Sermon 3159. The Sixth Beatitude
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, AUGUST 26, 1909.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, APRIL 27, 1873.
"Blessed aire the pure in heart: for they shall see God." Matthew 5:8.
[In the year 1873, Mr. Spurgeon delivered what he called "a series of sententious homilies" on the Beatitudes. After an introductorydiscourse upon the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes as a whole, he intended to preach upon each one separately, buteither illness or some other special reason prevented him from fully carrying out this purpose. There are, however, eightSermons upon the Beatitudes-See Sermons #422, Volume 7-THE PEACEMAKER; #2103, Volume 35-THE HUNGER AND THIRST WHICH ARE BLESSED;#3155, Volume 55-THE BEATITUDES; #3156, Volume 55-THE FIRST BEATITUDE; #3065, Volume 53-THE THIRD BEATITUDE; #3157, Volume55- THE FOURTH BEATITUDE; #3158,.]
IT was a peculiarity of the great Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, that His teachingwas continually aimed at the hearts of men. Other teachers had been content with outward moral reformation, but He soughtthe source of all the evil, that He might cleanse the spring from which all sinful thoughts, words and actions come. He insistedover and over again that until the heart was pure, the life would never be clean. The memorable Sermon upon the Mount, fromwhich our text is taken, begins with the benediction, "Blessed are the poor in spirit," for Christ was dealing with men'sspirits-with their inner and spiritual nature. He did this more or less in all the Beatitudes and this one strikes the verycenter of the target as He says not, "Blessed are the pure in language, or the pure in action," much less, "Blessed are thepure in ceremonies, or in raiment, or in food," but "Blessed are the pure in heart" O Beloved, whatever so-called "religion"may recognize as its adherent, a man whose heart is impure, the religion of Jesus Christ will not do so! His message to allmen is still, "You must be born-again." That is to say, the inner nature must be Divinely renewed or else you cannot enteror even see that Kingdom of God which Christ came to set up in this world. If your actions should appear to be pure, yet ifthe motive at the back of those actions should be impure, that will nullify them all! If your language should be chaste, yetif your heart is reveling in fowl imaginations, you stand before God not according to your words, but according to your desires-accordingto the set of the current of your affections, your real inward likes and dislikes-you shall be judged by Him. Externalpurityis all that man asks at our hands, "for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart"-and the promisesand blessings of the Covenant of Grace belong to those who are made pure in heart-and to no one else.
In speaking upon our text, I want to slow you, first, that impurity of heart is the cause of spiritual blindness. And secondly,that the purification of the heart admits us to a most glorious sight-"the pure in heart shall see God." Then I shall haveto show you, in the third place, that the purification of the heart is a Divine operation which cannot be performed by ourselves,or by any human method-it must be worked by Him who is the thrice-holy Lord God of Sabaoth!
I. First, then, I have to remark that IMPURITY OF HEART IS THE CAUSE OF SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS-the cause of a very large part,if not of all of it.
A man who is intoxicated cannot see clearly. His vision is often distorted or doubled. But there are other cups, besides thosewhich intoxicate, which prevent the mental eyes from having clear sight. And he who has once drunk deeply of those cups willbecome spiritually blind, and others, in proportion as they imbibe the noxious draughts, will be unable to see afar off.
There are moral beauties and immoral horrors which certain men cannot see because they are impure in heart Take, for instance,the covetous man, and you will soon see that there is no other dust that blinds so completely as gold dust. There is a tradewhich many regard as bad from top to bottom, but if it pays the man who is engaged in it, and he is of a
grasping disposition, it will be almost impossible to convince him that it is an evil trade! You will usually find that thecovetous man sees no charm in generosity. He thinks that the liberal man, if he is not actually a fool, is so near akin toone that he might very easily be mistaken for one. He himself admires that which can be most easily grasped-and the more ofit that he can secure, the better is he pleased. The skinning of flints and the oppression of the poor are occupations inwhich he takes delight! If he has performed a dirty trick in which he has sacrificed every principle of honor, yet if it hasturned out to his own advantage, he says to himself, "That was a clever stroke!" And if he should meet with another of hisown kind, he and his fellow would chuckle over the transaction and say how beautifully they had done it. It would be uselessfor me to attempt to reason with an avaricious man-to show him the beauty of liberality-but, on the other hand, I would notthink of wasting my time in trying to get a fair opinion from him as to the justice of anything which he knew to be remunerative.You know that some years ago there was a great fight in the United States over the question of slavery. Who were the gentlemenin England who took the side of the slave-owners? Why, mostly Liverpool men who did so because slavery paid them! If it hadnot done so, they would have condemned it. And I daresay that those of us who condemned it, did so the more readily becauseit did not pay us! Men can see very clearly where there is nothing to be lost either way, but if it comes to the a matterof gain, the heart being impure, the eyes cannot see straight! There are innumerable things that a man cannot see if he holdsa sovereign over each of his eyes-he cannot even see the sun then-and if he keeps the gold over his eyes, he will become blind.The pure in heart can see. But when covetousness gets into the heart, it makes the eyes dim or blind.
Take another sin-the sin of oppression. There are men who tell us that in their opinion, the persons who are in the highestpositions in life are the very beauty and glory of the nation-and that poor people ought to be kept in their proper placesbecause they were created on purpose so that "the nobility" might be sustained in their exalted position, and that other highlyrespectable persons might also gather to themselves any quantity of wealth. As to the idea of men needing more money for theirservices, it ought not to be encouraged for a single moment, so these gentlemen say! And if the poor needlewoman toils andstarves on the few pence she can earn, you must not say a word about it-there are "the laws of political economy" that governall such cases-so she must be ground between the wheels that abound in this age of machinery and nobody ought to interferein the matter. Of course, an oppressor cannot or will not see the evil of oppression. If you put before him a case of injusticewhich is as plain as the nose on his face, he cannot see it because he has always been under the delusion that he was sentinto the world with a whip in his hand to drive other people about, for he is the one great somebody and other people arepoor nobodies, only fit to creep under his huge legs and humbly ask his leave to live. In this way, oppression, if it getsinto the heart, completely blinds the eyes and perverts the judgment of the oppressor.
The same remark is true concerning lasciviousness. I have often noticed, when men have railed at religion and reviled theholy Word of God, that their lives have been impure. Seldom, if ever, have I met with a case in which my judgment has deceivedme with regard to the lives of men who have spoken against holy things. I remember preaching, once, in a country town justabout harvest time-and in commenting on the fact that some farmers would not let the poor have any gleanings from their fields-Isaid I thought there were some who were so mean that if they could rake their fields with a small tooth comb they would doso. Thereupon a farmer marched noisily out of the place in anger-and when he was asked why he was so wrathful, he answered,with the greatest simplicity, "Because I always rake my fields twice." Of course, he could not perceive any particular pleasurein caring for the poor and neither could he submit with a good conscience to the rebuke that came home to him so pointedly!And when men speak against the Gospel, it is almost always because the Gospel speaks against them. The Gospel has found themout-it has charged them with the guilt of their sins and has arrested them! It has come to them like a policeman with hisdark lantern and turned the bull's eye full upon their iniquity and, therefore, it is that they are so indignant. They wouldnot be living as they are if they could see themselves as God sees them-they would not be able to continue in their filthiness,corrupting others as well as ruining themselves if they could really see! And as these evil things get into the heart, theyare certain to blind the eyes.
The same thing may be said with regard to spiritual Truth as well as moral Truth. We frequently meet with persons who saythat they cannot understand the Gospel of Christ. At the bottom, in nine cases out of ten, I believe that it is their sinwhich prevents their understanding it. For instance, last Lord's-Day evening, [See Sermon #3154, Volume 55-concerning the
FORBEARANCE OF GOD.] I tried to preach to you upon the claims of
God and sought to show you what right He has to us. There may have been some of my hearers who said, "We do not recognizethe claims of God to us." If any one of you talks like that, it is because your heart is not right in the sight of God, forif you were able to judge righteously, you would see that the highest claims in all the world are those of the Creator uponHis creatures and you would at once say, "I recognize that He who has created has the right to govern- that He should be Masterand Lord who is both greatest and best-and that He should be Lawgiver who is Infallibly wise and just, and always kind andgood." When men practically say, "We would not cheat or rob our fellow men, but as for God, what does it matter how we treatHim?" The reason is that they are unjust in heart and their so called justice to their fellow men is only because their mottois, "honesty is the best policy," and they are not really just in heart, or else they would at once admit the just claimsof the Most High.
The great central Doctrine of the Atonement can never be fully appreciated until a man's heart is rectified. You have probablyoften heard such remarks as these, "I don't see why there should be any recompense made to God for sin. Why could He not forgivetransgression at once and have done with it? What need is there of a substitutionary Sacrifice?" Ah, Sir! If you had everfelt the weight of sin upon your conscience. If you had ever learned to loathe the very thought of evil. If you had been brokenheartedbecause you have been so terribly defiled by sin, you would feel that the Atonement was not only required by God, but thatit was also required by your own sense of justice! And instead of rebelling against the Doctrine of Vicarious Sacrifice, youwould open your heart to it and cry, "That is precisely what I need!" The purest-hearted people who have ever lived are thosewho have rejoiced to see God's righteous Law vindicated and magnified by Christ's death upon the Cross as the Substitute forall who believe in Him, so that while God's mercy is displayed in matchless majesty, intense satisfaction is felt that therecould be a way of reconciliation by which every attribute of God should derive honor and glory-and yet poor lost sinners shouldbe lifted up into the high and honorable position of children of God! The pure in heart see no difficulty in the Atonement-allthe difficulties concerning it arise from the lack of purity there.
The same may be said of the equally important Truth of Regeneration. The impure in heart cannot see any need of being born-again.They say, "We admit that we are not quite all that we should be, but we can easily be made all right. As to the talk abouta new creation, we do not see any need of that. We have made a few mistakes which will be rectified by experience. And therehave been some errors of life which we trust may be condoned by future watchfulness and care." But if the unrenewed man'sheart were pure, he would see that his nature has been an evil thing from the beginning and he would realize that thoughtsof evil as naturally rise in us as sparks do from a fire! And he would feel that it would be a dreadful thing that such anature as that should remain unchanged. He would see within his heart jealousies, murders, rebellions and evils of every kind-andhis heart would cry out to be delivered from itself. But just because his heart is impure, he does not see his own impurityand does not and will not confess his need to be made a new creature in Christ Jesus. But as for you who are pure in heart,what do you now think of your old nature? Is it not the heavy burden that you continually carry about with you? Is not theplague of your own heart the worst plague under Heaven? Do you not feel that the very tendency to sin is a constant griefto you and that if you could but get rid of it altogether, your Heaven would have begun below? So it is the pure in heartwho see the Doctrine of Regeneration-and those who see it not, see it not because they are impurein heart.
The same remark is true concerning the glorious Character of our blessed Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. Who has ever foundfault with that except men with bat's eyes? There have been unconverted men who have been struck with the beauty and purityof Christ's life, but the pure in heart are enamored of it. They feel that it is more than a human life, that it is Divineand that God Himself is revealed in the Person of Jesus Christ, His Son. If any man does not see the Lord Jesus Christ tobe thus superlatively lovely, it is because he is, himself, not purified in heart, for if he were, he would recognize in Himthe mirror of all perfection and would rejoice to do reverence to Him. But, alas, it is still true that, as it is with moralmatters, so is it with that which is spiritual and, therefore, the great Truths of the Gospel cannot be perceived by thosewhose heart is impure!
There is one form of impurity which, beyond all others, seems to blind the eyes to spiritual Truth, and that is duplicityof heart. A man who is simple-minded, honest, sincere, childlike, is the man who enters the Kingdom of Heaven when its dooris opened to him. The things of the Kingdom are hidden from the double-minded and the deceitful, but they are plainly revealedto the babes in Grace-the simple-hearted, transparent people who wear their heart upon their sleeve. It is quite certain thatthe hypocrite will never see God while he continues in his hypocrisy. In fact, he is so blind that he cannot see anything,and certainly cannot see himself as he really is in God's sight! The man who is quite satisfied with the name of a Christian,without the life of a Christian will never see God nor anything at all until his eyes are Divinely opened. What does it matterto anybody else what his opinion is upon any subject whatever? We would not care to have praise from the man who is double-mindedand who is practically a liar, for while he is one thing in his heart, he endeavors to pass himself off for another thingin his life.
Formalism, too, will never see God, for formalism always looks to the shell and never gets to the kernel. Formalism licksthe bone, but never gets to the marrow. It heaps to itself ceremonies, mostly of its own invention, and when it has attendedto these, it flatters itself that all is well, though the heart itself still lusts after sin. The widow's house is being devouredeven at the very time when the Pharisee is making long prayers in the synagogue or at the corners of the streets. Such a mancannot see God! There is a kind of reading of the Scriptures which will never lead a man to see God. He opens the Bible, notto see what is there, but to see what he can find to back up his own views and opinions. If the texts he needs are not there,he will twist others round till he, somehow or other, gets them on his side. But he will only believe as much as agrees withhis own preconceived notions! He would like to mold the Bible, like a cake of wax, to any shape he pleases, so, of course,he cannot see the Truth and he does not want to see it.
The crafty man, too, never sees God. I am afraid for no man as much as for the crafty, the man whose guiding star is "policy."I have seen rough sailors converted to God and blasphemers, harlots and great sinners of almost all kinds brought to the Saviorand saved by His Grace. And very often they have told the honest truth about their sins and have blurted out the sad truthin every outspoken fashion. And when they have been converted, I have often thought that they were like the good ground ofwhich our Savior spoke-with an honest and good heart in spite of all their badness. But as for the men of snake-like nature,who say to you, when you talk to them about religion, "Yes, yes," but do not mean it at all-the men who are never to be trusted-Mr.Smooth-Tongue, Mr. Facing-Both-Ways, Mr. By-Ends, Mr. Fair-Speech and all that class of people-God Himself never seems todo anything but let them alone! And as far as my observation goes, His Grace seldom seems to come to these double-minded menand women who are unstable in all their ways. These are the people who never see God.
It has been remarked by a very excellent writer, that our Lord probably alluded to this fact in the verse which forms ourtext. In Oriental countries the king is seldom to be seen. He lives in retirement and to get an interview with him is a matterof great difficulty. And there are all sorts of plots and plans, and intrigues and, perhaps, the use of backstairs influence.But in that way a man may at last get to see the king. But Jesus Christ says, in effect, "That is not the way to see God."No. No one ever gets to Him by craftiness, by plotting, planning and scheming-but the simple-minded man who goes humbly toHim, just as he is, and says, "My God, I desire to see You. I am guilty and I confess my sin, and plead with You for Yourdear Son's sake, to forgive me." He it is who sees God.
I think there are some Christians who never see God as well as others do-I mean some Brothers and Sisters who, from theirpeculiar constitution, seem naturally of a questioning spirit. They are generally puzzled about some doctrinal point or otherand their time is mostly taken up with answering objections and removing doubts. Perhaps some poor humble country woman whosits in the aisle and who knows, as Cowper says, nothing more than that her Bible is true, and that God always keep His promises,sees a great deal more of God than the learned and quibbling Brother who vexes himself about foolish questions to no profit.
I remember telling you of a minister, who, calling on a sick woman, desired to leave a text with her for her private meditation.So, opening her old Bible, he turned to a certain passage which he found that she had marked with the letter P. "What doesthat P mean, my Sister?" he asked. "That means precious, Sir. I found that text very precious to my soul on more than onespecial occasion." He looked for another promise, and against this he found in the margin T and P. "And what do these lettersmean, my good Sister?" They mean tried and proved, Sir, for I tried that promise in my greatest distress and proved it tobe true. And then I put that mark against it so that the next time I was in trouble, I might be sure that that promise wasstill true." The Bible is scored all over with those Ts and Ps by generation after generation of Believers who have testedthe promises of God and proved them to be true!. May you and I, Beloved, be among those who have thus tried and proved thisprecious Book!
II. Our second remark was that THE PURIFICATION OF THE HEART ADMITS US TO A MOST GLORIOUS SIGHT-"The pure in heart shall seeGod"
What does that mean? It means many things. I will briefly mention some of them. First, the man whose heart is pure, will beable to see God in Nature. When his heart is clean, he will hear God's footfall everywhere in the garden of the earth in thecool of the day. He will hear God's voice in the tempest, sounding in peal on peal from the tops of the mountains. He willbehold the Lord walking on the great and mighty waters, or see Him in every leaf that trembles in the breeze. Once get theheart right and then God can be seen everywhere! To an impure heart, God cannot be seen anywhere, but to a pure heart Godis to be seen everywhere-in the deepest caverns of the sea, in the lonely desert, in every star that gems the brow of midnight!
Further, the pure in heart see God in the Scriptures. Impure minds cannot see any trace of God in them. They see reasons fordoubting whether Paul wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews, they doubt the canonicity of the Gospel according to John-and thatis about all that they ever see in the Bible. But the pure in heart see God on every page of this blessed Book. As they readit devoutly and prayerfully, they bless the Lord that He has been so graciously pleased to reveal Himself to them by His Spiritand that He has given them the opportunity and the desire to enjoy the Revelation of His holy will.
Besides that, the pure in heart see God in His Church. The impure in heart cannot see Him there at all. To them, the Churchof God is nothing but conglomeration of divided sects. And looking upon these sects, they can see nothing but faults, failuresand imperfections. It should always be remembered that every man sees that which is according to his own nature. When thevulture soars in the sky, he sees the carrion wherever it may be. And when the dove on silver wings mounts up to the azure,she sees the clean winnowed corn wherever it may be. The lion sees his prey in the forest and the lamb sees its food in thegrassy meadow. Unclean hearts see little or nothing of good among God's people, but the pure in heart see God in His Churchand rejoice to meet Him there!
But seeing God means much more than perceiving traces of Him in Nature, in the Scriptures and in His Church-it means thatthe pure in heart begin to discern something of God's true Character. Any man who is caught in a thunderstorm and who hearsthe crash of the thunder and sees what havoc the lightning flashes work, perceives that God is mighty. If he is not so foolishas to be an atheist, he says, "How terrible is this God of the lightning and the thunder!" But to perceive that God is eternallyjust and yet infinitely tender-and that He is sternly severe and yet immeasurably gracious, and to see the various attributesof the Deity all blending into one another as the colors of the rainbow make one harmonious and beautiful whole-this is reservedfor the man whose eyes have been first washed in the blood of Jesus, and then anointed with heavenly eye salve by the HolySpirit! It is only such a man who sees that God is always and altogether good and who admires Him under every aspect, seeingthat all His attributes are beautifully blended and balanced, and that each one sheds additional splendor upon all the rest.The pure in heart shall in that sense see God, for they shall appreciate His attributes and understand His Character as theungodly never can.
But, more than that, they shall be admitted into His fellowship. When you hear some people talk about there being no God andno spiritual things, and so on, you need not be at all concerned at what they say, for they are not in a position to warrantthem in speaking about the matter! For instance, an ungodly man says, "I do not believe there is a God, for I never saw Him."I do not doubt the truth of what you say, but when I tell you that I have seen Him, you have no more right to doubt my wordthan I have to doubt yours! One day at an hotel dinner table, I was talking with a Brother minister about certain spiritualthings, when a gentleman who sat opposite to us, and who had a table napkin tucked under his chin, and a face that indicatedhis fondness for wine, made this remark, "I have been in this world for 60 years and I have never yet been conscious of anythingspiritual." We did not say what we thought, but we thought it was very likely that what he said was perfectly true-and thereare a great many more people in the world who might say the same as he did! But that only proved that he was not consciousof anything spiritual-not that others were not conscious of it! There are plenty of other people who can say, "We are consciousof spiritual things. We have been, by God's Presence among us, moved, bowed, carried forward and cast down, and then liftedup into joy and happiness, and peace-and our experiences are as true phenomena, at least to us, as any phenomena under Heaven!And we are not to be beaten out of our beliefs, for they are supported by innumerable undoubted experiences." "He that dwellsin the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." "But there is no such secret place," onesays, "and no such shadow." How do you know that? If someone else comes and says, "Ah, but I am dwelling in that secret placeand abiding under that shadow," what will you say to him? You may call him a fool if you like, but that does not prove thathe is one-though it may prove that youare one, for he is as honest a man as you are-and as worthy to be believed as you are.
Some years ago, a lawyer in America attended a religious meeting where he heard about a dozen persons relating their Christianexperience. He sat with his pencil in his hand and jotted down their evidence as they gave it. At last he said to himself,"If I had a case in court, I should like to have these persons in the witness box, for I should feel that if I had their evidenceon my side, I should gain the case." Then he thought, "Well, I have ridiculed these people as fanatics, yet I would like theirevidence in court upon other matters. They have nothing to gain by what they have been saying, so I ought to believe thatwhat they have said is true." And the lawyer was simple enough, or rather, wise enough-and pure enough in heart-to look atthe matter rightly! And so he also came to see the Truth of God and to see God. Many of us could testify, if this were thetime to do so, that there is such a thing as fellowship with God even here on earth, but men can enjoy it only in proportionas they give up their love of sin. They cannot talk with God after they have been talking filthiness. They cannot speak withGod as a man speaks with his friend if they are accustomed to meet companions in the alehouse and delight to mingle with theungodly who gather there. The pure in heart may see God and do see Him- not with the natural eyes, and far from us is sucha carnal idea as that-but with their inner spiritual eyes they see the great God who is Spirit! And they have spiritual, butvery real communion with the Most High.
The expression, "They shall see God," may mean something else. As I have already said, those who saw Oriental mo-narchs weregenerally considered to be highly-privileged persons. There were certain ministers of State who had the right to go in andsee the king whenever they chose to do so. And the pure in heart have just such a right given to them to go in and see theirKing at all times. In Christ Jesus they have boldness and access with confidence in coming to the Throne of the heavenly Grace.Being cleansed by the precious blood of Jesus, they have become the ministers, that is, the servantsof God, and He employsthem as His ambassadors and sends them on high and honorable errands for Him-and they may see Him whenever their businessfor Him entitles them to an audience with Him!
And, lastly, the time shall come when those who have thus seen God on earth shall see Him face to face in Heaven. Oh, thesplendor of that vision! It is useless for me to attempt to talk about it. Possibly within a week some of us will know moreabout it than all the divines on earth could tell us. 'Tis but a thin veil that parts us from Glory! It may be rent asunderat any moment and then at once-
"Far from a world of grief and sin, With God eternally shut in"- the pure in heart shall fully understand what it is to seeGod/May that be your portion, Beloved, and mine, also, forever and ever!
III. Now, lastly, and very briefly, I have to remind you that THIS PURIFICATION OF THE HEART IS A DIVINE
And believe me when I tell you that it is never an unnecessary work. No man (except the Man, Christ Jesus), was ever bornwith a pure heart. All have sinned, all need to be cleansed-there is none good-no, not one!
Let me also assure you that this work was never performed by any ceremony. Men may say what they please, but no applicationof water ever made a man's heart any better! Some tell us that in baptism, by which they mean baby sprinkling, as a rule,they regenerate and make members of Christ, children of God and inheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven! But those who are sprinkledare no better than other people. They grow up in just the same way as others. The whole ceremony is useless and worse thanthat, for it is clean contrary to the example and teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ! No aqueous applications, no outward ceremoniescan ever affect the heart!
Neither can the heart be purified by any process of outward reformation. The attempt has often been made to work from theoutside to the inside, but it cannot be done-you might as well try to give a living heart to a marble statue by working uponthe outside of it with a mallet and chisel! To make a sinner pure in heart is as great a miracle as if God were to make thatmarble statue live and breathe and walk!
The heart can only be purified by God's Holy Spirit. He must come upon us and overshadow us. And when He thus comes to us,then is our heart changed, but never before that. When the Spirit of God thus comes to us, He cleanses the
soul. To follow the line of our Savior's teaching in the Chapter before us-by showing us our spiritual poverty- "Blessed arethe poor in spirit." That is the first work of God's Grace-to make us feel that we are poor, that we are nothing, that weare undeserving, ill-deserving, Hell-deserving sinners! As the Spirit of God proceeds with His work, the next thing that Hedoes is to make us mourn-"Blessed are they that mourn." We mourn to think that we should have sinned as we have done. We mournafter our God. We mourn after pardon. And then the great process that effectually cleanses the heart is the application ofthe water and the blood which flowed from the pierced side of Christ upon the Cross. Here it is, O Sinners, that you willfind a double cure from the guilt and from the power of sin! When faith looks to the bleeding Savior, it sees in Him not merelypardon for the past, but the putting away of the sinfulness of the present! The angel said to Joseph, before Christ was born,"You shall call His name, Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins."
The whole process of salvation may be briefly explained thus. The Spirit of God finds us with foul heart and He comes andthrows a Divine Light into us so that we see that we are foul. Then He shows us that being sinners, we deserve to endure God'swrath and we realize that we do. Then He says to us, "But that wrath was borne by Jesus Christ for you." He opens our eyesand we see that "Christ died for us"-in our place! We look to Him, we believe that He died as our Substitute and we trustourselves with Him. Then we know that our sins are forgiven us for His name's sake and the cry of pardoned sin goes throughus with such a thrill as we never felt before! And the next moment the forgiven sinner cries, "Now that I am saved, now thatI am pardoned, my Lord Jesus Christ, I will be Your servant forever! I will put to death the sins that put You to death andif You will give me the strength to do so, I will serve You as long as I live!" The current of the man's soul ran before towardsevil, but the moment that he finds that Jesus Christ died for him and that his sins are forgiven him for Christ's sake, thewhole stream of his soul rushes in the other direction towards that which is right! And though he still has a struggle againsthis old nature, yet from that day forth the man is pure in heart-that is to say, his heart loves purity, his heart seeks afterholiness, his heart pines after perfection.
Now he is the man who sees God, loves God, delights in God, longs to be like God and eagerly anticipates the time when heshall be with God and see Him face to face. That is the process of purification-may you all enjoy it through the effectualworking of the Holy Spirit! If you are willing to have it, it is freely proclaimed to you. If you truly desire the new heartand the right spirit, they will be graciously given to you! There is no need for you to try to fit yourselves to receive them.God is able to work them in you this very hour! He who will wake the dead with one blast of the resurrection trumpet can changeyour nature with the mere volition of His gracious mind! He can, while you sit in this house, create in you a new heart, renewa right spirit within you and send you out as different a man from what you were when you came in as if you were a new-bornchild! The power of the Holy Spirit to renew the human heart is boundless! "Oh," says one, "would that He would renew my heart,that He would change my nature!" If that is your heart's desire, send up that prayer to Heaven right now! Let not the wishdie in your soul, but turn it into a prayer and then breathe it out unto God and listen to what God has to say to you. Itis this-"Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Or this- "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved"-savedfrom your love of sin, saved from your old habits and so completely saved that you shall become one of the pure in heart whosee God!
But perhaps you ask, "What is it to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?" It is to trust Him, to rely upon Him. Oh, that we couldall rely upon Jesus Christ now! Oh, that that troubled young man over there could come and trust in Jesus! You will neverget rid of your troubles till you do! But, dear Friend, you may be rid of them this very moment if you will but believe inJesus! Yes, though you have struggled in vain against your evil habits, though you have wrestled with them sternly and resolved,and re-resolved, only to be defeated by your giant sins and your horrible passions, there is One who can conquer all yoursins for you! There is One who is stronger than Hercules, who can strangle the hydra of your lust, kill the lion of your passionsand cleanse the Augean stable of your evil nature by turning the great rivers of blood and water of His atoning Sacrificeright through your soul! He can make and keep you pure within! Oh, look to Him! He hung upon the Cross, accursed of men, andGod made Him to be sin for us, though He knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. He was condemnedto die as our Sin-Offering that we might live forever in the love of God. Trust Him, trust Him! He has risen from the deadand gone up into His Glory, and He is at the right hand of God pleading for transgressors. Trust Him! You can never perishif you trust Him, but you shall live with ten thousand times ten thousand more who have all been saved by Grace, to sing ofa mighty Savior able to save to the uttermost all them that come unto God by Him!
God grant that you may all be thus saved, that so you may be among the pure in heart who shall see God and never leave offseeing Him. And He shall have all the Glory! Amen and Amen!