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Blessings Bring Responsibility

(Matthew 5:1-16)

Lesson 10 -- fourth quarter 2001
November 4, 2001

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2001, Christian Light Publications

Keep your heart clean!

Ever since the Fall, man has always chosen to make his heart filthy. The inclination of our flesh is always toward impurity. Our hearts, left to themselves, will never seek nor maintain a state of purity. But as we saw in the conclusion of the previous lesson, Jesus died so that our contaminated state might be changed to absolute cleanness. We have no other way to prepare ourselves to enter into the presence of the Holy One. You see, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God" (Matthew 5:8).

We readily acknowledge that no one can achieve cleanness of heart through self effort. Proverbs 20:9 emphasizes this important point with a rhetorical question: "Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?" King David, after confronting the deceptiveness and hidden secrets of his heart, pleaded, "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me" (Psalm 51:10). Only God can clean us and only by God's grace can we keep ourselves pure.

Did you notice that we have a role and a responsibility in keeping our hearts clean and pure before God? We do! So of course we need to discover how we go about maintaining the purity of our hearts.

I think 1 Peter 1:22 gives us one very clear way to maintaining heart cleanliness: obey the truth. Obedience not only has a cleansing effect on our hearts, it has a preserving effect on that purity. Romans 6:16 refers to "obedience unto righteousness." So choose obedience to God's ways and the you will experience sparkling results in your heart!

It seems to me that John 15:3 clues us in to another cleanser: God's Word. And John 17:17 echoes that: "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." Get well-acquainted with the Scriptures. Make them a part of your life. Hide them in your heart. But is merely reading, memorizing, and meditating on God's Word enough? If I know at least 273 verses from the Bible, will my heart be pure? Well, come to think of it, Psalm 119:9 ties this paragraph to the previous one, making them one unit: "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word." So there you have it: live in obedience to God's Word if you want to keep a pure heart.

I challenge you to search the Scriptures to find the other practical things you can do to maintain a pure heart and a clean conscience.

Love peace.

I wonder if the Nobel Peace Prize has ever been awarded to someone who took two mortal enemies and made them one. I doubt it. In my limited observation, this prize goes to someone who has succeeded in bringing to an end outright conflict between antagonists. But that doesn't mean this person has also succeeded in cleansing those hearts from the attitudes and perspectives that lead to the conflict in the first place.

Biblical peace brings brotherhood where conflict formerly existed. The opposite of peace is not conflict; the opposite of peace is division. Peace is joining into one. Godly peace is righteous unity.

Whether it's in your own relationships with others or your involvement in others' divided relationships, pursue Biblical peace...not just the end of conflict! You will be "blessed...called the children of God" (Matthew 5:9).

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