Selfishness as Sin 21

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 depravity of the heart is seen in that sinners loved Christ as long as He did what they wanted, but they hated Him and tried to kill Him when He manifested the glory of God and told them about their real nature. Sinners hate to be thought of and called sinners. In the modern day when it is thought that we are to build people up and only say positive things about them, telling people about the nature of sin is thought to be wrong and highly offensive. What it really does is to go after the self-righteousness of people and lift the lid off of the truth of God that they have worked so hard at suppressing. Men battle and battle to keep their naturalistic and humanistic way of looking at things and so they can dismiss and provide a reasonable justification for all that they do. When someone else comes along and cuts to their hearts, their selfish hearts respond with anger and jarred pride.

The glorious doctrine of justification by free-grace alone when set out and declared in truth will also set the selfish heart ablaze with enmity toward God. When preachers do as they almost always do and keep the edge out of justification then sinners will gladly embrace it. Modern preachers want to leave it in the power of sinners to say a prayer or make a choice in what they call justification by faith alone, but they leave out the issue of man’s depravity and the sovereign grace of God. When they do that they make faith out to be a work of man (though no always stated) and so men are left easy in their selfish hearts. When free-grace is proclaimed to be a real and true free-grace, the selfish hearts of the natural man rejects it with venom. Behind the truth of free-grace is that man is worthy of nothing but the wrath of God and can do nothing to move God to save him.

When the wrath of God is presented to man, and this is a necessary truth to set out free-grace, the selfish heart of man will see that God is opposed to him and intends great harm to him. The selfish heart which loves those who love it will respond with anger and denial. What we must understand, however, is that for the sinner to come to the point to understand justification by grace alone the sinner has to begin to understand something of the wrath of God. Free-grace teaches us that the wrath of God has to be satisfied by Christ and that only by Christ or grace is no longer free. This free-grace teaches us that for grace to be truly glorious, there is nothing good in man that would or could move God to save man. This free-grace teaches us that there is nothing that man can do to move God in the slightest to save him or this grace is not truly free.

As long as men think of grace as being more of a help that they cannot fully deserve, they will not understand the glory of God nor of the glory of the grace of God in Christ. As long as men think of grace as simply making up the little or even the lot that they cannot do themselves, they will not understand the true nature of the Gospel. The selfish heart of man will always love a god that will help him out as he wants, but the selfish heart will not love the true God when it is seen that it is God’s option to save or not save as He pleases. The selfish heart does not want to see itself as truly sinful and as truly helpless in inability. The selfish heart does not want to see itself as in utter and desperate need of free-grace in order to escape the fire of hell. The selfish heart, therefore, is full of self and that is precisely what the soul needs to be delivered from in order to be saved.

Until men understand the real nature of sin and that as selfishness (self-centeredness, pride, self-love), they will not truly understand the nature of grace alone and therefore the nature of the Gospel of free-grace alone. Jesus was truly kind, compassionate, and was true love incarnate at all times, so His provocative statements and opening the hearts of men to their sin was true love. Preachers and teachers show true love when they are willing to endure the anger of men to show them the truth of themselves and of free-grace. Without this showing men the truly selfish nature of their hearts, they will not understand the nature of free-grace.

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