Selfishness as Sin 28

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.

The selfish love of sinners has no moral goodness in it because it is no obedience to the divine law. The law requires them to love God with all the heart, and to love their fellow men as themselves. But when they love themselves because they are themselves, and love others only because they have received or expect to receive benefit from them, do they obey the divine law? Do they feel towards God as they would that He should feel towards them? Or do they feel towards others as they would that others should feel towards them? Does their selfish affection in the least degree answer the demands of that law which requires pure, disinterested love? It is morally impossible for sinners to love God supremely, and their fellow men impartially, from a selfish heart. Let their love to God or man rise ever so high, it can have no moral goodness in it, because it is not obedience to the divine law which requires nothing but pure, holy, disinterested love. (Nathaniel Emmons, 1745-1840, Selfishness, International Outreach, 2009)

In this BLOG I would like to focus on the next to last sentence from the quote above, though some of it will be covering some of the same ground as earlier. However, this is utterly vital information and information that men and women should realize describes their moral and spiritual state, which is to be dead in sins and trespasses and by nature a child of wrath (Eph 2:1-3). It tells them that they have no ability to do the least thing that pleases God in their hearts. A selfish heart which is shorthand for a heart full of sinful self and pride and a heart that out of that self and pride is full of sinful and idolatrous love for self and as such does all out of sinful self-interest. The selfish heart loves itself and revolves around itself and does all and intends all to serve self. Clearly, then, a selfish heart cannot keep the Great Commandments nor any of the Ten Commandments.

The selfish heart is full of love for sinful self and self-centered self, so this selfish heart is devoid of the love of the true God who commands that all things be done out of love for Him and His glory. The selfish heart loves self rather than God. The selfish heart loves all for self and whatever it does in the realm of religion or in civil things is out of love for self rather than God. While this selfish heart may appear as righteous and good in the eyes of the world, this person is a gross idolater in the eyes of God and is at enmity with Him in all those outwardly good things that are done. The selfish heart may appear as righteous and good to those in the church, but once again that selfish heart does all its religious activities out of love for self and so it is attempting to use the things of God to build itself up in its own eyes as well as to gain the admiration and honor of others. Oh how wicked this selfish heart really and truly is.

We can now look at the first two of the commandments as examples. The selfish heart is in fact its own god and as such it always has another god in the presence of the true God. How wicked it is to do all for self rather than the true God. How wicked it is to serve the self-god in the presence of the living God. How utterly vile a person must appear in the eyes of God (who is a jealous God) to always be in the loving embrace of the idol of self and to bow down and worship self in all that a person does. We must see how our hearts appear to the true God in light of Scripture and the enlightening work of the Spirit or our self-love will blind us to our vicious idolatry. While a selfish heart is too proud to bow to a wooden idol or it may not bow to the idol of money in its own mind, a selfish heart is blinded to the idol of self as it serves self with love and adoration. This self has no true love to the true God and no true love to neighbors, but instead loves for its own good and honor.

The selfish heart is also at odds with the 2nd Commandment. It does not truly worship the living God, but instead it worships itself. As seen in the paragraphs above, the idol of self is indeed the idol that the selfish heart worships which is a direct violation of this command. It is also true that the selfish heart will “worship God” as it sees fit and in accordance with the desires and inclination of its own heart. We are to worship the true God as He sets out and when we change that to ways we like it is in reality a worship of self. When preachers preach what they want instead of the Word of God they are in reality guilty of false worship since God commands true preaching of the true God in worship.

Finally, the only thing that can deliver sinners from such wicked hearts is God Himself and He only does this by free-grace. This is why Arminian preachers and professing Reformed preachers don’t preach free-grace as they are always leaving room for sinners to have something to do. Leaving sinners something to do in their own power is a false gospel and as such is false worship and leads to a false god. Selfishness, then, destroys all morality, the true God, and the true Gospel in its own mind and heart as it grasps and clings to the throne of the self-god. Self is a hideous and wicked sin that is far more evil than we can imagine, but it is to be like the devil rather than the living God who made men as His own image.

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