Selfishness as Sin 17

Luke 6:31 “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 “If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 “If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. 35 “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

When Christ first appeared in His public character, He displayed so much kindness, compassion and benevolence in healing the sick, relieving the distressed, and preaching the gospel to the poor, that He was almost universally beloved as well as admired…To anyone less acquainted with the human heart than Christ was, they would have appeared to be His real friends. (Nathaniel Emmons, 1745-1840, Selfishness, International Outreach, 2009)

The power of the sinful nature is such that it will hide itself from sinners. One vital aspect of the sinful nature is pride and pride thinks so highly of self that it will go to great lengths to hide self from self. The proud heart that is full of self-love can go to great lengths to repent of external sin, yet it can never do so as it is always self and self-love that is trying to repent of sin. Trying to repent of sin by the power of sin is an impossible task, so surely it is clear that trying to repent of sin by the power of self-love and pride is impossible. Repenting of some if not many external sins is possible for self-love, but again that is an effort of pride to hide the very nature of sin from our own hearts. True evangelism will not try to get selfish sinners under the power of self-love to repent of external sins only, but instead it will show sinners just how wicked their hearts are and how only a free and sovereign grace can and will give them a new heart.

Repentance is something that is clearly taught in Scripture, so we must deal with it if we are to be biblical. However, we do not repent in order to be saved, but instead when a sinner has a new heart it will repent by grace alone. When the heart is granted true repentance and is turned from self-love and utter selfishness to being controlled by the love of Christ, then sinners begin to repent of other things as well. The difference is that now they have a new heart and they will truly repent of sins because they have a repentant heart that has Christ dwelling in the soul and repentance is granted by grace. The soul that is bound to self-love cannot truly repent of anything as long as it is in bondage to a selfish heart. The message of this repentance given by sovereign grace, however, is hated by sinners and it is not in accordance with their selfish heart and as such they will react strongly toward it.

Sinners are encouraged to read the Bible and pray in our day, and as such they should. But what is it that sinners will see in the Bible when they are in bondage to selfish hearts? They will misread and misinterpret it every time. Sinners will see the need of faith in order to be saved, so they will set out thinking that they can believe. They will see that they need to repent, so they will set out to repent in the power and love of self. When Scripture is read by unconverted sinners, unless they are taught they will always read it through the lenses of a selfish heart. This is why reading the Bible can be a dangerous thing for sinners unless they are taught, though we must not dismiss the sovereign hand of God who can use the Scriptures as He is pleased to do so. But reading the Bible is not a magical thing for people. The Pharisees searched the Scriptures thinking that in them they would have eternal life. So modern people in the power of selfish hearts read the Bible and think that they have life.

Sinners are taught to pray, but they only pray with selfish hearts in charge. Will God hear the prayers of those who have the great idol of self in the heart with nothing but love for self in the heart when they pray? God does not hear the prayers of the wicked, but that wickedness is not just the external sins but of the unrepentant heart still in the power and bondage of self-love. When sinners pray for things that have benefit to natural things and come from their selfish hearts with no true love for the glory of God, how can those prayers do anything but contribute to their damnation? Sinners need free-grace in order to pray.

What we must see is that true repentance from a selfish heart to a heart that loves God is necessary to be saved, to read the Bible, and to pray. When true repentance is taught to sinners who have selfish hearts, they will hate this and respond in anger to the messenger unless God gives them ears to hear. In our day there will be no large edifices built for churches to meet in with this teaching unless God moves to bring awakening and revival. In our day there will be no large numbers of converts brought in because God has hardened our hearts to where it seems almost all are evangelizing according to the self-love of sinners and as such sinners do not truly repent. All of their repentance comes from their sinful hearts rather than a true repentance that God works where they are given new hearts and a true repentance. Until hearts are changed by free-grace men will not love free-grace and when men don’t love free-grace they don’t love the true Gospel of grace alone and are still in bondage to their selfish hearts.

2 Responses to “Selfishness as Sin 17”

  1. Bill Says:

    Jonathan Edwards wrote: “Though God be sovereign in the work of conversion, yet this is certain that if you continue careless about conversion and neglecting the means of it, you never will be converted. Yet God don’t convert persons without means, and therefore if you continue careless about your conversion, and negligent of the means of it, it will be unreasonable for you ever to hope to obtain it. God carries on his work by means and therefore those that don’t use the means can’t expect to obtain the end.”

    It is important to encourage sinners to seek God using the means He has provided.

  2. Richard Smith Says:

    It IS important to encourage sinners to seek God using the means. The balance, however, is that the Pharisees and the leaders of the Jews searched the Scriptures thinking that in them they had eternal life (John 5:39-40). They searched the Scriptures from a selfish heart thinking that they could obtain life by their own efforts. A selfish heart that is looking for salvation by its own heart misses the point. A person that is seeking according to truth searches the Scriptures crying out to God to open his or her eyes to see the truth. That person is seeking to be delivered from his own selfish heart and knows that it is a bondage to him or her.

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