‘The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.’ 1 Timothy 1.5
To have a pure heart sounds like an impossible dream. We can probably try to clean up our hearts a bit, but total purity sounds a tall order! Perhaps the reason why a pure heart is the first ‘ingredient’ of love is because to be loving comes from being loved. Out of his love for us, God has given us a pure heart; this is not something for which we strive, but rather something we receive from God.
Purity of heart is what God has given us through the death of Jesus. We can say all too easily that Jesus took away our sins, but the challenge is to return to this truth on a daily basis. As you turn to God each day, confessing those things you have done wrong, you can be assured that he totally forgives you; your sins are removed from you with not a single record or trace of them left behind as far as God is concerned. In this way, you become clean and pure. Purity of heart is seeing yourself as God sees you.
However, it doesn’t end there. It is not just about receiving this cleansing, but also about recognising it and acting upon it. If God is willing to forgive your sins, and the sins of the world, then who are you to hold on to the sins of others? If God forgives them, then so must you. Purity of heart is also about seeing others as God sees them.
If you are troubled by something you have done in the past, even though you have confessed it many times, repeat these three words and take them to heart so that they become true for you: ‘I am forgiven’.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission
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