The sixth beatitude deals with the human heart. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). Jesus was likely drawing from Psalm 24:3-4, which says, “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not ever swear deceitfully.” Jesus beatitude, as well as Psalm 24, make it clear that only those with a pure heart will see God.
This presents a problem, though, because the one who says that only the pure in heart will see God (Jesus) is the same one who points out the deptavity of the human heart. As D. A. Carson put it:
Jesus’ assessment of the natural heart, however, is not very encouraging. Elsewhere in Matthew’s Gospel he says, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (15:19; cf. Jer. 17:9; Rom. 1:21; 2:5).
The human heart, “the center of the entire personality,” is sinful and corrupt. Every person is born with a wicked heart. Therefore, no one can see God based on their purity of heart.
Thankfully, it is possible to have our hearts made clean. In Psalm 51, David confesses his sin, confident that God can create a clean heart in him (vs. 10). He prays in repentance and faith for a clean heart. Likewise, we can receive clean hearts through repentance and faith in Christ. When we turn from sin and trust Christ, our hearts are purified and we are enabled to see God. This means that, ultimately, our ability to see God is based on Christ’s work and not our own. Praise God for Christ’s death and imputed righteousness, whereby sinners receive a clean heart and can see God “now spiritually…and in fullness after Christ returns” (Osborne, Matthew, ZECNT, Kindle Location 3352)!