Pastor Rich tells the story (better than I do!) of a time when he worked at a service station and they had a car brought in that was not very well taken care of. The engine was dirty and the oil had not been changed often. They put the car up and, rather than just changing the oil, left the plug open and continued to pour new, good oil into it. Eventually, all the grime and gunk washed out and the motor ran like new.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus walks His disciples through a series of statements of blessings (or happy statements). Over the last weeks, we’ve seen how Jesus says…
-you’re happy when you are spiritually broken
-you’re happy when you mourn that brokenness
-you’re happy when you realize you cannot fix that brokenness
-you’re happy when you long (hunger and thirst) to be healed/rescued
-you’re happy when you forgive others for their brokenness.
Now the next statement Jesus takes us to is one that doesn’t seem to connect with reality.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.Matthew 5:8 NIV
Pure in heart.
Pure? 100% undefiled? Void of all impurities???
Who does that include? Not me! Maybe just brand new children? Is that what Jesus is saying? Only the completely innocent will see God?
Only the pure, the holy, the righteous can stand in the presence of the Almighty God who is holy beyond our understanding.
Do you qualify? Are you “pure in heart”? I’m guessing you would say “not I”?
Remember though, Jesus seems to be walking His disciples somewhere with His words.
No one is pure in heart except our Lord. Unless…
Remember the engine? Oil didn’t just have to be poured in, but the gunk poured out?
What is the key to the beatitudes? What is the oil that must be poured in and out?
As mentioned last time, the gospel hinges on mercy. Unmerited favor. Not just received, but also given to others.
When a person embraces mercy from the Lord and freely gives it to others, a deep and profound cleansing occurs, a newness is given, and resurrection takes place.
As we pour out the old through repentance, the Spirit pours in the new life in abundant mercy.
The one who embraces this is left without fault, for the blood of Jesus has cleansed them of all sin. And if they are cleansed of all sin through the washing in and through of mercy, what is left?
God does not merely reveal a life that is unreachable, but rather lifts us up to heights unimaginable.
May we receive the abundant cleansing oil of mercy in us and through us that we may see God with pure hearts and clean hands! Only with Him is this possible!