"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matt. 5:8).
There are basically only two kinds of religion in the world: those based on human achievement and those based on divine accomplishment.
Religion comes in many forms. Almost every conceivable belief or behavior has been incorporated into some religious system at some point in time. But really there are only two kinds of religion: one says you can earn your way to heaven; the other says you must trust in Jesus Christ alone. One is the religion of human achievement; the other is the religion of divine accomplishment.
Those who rely on their achievements tend to compare themselves to others. But that's a relative, self- justifying standard because you can always find someone worse than yourself to base the comparison on.
Jesus eliminated all human standards when He said, "You are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matt. 5:48). Even the Jewish religious leaders, who were generally thought to be the epitome of righteousness, didn't qualify according to that standard. In fact, Jesus told the people that their righteousness had to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees if they wanted to enter heaven (Matt. 5:20). That must have shocked them, but Jesus wasn't speaking of conformity to external religious ceremonies. He was calling for pure hearts.
God doesn't compare you to liars, thieves, cheaters, child abusers, or murderers. He compares you to Himself. His absolute holy character is the standard by which He measures your suitability for heaven. Apart from Christ, everyone fails that standard because "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). But the glorious truth of salvation is that Jesus Christ came to earth to purify our hearts. He took our sin upon Himself, paid its penalty, then bestowed His own righteousness upon us (Rom. 4:24). He keeps us pure by continually cleansing our sin and empowering us to do His will.
Your faith in Christ—not your personal achievements—is what makes you pure. Let that truth bring joy to your heart and praise to your lips!
Suggestions for Prayer
- Thank the Lord for accomplishing salvation on your behalf and for granting you saving faith.
- Pray that your thoughts and actions today will evidence a pure heart.
For Further Study
Read Psalm 24:1-5 and Ezekiel 36:25-29.
- Who is acceptable to God?
- How does God purify the hearts of His people?
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.