Beloved…continually wash your robes in the Blood of Jesus; wash your garments that have been soiled with sin, making them clean again, dazzling and white. Wash your feet with pure water; wash the dust of sin off your feet. Continually and diligently do these things, that you may always abide with Me in the Holiest of All, in My unclouded Presence. [Father God…Rev 19:7-9]
One of the seven angels came and said to me, “Come…I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” He carried me away in the Spirit to a vast and lofty mountain, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God. It shone with the Glory of God, and its brilliance resembled a rare and precious jewel, like jasper, shining clear as crystal. [John…Rev 21:9-11]
PURITY, HOLINESS, AND RIGHTEOUSNESS
Purity, holiness, and righteousness…first of all and above all…is a matter of the heart. It is in my hidden life within my heart…in my mind, my thoughts, my imagination…where a pure, holy, and righteous life has its roots. The only righteousness acceptable to God is purity of heart; without that purity, the outward life makes no difference. God’s Divine evaluation takes place in the heart; He judges the source and origin of sin, not its manifestation or lack of manifestation.
If the purity, holiness, and righteousness that people see in your everyday visible physical life is not a true reflection of an inner purity deep within your heart, then either you do not belong to Christ or you are living a double life in disobedience to Him. Obedience begins in your heart. Many would abhor to commit one sinful external act before the eyes of men, in a temple of stone; and yet they are not afraid to commit a multitude of such acts in the temple of their hearts, and in the sight of God! If, for example, voluntary and deliberate looks and desires make adulterers and adulteresses, how many persons are there whose whole life is one continual crime! Many men and women go to hell forever because of the deception of self-righteous religion. The illusion that sin is only an external issue is damning. Heinous in God’s sight are sinful thoughts and feelings which may be forever concealed from the world!
True Christianity lies in the heart, in the purity of heart; the washing of the heart from wickedness. Those who truly belong to God will be motivated to purity. The deepest desire of the redeemed is for holiness, even when sin hinders the perfect fulfillment of that desire. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. [Rom 6:19] Intimate knowledge of and fellowship with God is reserved for the pure in heart.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart. Therefore, brethren…Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded! Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. [Matt 5:8; Ps 24:3-4; James 4:8; 2 Cor 7:1; Heb 12:14; Matt 5:6]
Matt 5:8: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Here is one of those passages of Scripture whose depths are immeasurable and whose breadth is impossible to encompass. This incredible statement of Jesus is among the greatest utterances in all of the Bible. The subject of holiness, of purity of heart, can be traced from Genesis to Revelation. The theme is infinitely vast and touches on virtually every other biblical truth; it is impossible to exhaust its meaning or significance!
The pure in heart are happy; Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. This is the most comprehensive of all the beatitudes; here holiness and happiness are fully described and put together.
Here is the most comprehensive character of the blessed: they are pure in heart. Note, True religion consists in heart-purity. Those who are inwardly pure, show themselves to be under the power of pure and undefiled religion. True Christianity lies in the heart, in the purity of heart; the washing of the heart from wickedness: Wash your heart from evil, O Jerusalem, that you may be saved. How long will your wicked thoughts lodge within you? [Jer 4:14] We must lift up to God, not only clean hands, but a pure heart: Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted himself up to falsehood or to what is false, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. [Ps 24:4-5] The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. [1 Tim 1:5] The heart must be purified by faith, and entire for God; must be presented and preserved a chaste virgin to Christ. Create in me such a clean heart, O God! [Ps 51:10]
Here is the most comprehensive comfort of the blessed; they shall see God. It is the perfection of the soul’s happiness to see God; to see Him as mine, and to see Him and enjoy Him; to see Him and be like Him, and be satisfied with that likeness, and to see Him for ever, and never lose the sight of Him; this is Heaven’s happiness. As for me, I will continue beholding Your face in righteousness, justice, and right standing with You; I shall be fully satisfied when I awaken to find myself beholding Your form and having sweet communion with You. [Ps 17:15] The happiness of seeing God is promised to those, and those only, who are pure in heart.
Matt 5:27-28: You have heard that it was said, “Do not commit adultery.” But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
From the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus focuses on the internal, on what men are like in their minds and hearts. That is the primary thrust of Matt 5:21-48, as the Lord reemphasizes the Divine standards for living in His Kingdom, the Divine standards already given in the Law of the Old Testament, in contrast to Jewish tradition. The only righteousness acceptable to God is purity of heart. Without that purity, the outward life makes no difference. God’s divine evaluation takes place in the heart. He judges the source and origin of sin, not its manifestation or lack of manifestation.
In Matt 5:27-30, Jesus affirmed God’s law of purity, and then explained that the intent of this law was to reveal the sanctity of sex and the sinfulness of the human heart. God created sex, and God protects sex. He has the authority to regulate it and to punish those who rebel against His laws. Sexual impurity begins with the desires of the heart. Again, Jesus is not saying that lustful desires are identical to lustful deeds, and therefore a person might just as well go ahead and commit adultery. The desire and the deed are not identical, but, spiritually speaking, they are equivalent. The “look” that Jesus mentioned was not a casual glance, but a constant stare with the purpose of lusting. It is possible for a man to glance at a beautiful woman and know that she is beautiful, but not lust after her. The man Jesus described looked at the woman for the purpose of feeding his inner sensual appetites as a substitute for the act. It was not accidental; it was planned.
It is the earnest wish or desire of the soul, which, in a variety of cases, constitutes the good or evil of an act. If a man earnestly wish to commit an evil, but cannot, because God puts time, place, and opportunity out of his power, he is fully chargeable with the iniquity of the act, by that God Who searches and judges the heart. So, if a man earnestly wish to do some righteous act…some loving kindness or goodness…which it is out of his power to perform, the act is considered as his; because God, in this case, as in that above, takes the will for the deed. If voluntary and deliberate looks and desires make adulterers and adulteresses, how many persons are there whose whole life is one continual crime! Whose eyes being full of adultery, they cannot cease from sin. [2 Peter 2:14]
Our Saviour in these verses explains the seventh commandment. It is probable that the Pharisees had explained this commandment, as they had the sixth, as extending only to the external act; and that they regarded evil thoughts and a wanton imagination as of little consequence, or as not forbidden by the Law. Our Saviour assures them that the commandment did not regard the external act merely, but the secrets of the heart, and the movements of the eye. He declares that they who indulge a wanton desire, that they who look on a woman to increase their lust, have already, in the sight of God, violated the commandment, and committed adultery in the heart. Such was the guilt of David, whose deep and awful crime fully shows the danger of indulging in evil desires, and in the rovings of a wanton eye. So exceeding strict and broad is the Law of God! And so heinous in His sight are thoughts and feelings which may be forever concealed from the world!
But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a women to lust after her…with the intent to do so…with the full consent of his will, to feed thereby his unholy desires…hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. We are not to suppose, from the word here used …“adultery”…that our Lord means to restrict the breach of this commandment to married persons, or to criminal sexual intercourse with such. The expressions, “whosoever looketh,” and “looketh upon a woman,” seem clearly to extend the range of this commandment to all forms of impurity, and the counsels which follow…as they most certainly were intended for all, whether married or unmarried…seem to confirm this.
The command is here laid down (v. 27), “Thou shalt not commit adultery;” which includes a prohibition of all other acts of uncleanness, and the desire of them as well: but the Pharisees, in their expositions of this command, made it to extend no further than the act of adultery. We are here taught, that there is such a thing as heart-adultery, adulterous thoughts and dispositions, which never proceed to the physical act of adultery or fornication. This command forbids not only the physical acts of fornication and adultery, but, all appetites to them, all lusting after the forbidden object; this is the beginning of the sin, lust conceiving [James 1:15]; it is a bad step towards the sin; and where the lust is dwelt upon and approved, and the wanton desire is rolled under the tongue as a sweet morsel, it is the commission of sin, as far as the heart can do it; there wants nothing but convenient opportunity for the act of sin itself. All approaches toward them; feeding the eye with the sight of the forbidden fruit; not only looking for that end, that I may lust; but looking till I do lust, or looking to gratify the lust, where further satisfaction cannot be obtained. This forbids also the using of any other of our senses to stir up lust. If ensnaring looks are forbidden fruit, much more unclean discourses, and wanton dalliances, the fuel and bellows of this hellish fire. And if looking be lust, they who dress and deck, and expose themselves, with design to be looked at and lusted after [like Jezebel, that painted her face and tired her head, and looked out at the window] are no less guilty. Men sin, but devils tempt to sin.
I say then, walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. [Gal 5:16] It is only the Power of the indwelling Holy Spirit that enables me to abide in the Holy of Holies; He alone gives me the desire to even want to live my everyday life there. How, then, do I live my life in the Power of the Spirit? Not by trying, but by trusting. Living in the Power of the Spirit is entirely a matter of trust…an unwavering child-like trust that He will indeed work in me both to will and to do…both the desire to want to give Him free reign, and the power to actually do so. If I try to walk in the Spirit…if I am determined to live my life in the Power of the Spirit by my own efforts, resolutions, commitments, re-doubled efforts to do so, I have only guaranteed my failure. Why would I ever think that the powers of my sin-enslaved human nature would voluntarily choose to deny its own self and put forth effort to give the Spirit free reign over the conduct of my life? Quite the contrary…for my sin-enslaved human nature has a strong desire for its own will to be done and so to suppress the Spirit, and the Spirit constantly has a strong desire for God’s will to be done and so to suppress my sin-enslaved human nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that I am hindered by my sin-enslaved human nature from freely doing what I desire to do in obedience to God. [Gal 5:17] Living my life in the Power of the Spirit is solely, wholly, and only the work of the Spirit in me. It is His work, not mine. Yet it is ours, because I am one with Him whose work it is. My place is to respond to every leading and prompting of the Holy Spirit, not by my determined efforts to do so but rather by cooperating with the power of His enabling grace to do so.
Friends, brothers and sisters…
There is one absolutely necessary preparation for every living soul on the face of this Earth, for the soon coming and imminent return of Jesus Christ…the one preparation that will irrevocably determine in which neighborhood you will spend all eternity, whether in Heaven or in Hell. You must be a born-again child of God. I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot be in God’s Kingdom. I tell you the truth, no one can ever enter the Kingdom of God unless you are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at My saying you must be born again. [Jesus…John 3:3-7]
If you have never been born again,
or you are not sure whether you have been born again,
or you have been living your life as a lukewarm Christian and would now like to recommit your life and enter into a deep and intimate relationship with Christ Jesus in preparation for the soon coming marriage supper of the Lamb…
then I counsel you to get alone with God, read the solemn marriage vows you must make to become the bride of Christ and thereby be born-again, [https://preservechristianfamily.org/2019/01/21/bride-of-christ/], and with sincerity of heart from within the depths of your being, acknowledge before God, “I DO.”
He walks with me and He talks with me: