THE OUTCOME OF A CLEAN HEART
David prayed, 'Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a
right spirit within me. . . . Restore unto me the joy of Thy
salvation; and uphold me with Thy free Spirit. Then will I teach
transgressors Thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto Thee'
(Ps. li. 10, 12, 13). He recognized that the blessing of a clean
heart would give him wisdom and power and the spirit to teach
sinners, and to so teach them that they would be converted. It is
the same truth that Jesus expressed when He said, 'First cast out
the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to
cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye' (Matt. vii. 5). The beam
is inbred sin; the mote is the transgressions that result from
inbred sin. The following are some of the results of a clean heart:
I. A clean heart filled with the Spirit makes a soul-winner out of
the man who receives the blessing. It was so on the day of
Pentecost, when the disciples, having their hearts purified by fire
and filled with the Holy Spirit, won three thousand souls to the
Lord in one meeting. With the blessing of a clean heart comes a
passion of love for Jesus, and with it a passionate desire for the
salvation and sanctification of men. It makes apostles, prophets,
martyrs, missionaries, and fiery-hearted soul-winners. It opens wide
and clear the channel of communion between God and the soul, so that
His power, the power of the Holy Ghost, works through him who has a
clean heart, surely convicting and graciously converting and
II. The blessing results in a constancy of spirit. The soul finds
its perfect balance in God. Fickleness of feeling, uncertainty of
temper, and waywardness of desire are gone, and the soul is buoyed
up by steadiness and certainty. It no longer has to be braced up by
vows and pledges and resolutions, but moves forward naturally, with
quietness and assurance.
III. There is perfect peace. The warring element within is cast out,
the fear of backsliding is gone, self no longer struggles for
supremacy, for Jesus has become all and in all, and that word in
Isaiah is fulfilled, 'Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose
mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee' (Isa. xxvi. 3),
and the soul is made possessor of 'the peace of God, which passeth
all understanding' (Phil. iv. 7)
The soul had 'peace with God' -- that is, a cessation of rebellion
and strife -- when converted, but now it has the 'peace of God,' as
the bay has the fullness of the sea. Anxiety about the future, and
worry about the present and past go. It took perfect faith to get a
clean heart, and perfect faith destroys fret and worry. They cannot
abide in the same heart. Said a saint, 'I cannot trust and worry at
the same time.' John Wesley said, 'I would as soon swear as fret.'
IV. Joy is perfected. There may be sorrow and heaviness on account
of manifold temptations, there may be great trials and perplexities,
but the joy of the Lord, which is his strength, flows and throbs
through the heart of him who is sanctified like a great Gulf Stream
in an unbroken current. God becomes his joy. David knew this when he
said, 'Then will I go . . . unto God my exceeding joy' (Ps. xliii.
Probably not all who have the blessing of a clean heart realize this
full joy, but they may, if they will take time to commune with God
and appropriate the promises to themselves. Jesus said, 'Ask, and ye
shall receive, that your joy may be full' (John xvi. 24.) And John
said, 'These things write we unto you, that your joy may be full' (I
John i. 4). And again Jesus said, 'I will see you again, and your
heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you' (John xvi.
This joy could not be beaten out of Paul and Silas with many
stripes, but bubbled up and overflowed at the midnight hour in the
dark dungeon, when their feet were in the stocks and their backs
were bruised and torn. It turned Madame Guyon's cell into a palace,
and Bedford Jail into an ante-room of Beulah Land and Heaven, from
which the saintly tinker saw the Delectable Mountains and the
Citizens of the Celestial City. Glory to God! It makes a death-bed
'soft as downy pillows are.'
V. Love is made perfect. To be born of God is to have Divine love
planted in the heart. 'Like begets like,' and when we are born of
God we are made partakers of His nature. And 'God is love.' But this
love is comparatively feeble in the new convert, and there is much
remaining corruption in the heart to check and hinder, if not to
destroy it; but when the heart is cleansed, all conflicting elements
are destroyed and cast out, and the heart is filled with patient,
humble, holy, flaming love. Love is made perfect. It flames upwards
towards God, and spreads abroad toward all men. It abides in the
heart, not necessarily as a constantly overflowing emotion, but
always as an unfailing principle of action, which may burst into
emotion at any time. It may suffer, being abused and ill-treated,
but it 'is kind.' Others may be promoted and advanced beyond it, but
it 'envieth not.' It may be subjected to pressure of all kinds, but
it vaunteth not itself.' It is not rash. It may prosper, but it 'is
not puffed up.' Love 'doth not behave itself unseemly,' or, as John
Wesley said, 'is not ill-bred.'
Love 'seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no
evil,' is not suspicious. Love 'rejoiceth not in iniquity, but
rejoiceth in the truth.' An evangelist was abused: his enemies were
professing Christians, but 'they backslid. His friends rejoiced, but
he grieved. His heart was full of love, and he could not rejoice in
the triumph of iniquity even over his enemies. Love 'beareth all
things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all
things.' Love 'never faileth' (I Cor. xiii. 4-8).
VI. The Bible becomes a new book. It becomes self-interpreting. God
is in it speaking to the soul. I do not mean by this that all the
types and prophecies are made plain to the unlearned man, but all
that is necessary to salvation he finds and feeds upon in the Bible.
He now understands the word of Jesus, 'Man shall not live by bread
alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God'
(Matt. iv. 4). Like Job he can say: 'I have esteemed the words of
His mouth more than my necessary food ' (Job xxiii. 12) and like
David, rejoices in it 'as one that findeth great spoil' (Ps. cxix.
162). Like the blessed man, he meditates therein day and night, that
he may observe to do according to all that is written therein, that
his profiting may appear to all.
VII. It begets the shepherd spirit, and destroys the spirit of
lordship over God's heritage. Peter was not like many that have
followed him, for instead of lording it over the flock, he wrote,
'The elders which are among you I exhort, who am . . . a witness of
the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that
shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking
the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for
filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's
heritage, but being ensamples to the flock' (i Pet. v.1-3). If the
cleansed man is a superior, it makes him patient and considerate; if
a subordinate, willing and obedient. It is the fruitful root of
courtesy, of pity, of compassion and of utterly unselfish devotion.
'The Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep ' (John x. II).
VIII. Temptation is quickly recognized as such, and is easily
overcome through steadfast faith in Jesus. The holy man takes the
shield of faith, and with it quenches all the fiery darts of the
IX. Divine courage possesses the heart. The sanctified man sings
with David, 'I will not fear: what can man do unto me?', (Ps. cxviii.
6). 'Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not
fear' (Ps. xxvii. 3). And with Paul, 'I can do all things through
Christ which strengtheneth me' (Phil. iv. '3)' for 'we are more than
conquerors through Him that loved us' (Rom. viii. 37).
X. There is a keener sense than ever before of the weakness of the
flesh, the absolute inability of man to help us, and of our own
utter dependence on God for all things. The pure heart sings
evermore, 'The Blood, the Blood -- is all my plea.'
XI. The cleansed man makes a covenant with his eyes, and is careful
which way and how he looks. He also remembers the words of Jesus,
'Take heed therefore how ye hear' (Luke viii. i8), and again, 'Take
heed what ye hear' (Mark iv. 24). Likewise he bridles his tongue and
seasons his words with salt, not with sugar; salt is better than
sugar for seasoning, but it is only for seasoning. He remembers:
'That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account
thereof in the day of judgment' (Matt. xii. 36). He does not despise
the day of small things, and he can content himself with mean
things. Finally, he realizes
That the common deeds of the common day Are ringing hells in the
and he lives as seeing Him who is invisible,' and with glad humility
and whole-hearted fidelity discharges his duty with an eye single to
the glory of God, without any itching desire for the honor that man
can give, or other reward than the ' well done' of the Lord.