What does Matthew 5:8 mean?
ESV: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
NIV: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
NASB: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
CSB: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
NLT: God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.
KJV: Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Verse Commentary:
Jesus adds another "blessed are" to His growing list of those who should rejoice in the way God sees them. Today, we refer to this litany as the Beatitudes. Jesus now says that the "pure in heart" are blessed, for they will see God. This doesn't mean they'll be happy, but it does mean they should not feel hopeless.

Modern Christians might associate "purity" with a freedom from sexual sin or moral failure. Those who first heard Jesus' words may have connected "purity" to performing the law of Moses, or perfectly following the rules of the Jewish teachers. This would carry the sense of being completely free from sin.

However, Jesus focused much more on the hearts of His listeners, instead of their ability to maintain the rituals of the law. He preached against obeying the law in action only, rather than out of true love for God. "Purity," in its most clear and original meaning, refers to the idea of something being singular, unified, un-mixed, or consistent. The pure in heart are focused from the inside out on one single thing. In this case, that thing is God.

Jesus promises here that, when the kingdom of heaven arrives, those who are pure in their devotion to God will see Him. This reveals a remarkable idea about God's kingdom. Most Jews would have learned at an early age that nobody can see God and live; He is too holy. Jesus, though, says that those who enter into the kingdom of heaven will see God.
Verse Context:
Matthew 5:1–12 contains the beautiful Beatitudes delivered by Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount. The series of nine sentences describes an unlikely group of people as blessed: the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those hungry for righteousness, and the merciful. All are blessed because of their part in the kingdom of heaven. This includes those persecuted for the sake of righteousness and on account of Jesus. Instead of despairing, they should rejoice for the great rewards they will receive in heaven. These are not prerequisites for salvation; instead, they are the natural expressions of saving faith in the life of those who know Christ.
Chapter Summary:
The Sermon on the Mount contains some of Jesus' most challenging teaching. It begins with the unlikely blessings of the Beatitudes. Jesus' disciples must do good works in order to be a powerful influence: as the salt of the earth and light of the world. The superficial righteousness of the Pharisees is not good enough to earn heaven. Sins of the heart, such as angry insults and intentional lust, are worthy of hell just as much as adultery and murder. Easy divorce and deceptive oaths are forbidden. Believers should not seek revenge. Instead, God intends us to love our enemies and pray for our persecutors. In short, we should strive to be perfect, as God is perfect.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 5 follows Matthew's description of the enormous crowds that were following Jesus (Matthew 4:25). One day, Jesus sits down on a hill to teach them, in an address we now call the Sermon on the Mount. He describes as blessed those who are poor in spirit, who mourn, and who are persecuted. Christ also explains how God's standards of righteousness go far beyond behaviors and speech; they also include our thoughts and attitudes. Meeting God's standards means perfection. Chapter 6 continues this sermon, with more examples of Jesus clarifying God's intent for godly living.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
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