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Purity of Heart (I) [Awakening Faith]
God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. (1 Timothy 6:15 – 16)
The happiness God promises us is limitless. Once you have gained this blessing, what is left to desire? By seeing God you possess all things. In the language of Scripture, to see is to have. “May you see the good things of Jerusalem” (Ps. 128:5) is the same as “May you possess the good things of Jerusalem.” When the prophet says, “May the wicked man be carried off and not see the glory of the Lord” (Isa. 26:10), he means, “May he not share in the glory of the Lord.”
One who has seen God has, in the act of seeing, gained all that is good: life without end, everlasting freedom from decay, undying happiness, a kingdom with no end, lasting joy, true light, unapproachable glory, perpetual rejoicing — in a word, the complete blessedness. This is the wonderful hope held out by the beatitudes. But the condition for seeing God is purity of heart, which causes me to wonder if purity of heart is something impossible, something beyond the power of our nature. If seeing God is dependent on purity of heart, and if Moses and Paul did not attain this vision — they say that neither they nor anyone else can see God (Ex. 33:20; 1 Tim. 6:16) — then this promise of Christ’s seems to be something impossible to realize.
What benefit is there to knowing how we can see God if we do not have the power to do it? As long as the way to heaven is impassible what do we gain by knowing about the happiness of heaven? It saddens and annoys us when we realize it is impossible to attain the good things we are deprived of! [Continued next week . . . ]
Gregory of Nyssa
Awakening Faith: Daily Devotionals from the Early Church
by James Stuart Bell and Patrick J. Kelly
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