. He is the most magnanimous—yet the most cautious. He is bold in suffering (Proverbs 28:1) but fearful of sin (Genesis 39:9). He dares not get an estate by sinful shifts, or rise upon the ruins of another. Jacob got his father’s blessing by fraud—but that is not the way to get God’s blessing.

[4] A sincere heart is a suspicious heart. The hypocrite suspects others of sin—but has charitable thoughts of himself! The sincere Christian has charitable thoughts of others—and suspects himself of sin. He calls himself often to account: “O my soul, have you any evidences for heaven? Is there no flaw in your evidences? You may mistake common grace—for saving grace. Weeds in the cornfields look like flowers. The foolish virgins’ lamps looked as if they had oil in them. O my soul, is it not so with you?” The man of sincere soul, being ever jealous, plays the critic upon himself and so traverses things in the court of conscience as if he were presently to be cited to God’s bar. This is to be pure in heart.

2. A pure heart breathes after PURITY. If God should stretch out the golden scepter and say to him, ‘Ask, and it shall be given you—up to half the kingdom’, he would say, “Lord, give me a pure heart! Let my heart have this inscription—Holiness to the Lord. Let my heart be your temple for you to dwell in. Lord, what would I do in heaven with this unholy heart? What converse could I have with You?” A gracious soul is so in love with purity—that he prizes a pure heart above all blessings.

[1] He prizes a pure heart above RICHES. He knows that he may be clothed in purple and fine linen—and yet go to hell. He is content to be poor—so long as he may be pure. He knows heart-purity is a special certificate of God’s love. ‘The pure in heart’ shall see God.

[2] He prizes a pure heart above GIFTS. Gifts do not at all commend us in God’s eye. A pure heart is the jewel! ‘O woman, great is your faith!’ (Matthew 15:28). It was not her rhetorical language Christ was taken with—but her faith. Hypocrites have had rare gifts. Saul had the spirit of prophecy. Judas no doubt could make an elegant oration. Hypocrites have come into God’s church loaded with the Egyptian gold of human learning. There may be illumination without sanctification. A small diamond is better than a great deal of brass. A little grace excels the most flourishing abilities. Now if the out-goings of your soul are after holiness—you desire a pure heart, rather than an eloquent tongue. You have the oil of the Spirit poured on you and you shall be crowned with a glorious sight of God.

3. A pure heart abhors all SIN. A man may forbear and forsake sin—yet not have a pure heart.

[1] A man may FORBEAR sin—for lack of occasion to sin. He may forbear sin as one may hold his breath while he dives under water, and then take breath again. The gunpowder makes no noise until the fire is put to it. The clock stands still until the weights are put on. Let a temptation come, which is like the hanging on of the weights, and the heart goes as fast in sin as ever!

[2] He may forbear sin—for fear of the penalty. A man forbears a dish he loves—for fear it should bring his disease upon him of the stone or gout. There is conflict in a sinner between the passions of desire—and fear. Desire spurs him on to sin—but fear as a curb and bit checks him. Nor is it the crookedness of the serpent he fears—but the sting of the serpent!

[3] He may forbear sin—out of a design. He has a plot in hand and his sin might spoil his plot. Some rich heir would fly out in excess—but he behaves properly, to prevent being cut off from the inheritance. How good was Joash while Jehoiada the priest lived! Prudence as well as conscience may restrain from sin.
Again, a man may FORSAKE sin—yet not have a pure heart. It is a great matter, I confess, to forsake sin. So dear is sin to men, that they will part with the fruit of their body for the sin of their souls. Sin is the Delilah that bewitches, and it is much to see men divorced from it. There may be a forsaking of sin—yet no heart purity. Sin may be forsaken upon wrong principles.

[1] A man may forsake sin, from MORALITY. Moral arguments may suppress sin. I have read of a debauched heathen who, hearing Socrates read an ethical lecture on virtue and vice—he went away changed and no more followed his former vices. Cato, Seneca, Aristides, seeing beauty in virtue, led unblamable lives.

[2] A man may forsake sin, from POLICY. A man may forsake sin, not out of respect to God’s glory—but his own credit. Vice will waste his estate, eclipse the honor of his family, therefore out of policy he will divorce his sin.

[3] A man may forsake sin, from NECESSITY. Perhaps he cannot follow the trade of sin any longer. The adulterer is grown old, the drunkard has become too poor. His heart is toward sin—but either his purse fails him or his strength; as a man who loves hunting—but his prison-fetters will not allow him to follow the sport. This man, who is necessitated to put a stop to sin—does not so much forsake sin, as sin forsakes him.
But he is pure in God’s eye, who abhors sin. ‘I hate every false way’ (Psalm 119:104). This is excellent indeed, because now the love of sin is crucified. A hypocrite may leave sin—yet love it; as the serpent sheds her coat—yet keeps her sting. But when a man can say he abhors sin—now is sin killed in the root. A pure heart abstains from sin—as a man does from a dish that he has an antipathy against. This is a sign of a new nature—when a man hates what he once loved! And because he hates sin, therefore he fights against it with the ‘sword of the Spirit’—as a man who hates a serpent seeks the destruction of it.

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