The purity of our soul is of the utmost importance. The Messiah taught that only the pure in heart shall see God (Matthew 5:8), yet the Scriptures also say, “no man shall see Me, and live.” (Exodus 33:20). So what is it? Can we see God’s face or not? Yes, we can, but at great cost. The price is our lives. It is evident that to be pure in heart is to be dead to self, by means of suffering in the flesh to deprive it by no longer living according to its lust, but to the will of God. (1 Peter 4:1-2). For anyone to teach that you can see God face to face without telling you that you must deny yourself (Luke 9:23-24) and crucify your flesh along with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24), is preaching a different Gospel from Yeshua’s. In essence that person is a hireling trying to sell a cheap lie, with empty promises like a salesman in an infomercial, “but wait there’s more, if you act now you can get a free helicopter that, get this, shoots knives!” Yes, that was a bit exaggerated, nonetheless that is the type of buffoonery anyone offers when teaching that you can see God’s face any other way than what the Word says.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8
So, how does one become pure? The prophet David says, “The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;” (Psalm 19:8). Jesus stated “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.” (Matthew 6:22). Being enlightened by understanding the commandments brings light to our whole body; not our physical bodies, but our inner man. The Apostle John said that when we walk in the light (commandments) as Jesus did, then the blood of Jesus will wash us of our sins (1 John 1:7). The Apostle Peter also explained our sanctification was when we “purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,” (1 Peter 1:22). We are purified not just by our understanding but devout obedience to the truth. Obedience is an action. This coincides with what the Apostle John stated concerning light. Barnabas, associate of the Apostle Paul, spoke on the true Sabbath, how that day is sanctified by a people and that we are to sanctify ourselves.
“Behold, to-day will be a thousand years.” (Psa_90:4; 2Pe_3:8) Therefore, my children, in six days, that is, in six thousand years, all things will be finished. “And He rested on the seventh day.” This meaneth: when His Son, coming [again], shall destroy the time of the wicked man, and judge the ungodly, and change the sun, and the moon, and the stars, then shall He truly rest on the seventh day. Moreover, He says, “Thou shalt sanctify it with pure hands and a pure heart.” If, therefore, anyone can now sanctify the day which God hath sanctified, except he is pure in heart in all things, we are deceived. Behold, therefore: certainly, then one properly resting sanctifies it, when we ourselves, having received the promise, wickedness no longer existing, and all things having been made new by the Lord, shall be able to work righteousness. Then we shall be able to sanctify it, having been first sanctified ourselves. Further, He says to them, “Your new moons and your Sabbath I cannot endure.” (Isa_1:13) (1)
Barnabas explains that the only way for the true Sabbath to be sanctified, which is the millennial reign of Christ, is to purge all evil from ourselves first and then That Day will purge all those who are wicked from this earth. So, in what way are we to purify ourselves? The Greek word for purify is ‘katharos’ (G2513) and it speaks of “being free from all corrupt desires, cleansed from all things that are forbidden.” (2) One of the ways to purify ourselves is by means of fasting. Hermas was instructed by an angel on the way to fast to bring a purification of our hearts.
“Be on your guard against every evil word, and every evil desire, and purify your heart from all the vanities of this world. If you guard against these things, your fasting will be perfect.”
“Keep this flesh pure and stainless, that the Spirit which inhabits it may bear witness to it, and your flesh may be justified. See that the thought never arise in your mind that this flesh of yours is corruptible, and you misuse it by any act of defilement. If you defile your flesh, you will also defile the Holy Spirit; and if you defile your flesh [and spirit], you will not live.”
“God alone is able to heal them, for to Him belongs all power. [But be on your guard now, and the all-powerful and compassionate God will heal former transgressions], if for the time to come you defile not your body nor your spirit; for both are common, and cannot be defiled, the one without the other: keep both therefore pure, and you will live unto God.” (3)
Hermas was instructed to show how the actions and deeds of the body defile our inner man and how they are connected to one another. They affect each other in either a good or bad way. We can judge if a person is pure of heart by their deeds, good or bad, as the wise Solomon said, “Even a child is known by his deeds, whether what he does is pure and right.” (Proverbs 20:11). We know people by their fruit (Matthew 12:33) whether it is fruit to God by dying to the lust of the flesh or bearing fruit to death by way of sinful passion (Romans 7:4-5). Clement of Alexandria takes us to a deeper understanding of this.
“For in ourselves, by the three measures are indicated three criteria: sensation of objects of sense, speech, – of spoken names and words, and the mind, – of intellectual objects. The Gnostic, therefore, will abstain from errors in speech, and thought, and sensation, and action, having heard “that he that looks so as to lust hath committed adultery;” (Mat_5:28) and reflecting that “blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God;” (Mat_5:8) and knowing this, “that not what enters into the mouth defileth, but that it is what cometh forth by the mouth that defileth the man. For out of the heart proceed thoughts.” (Mat_15:11, Mat_15:19) This, as I think, is the true and just measure according to God, by which things capable of measurement are measured, the decad (10) which is comprehensive of man; which summarily the three above-mentioned measures pointed out. There are body and soul, the five senses, speech, the power of reproduction – the intellectual or the spiritual faculty, or whatever you choose to call it… and the tenth division, we must reach to the knowledge of God, to speak briefly, desiring the Maker after the creation.” (4)
Clement shows through the Word how we are to measure the purity of our hearts by thought speech and our actions. The inward senses are a gauge to expose the sin, or godliness we have within ourselves and in others. This is where we grow in discernment, based not on what we feel, as our “feelings” can be misleading. However, there are churches who teach that discernment comes by what we feel. They teach that we’re supposed to discern what we are spiritually feeling using our natural senses. This is pure fiction, as the Jedis’ from Star Wars movies are taught to reach out with their “feelings”. Purity comes by the Word being revealed to us, washing our minds and our actions, thus producing fruit after that seed.
Many are saying “we need to get ready” however, without any instruction to prepare, how can we? This is a good start to help us understand where we are, in regard to purity and what it is that God wants us to produce in order to see Him face to face. Let us walk in the illuminating light of God’s revealed Word, purify our souls through obedience to that light, and our soul and mind be transformed to His likeness. To God be the glory, amen.
1. Barnabas-Epistle Pt. 2 Ch. XV, Vol. 1
2. Thayer’s Dictionary
3. Hermas the Shepherd Book 3 Pt.1 Vol. 2
4. Clement-Stromata Book 2 Ch. XI, Vol. 2