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"Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they shall see God
— Matthew 5:8

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. 


This is God's Word. 


What's the apex of the Christian faith? What's the telos, the end goal of the Christian faith? Someone will say the zenith of the Christian faith will be the restoration of creation with no more suffering, disease, natural disasters, aging and death. And while those are blessings and by-products, they are not the pinnacle of the Christian faith. Jesus gave us the answer here. He says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”


Jesus did not offer a wide terrain for eschatology. Eschatology meaning end times, last things, eternity. He gives a very narrow eschatology for Christians. Here he says the Christian faith culminates with God. They shall see God. The Christian faith is theocentric, Θεὸς / theos, God-centered.


We shall see God out of all the senses: hear, taste, touch, smell. Notice here that it says we shall see. We'll see God. That's where we're going. We're going to see God and in recent times there's been an eclipse of God when we talk about eschatology.


While rightly arguing for the material and physical resurrection from the dead in Christ, we forget about the end goal. What do I mean by that? Well here's what I mean. We, in recent years, have had a lot of theologians/pastors arguing for the resurrection of the dead, a physical real tangible resurrection; and this has been a good move because I would say from the 1940s onward we've had more of a spiritual eschatology. It's about getting out of the body, almost platonic type of Christianity. I just need to get away from the body, be a spirit, get away from this world.


Hermeneutical Homeostasis

We have to have a biblical balance and that's what the Bible does to us. This is what's going to be most frustrating for people who enter into the Christian faith or maybe if you're a Christian today is the fact that you want a soundbite because you have been catechized and programmed by Fox News, ABC News as to have a one-way answer. Just one side of the equation, enough for you to argue with somebody and be a polemic. The Bible won't let you do that. The Bible has an even-handedness. I'd like to offer a new terminology for today and that is hermeneutical homeostasis. There's a balance that the Bible always gives to us. So we want to be very dogmatic about things and then we realize there's another verse over here that counterbalances these things.


Earthy Eschatology 

And so why am I saying this? Because in eschatology in recent years there's been a good turn towards when you die and when Christ comes back we will have real physical tangible bodies. That's a good thing. For some reason we've moved away from that. We do need to have an earthy eschatology on the one hand. So for instance if you look at your outline, Revelation 21: 2 says, “and I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Where's the New Jerusalem going? It's coming down. Down where? Down to a new heaven and a new earth.


This fits together with Jesus' teaching when he talks about how to pray. He says, “your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Thus we cannot disregard the material or horizontal in Christian eschatology. So there is a horizontal level with Christian eschatology meaning there is a resurrection of all people. There will be a restoration of all creation. So these things are horizontal. 


But what we've forgotten to balance ourself out with a hermeneutical homeostasis, biblical balance, even-handedness, is that there's also a vertical eschatology with God that's focused on God. God is the end point.


There are a whole lot of people talking about eschatology these days. End times. What's going to happen? Many times when you listen to those people talk about eschatology, they forget one thing. God. The triune God. There needs to be a Trinitarian eschatology that's at the core of your understanding of where we're going. And it's not just you and Jesus. It's the Triune God: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Three in one. And it's not just you hanging out there. It's people from every tribe, every nation. You're not just an individual in the cloud hanging out with the Triune God. Jesus says we're going to see God. 


Now it's incumbent upon Christians to be biblically balanced and to understand that we are going to see God. But sin has polluted our vision. We're going to get to that in just a minute, because he's going to say blessed are the pure in heart.


Paul says in Colossians chapter 3, it's there on your outline, “If you have been raised with Christ.” Now if you are a Christian, “if you've been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above where Christ is. Seated at the right hand of God, set your minds on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:1-3). In short, if you're a Christian, you should be heavenly minded. You should desire and long to see God. If God is not in view of your eschatology or your Christian faith, you do not have a biblical eschatology. 


What is the Beatific Vision?

So we're going to talk about the beatific vision for four weeks. Now what is the beatific vision? I think Dr. Michael Allen at RTS Orlando has put this very simply. He says the beatific vision is the happy or blessed vision of God.


The Beatific Vision is the unfettered and unveiled vision of God. Now where does he get this from? Well he got it from Jesus' teaching here, but is it just Jesus? Is Jesus the only one who says we shall see God? Is that the only telos in the Bible? No, Paul actually says in 1st Corinthians 13: 12, “for now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.” The zenith for Paul, the ultimate goal is to see him face to face. 

Now is this only isolated to Jesus and Paul? Well of course not. John writes in 1st John 3:2, he says, “Beloved we are God's children now and what we will be has not yet appeared, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him because we shall see him as he is. We shall see him.” There's something about the vision aspect and the way God's made us so that's where we're going—to see God.


Do you want to see him? I know I was raised in a Pentecostal Church and we used to sing to a hymn, “Oh I want to see him, to look upon his face, there to sing forever upon his amazing grace.” It's pretty biblical for Pentecostals, but it's the truth. It's where we're headed. Are you longing to see him or do you yawn when you think of the thought of seeing God? Have you walked past this verse, Matthew chapter 5 verse 8 and thought, “Oh the blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. That's so warm, it's nice, it's wonderful.” No, that's where we're going. This is Jesus's eschatology. This is Jesus teaching us that's where we're all going.


I don't know about you but for me I think through this verse and I think I'm going to see God one day. Right now I have to walk by faith and not by sight, but one day I'll be able to see him. 


But herein lies the problem: How many of you have ever seen God? Well, let’s go back to the text. Why can we not see him? He says blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Jesus says in order to see God you have to be pure in heart. Simply put, you have to be free from guilt. You have to be clean.


The Greek word here for pure as it's on your outline is καθαρός.Now that sounds like another English word but it doesn't have a translation over so that's not it. It's not what you're thinking. But καθαρός means to be guiltless and free.


But see that's the problem. How many of us have a pure heart, a clean heart? No, we're sinners.

We inherit sin and the sin nature from Adam. And so if you get the doctrine of total depravity wrong, you got the whole thing wrong. We have a shallow view of total depravity.Yes, there have been many fights, Pelagius and so on and so forth about the fact that we're all born neutral. 


The Bible says we're all born underneath Adam. We're all guilty with sin. This is what Romans chapter 5 verse 12 says. “This is therefore just as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, so death spread to all men because all sin.” We cannot see God because we, well, sin has made us myopic—myopic meaning nearsightedness. We can only see things close up. We can't see God. We're blinded. 


You know the Bible says, “God is light” (1 John 1:5). The light of God cannot focus on our spiritual retina. It blinds us being able to see God. It prohibits, it vetoes our ability to be able to see him.


And so the big problem is sin. It's always going to be sin. When the politicians and the doctors and the lawyers are trying to find the problem and then a solution, you as a Christian already know the problem. It's one word, hamartia | ἁμαρτία in the Greek, one word in the English, sin. Sin. Sin is why we have to create all those laws because we can't behave correctly.


Jesus says blessed are the pure in heart. We're not pure in heart. Sinners in the hands of an angry God. This is the Bible's teaching. That's why we can't see him. 


But is there another reason why we can't see God? We need to be biblically balanced. Don't teeter to one side or the other. Is there another reason besides sin as to why we can't see God? Yes. The Bible gives us another answer. Go back to your outline. John chapter 4 verse 24 says “God is a spirit.” This is the doctrine of the invisibility of God. Colossians 1:15 says, “He's the image of the invisible God.”


Our sin precludes seeing God but invisibility is who he is. Romans chapter 1 verse 20: “for his invisible attributes”, so he has invisible attributes, namely his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived ever since the creation of the world and the things that have been made. So if we look at God, he's invisible and yet visible. He's invisible because it's one of his attributes and yet sin has also blinded us. Accordingly, the psalmist says in Psalm 42: 2, he says, “When shall I come and behold the face of God?”


When am I going be able to see God? I can't see God because of my sin and it's because of his divine attribute of invisibility. Revelation 22:4 says “they will see his face.”


Μακάριος: It's an ocular blessing from God.

So how can we see him if we are impure, if we are unclean, if we are guilty sinners? How in the world can we see God? I want you to look at that word blessed. Go back to the text, take a look at it. Blessed, blessed. The Greek word is Μακάριος. It's an ocular blessing from God reserved only for the clean. God allows us to see God and there's only one way for us to be able to see God and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ.


We'll get more into the union of Christ in order to be able to see God. We'll talk about that in the weeks ahead. But we cannot coerce or manipulate God into blessing us. He has to bless us. This is not something we can do to earn his favor. We can't engage in chicanery. We can't sneak a peek. There's no way to see God. You cannot summons God and say you need to appear to me on January the 23rd at 641 a.m. You can't do it. Not possible. That's why Jesus says here blessed are the pure in heart. Only God allows us to see God. Why? Because only God can make us clean. You can't make yourself clean. There's no possible way. That's the doctrine of total depravity and God’s grace.


Hebrews chapter 12 verse 14 says, “Strive for peace with everyone and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” You can't see him unless you're holy. You're sanctified. You've been set apart. And yes, there are two aspects to this sanctification. Paul talks about it in first Corinthians. He says you have been positionally made sanctified. It's something God had to do. And yet there is a progressive sanctification, an ongoing of you being conformed into the image of his son. But there's no way to see God unless he makes you pure in heart. How does he do that? Through the Lord Jesus Christ. Through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And it's also through the Holy Spirit. Again, we've got to be more biblically balanced. Don't just rush to Jesus as your only answer. Let's think about the Triune God: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Think about the different roles that they play. Yes, it's three persons and one God. But if someone just preaches Jesus only all the time, you might want to be careful with that person's doctrine. They may be leaving out a key component and that is the Triune God. The Holy Spirit enables us to have the eyes of our hearts enlightened so that we can see the face of God through Jesus Christ.


Did you notice that was Trinitarian vernacular? 2 Corinthians 4.6 says, “For God, who said, let the light shine out of darkness, has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God” in what? “In the face of Jesus Christ.” 


Now, who revealed this to you? Who revealed these things to you? Isn't it amazing how the Triune God plays into all of it? That's why when Paul is really excited in Ephesians chapter 1, he doesn't just say, well, Jesus, the eternal Son of God, chose you before the foundation of the world. He says, no. He says, the Father chose you in Christ before the foundation of the world and he has sealed you by the power of the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption. 


Can you beat up the Holy Spirit? Can you wrestle the Holy Spirit to the ground so that you can lose your salvation? I know, if you're an Arminian, yes, you'll say you can lose your salvation, but you haven't been biblically balanced because in Romans chapter 8, it says, “nothing in all of creation can separate us.”


Was there an asterisk, lengthy footnote, exceptions? No. There's nothing in all of creation. Are you a part of creation? I mean, are you? Are you a part of creation? Yeah.


Then, nothing in all of creation can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus. When people say you can lose your salvation, that's like a Muslim talking.


That's offensive. I know, I know. I like to be offensive sometimes. It's just who I am, but it's biblically balanced because if you think you can earn your salvation and lose your salvation, then you serve a capricious God. That's not the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible says you're mine and there's nothing that can pluck you out of my hand. There's nothing that can separate us. 


Why? Because the love of God, the Holy Spirit has been poured into our hearts and we see that we're sinners in need of a Savior and there he is, the only one who was pure in heart, bleeding on that cross for us as his red-shed blood ran down his body, from his head across his beard, dripping to the ground. That's our God in full view. 


But you can't embrace that unless God, the Holy Spirit, has revealed those things to you.And because God the Father has said, I selected you in Christ before the foundation of the world. This is a powerful Trinitarian God. 


What is the apex of the Christian faith? The beatific vision is the simple way of registering all the cluster of hopes, expectations, and desires in the Christian faith. And maybe you say, hold on, wait, wait, wait, I thought Adam and Eve saw God.


Genesis chapter 3 verse 8 says, “And they heard the sound the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. And the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord among the trees of the garden.”


So God is invisible in his attributes, and yet he's also visible?


Well, you're going to have to come back for the next session next week in order to dig a little deeper into his invisibility and his visibility. And this Beatific vision, this Visio Dei—seeing God as the eschatological telos of the Christian faith according to Jesus, according to the Bible, according to the triune God from Genesis to Revelation. And this morning, meditate deeply, contemplate, give yourself a little room this morning, this day, to think deeply on:


“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”


Let's pray.



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