Refineries and Wineries
What does the
Arc of Testimony
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God
Jesus spoke this during His famous
Sermon the Mount.
So what did He mean by
"pure in heart?”
The Greek word for “pure” in Matthew 5:8 is katharos.
It means to be
"clean, blameless, unstained from guilt.”
Interestingly, the word can refer specifically to that which is
purified by fire or by pruning.
Those new to Christianity
drawn to the rich teaching
Sermon on the Mount
as they find their footing in their new faith.
Those who are familiar with Matthew 5-10
from many years in the church
may forget just how radical
his teaching was to the listeners
of his day
Both the new believers and the
says D. A. Carson, need to study the
Sermon on the Mount
again and again.
In this thorough and yet easy-to-read exposition
one of the church’s
most beloved passages of Scripture,
Carson clearly presents
Christ’s inescapable call
on the believer
to live a pure and dedicated life
in the midst of a
corrupt and sinful culture
Pastors, Bible teachers, and students of the Bible
who want more than
a surface-level devotional on the
Sermon on the Mount
rich insights and practical
applications for life from this book.
“I have refined you,
but not as silver is refined.
Rather, I have refined you in the
furnace of suffering.”
When life is easy, we tend to get
caught up in trivialities:
worrying about our appearance or
passing on the latest gossip
boasting in our material possessions
or . . . you name it.
Often that which matters most
gets ignored. Suffering has a way
refocusing our minds and hearts.
When we’re in pain,
be it physical, emotional, or relational, we stop caring about minutiae. Our hearts yearn for what truly matters:
the love of family and friends,
the assurance that life has meaning,
and, above all, the
presence and peace of God.
Thus God uses pain to
burning away the dross of our life.
When we’re in the furnace of suffering, we often wonder
where God is and why he is letting us hurt.
Yet, when we look back on the hard times of our lives,
we can see how God used them for our good.
This doesn’t mean we look forward
to suffering, however.
But it does mean that we can
find in our pain the peace
that comes from a
deeper experience of God.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION:
Have you known what it’s like to be in the furnace of suffering?
How has pain helped you to grow in your relationship with God?
What helps you to sense God’s presence when you’re hurting?
Gracious Lord, I must admit that I don’t like this notion of the furnace of suffering. Being refined by you is just fine.
But when I think of the process of refining,
especially the pain involved,
I’m much less enthusiastic. How I wish there were
an easier way for me to
in grace and goodness!
Nevertheless, Lord, when I look back at my life,
I can see how you have been at work in me during difficult times.
I think of that wonderful verse of John Rippon
“How Firm a Foundation”
When through fiery trials thy
pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee;
I only design
Thy dross to consume, and
thy gold to refine.
John the Baptist told people that
Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire
Malachi speaks of the Messiah
as being like
Jesus refers to believers as being
the branches and to
Himself as being the vine
For a vine to produce fruit,
it must be pruned.
Those who are truly
"pure,” then, are those who have been
declared innocent because of
the work of Jesus and who are
being sanctified by His refining fire and
His pruning. The Greek word for
in Matthew 5:8 is kardeeah.
This can be applied to the physical heart.
But it also refers to the spiritual
center of life.
It is where thoughts, desires,
sense of purpose, will, understanding,
and character reside.
So, to be pure in heart means
to be blameless in who we actually are.
in heart involves having a
singleness of heart toward God.
A pure heart has no hypocrisy, no guile,
no hidden motives.
The pure heart is marked
and an uncompromising
desire to please God
in all things.
It is more than an external purity of behavior;
it is an
internal purity of soul
The only way we can be
truly pure in heart
give our lives to Jesus and
to do the cleansing work.
Psalm 51:10 says,
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and
renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
God is the one who makes our hearts pure –
by the sacrifice of His Son and through
His sanctifying work in our lives
(see also 1 John 3:1-3).