Selfishness as Sin 31

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.

There is no evil affection, and no evil conduct, but what selfishness will, under certain circumstances, produce. It is the directly opposite affection to true benevolence, and therefore the root of all moral evil. It is the carnal mind, which is enmity against God, and not the subject to His law, neither indeed can be. It seeks personal interest, which is diametrically opposite to the glory of God and the general interest of His kingdom. It opposes the good of sinners themselves, and makes them, as the apostle says, “hateful, and haring one another.” It tends to spread misery and destruction through the universe. It makes creatures as bad as they can be, and would destroy them all, were it not for the power and wisdom of God, which are employed in restraining, directing, and overruling its pernicious influence. (Nathaniel Emmons, 1745-1840, Selfishness, International Outreach, 2009)

The selfish heart will always oppose the Law of God in the heart, if not the outward man as well. It is not subject o the law of God which at the heart of it is love for God and others. In always seeking its own personal interest, it is always opposite of the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom. By definition (Romans 3:23) sin is defined as falling short of the glory of God. What this shows us is that the selfish heart that always loves self and seeks its own glory, honor, and fleshly well-being is always opposite of the glory of God and as such sins in all that it does. Not only does it sin, but it has not a drop of good in it and so is completely and totally opposed to God and His glory. The selfish heart is completely full of selfishness and has no true love and no true goodness in it. All it does is out of an undiluted selfishness and is restrained by nothing but self-love and the sovereign hand of God.

The selfish heart is completely and totally opposed to others and itself. Titus 3:3 describes the selfish heart and that is precisely what it shows us. “For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.” This should chill us to the depths of our souls when we see what is going on around us if not in us. The selfish heart is foolish, so those who are guided by selfish hearts are foolish. This means if we have selfish hearts we are guided by fools. If we are around those with selfish hearts, we are in the company of fools. The selfish heart is clearly disobedient to all the commands of God as it has no true love at all, but the selfish heart is also deceived. It is deceived by virtue of that heart being full of selfishness always interpreting everything by the selfish heart.

The selfish heart is opposed to the good of sinners themselves and all others around them. The selfish heart is so deceived that it does not see that it is enslaved to the lusts and pleasures it indulges its selfish heart and flesh with. The selfish heart (as seen in the eyes of God and His truth) lives in malice and envy toward others. The selfish heart is opposed to the true good of others (spiritual good) and seeks its own good. The selfish heart will use others for its own selfish and sinful pleasures and not think a thing about it. The selfish heart is hateful toward others even when it is hiding behind niceness and a big smile. The selfish heart lives in the hate of others and it is also hated by other people with selfish hearts, which is all unconverted people regardless of their profession.

As the Westminster Shorter Catechism teaches us, sin brings man into an estate of sin and misery. When men are governed by selfish hearts which means that they are opposed to all true good, then men live in sin and seek sin and as such they bring misery upon themselves. When you have a nation full of selfish people, you will have a nation that is full of misery. When you have a planet that is full of selfish people, you will have a planet that is full of misery and as such the hearts of selfish men will covet the land and property of other nations and this will bring war. Selfish hearts will desire to use others and as such disease and illness will spread. Plainly put, we would self-destruct if God did not restrain us. There would be no salvation unless the free-grace interrupted us in our mad and hateful pursuits in bringing misery upon ourselves. Apart from free-grace there would be on true good in the human race. While sin is hateful in and of itself, it is the backdrop that sets out Christ and His grace as beautiful.

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