Selfishness as Sin 33

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.

It [selfishness in the heart] 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 and goodness of God, which are employed in restraining, directing, and overruling its pernicious influence. Though sinners may love those which love them, and do good to those that do good to them, yet the nature of their feelings and conduct is still the same. Their apparent goodness is the essence of moral evil. Their partial love is general malevolence, and their best deeds are an abomination to the Lord. All their affections and actions terminate in themselves. They value and regard themselves more than all other beings put together, and whose interests they would sacrifice to promote their own. And can there be any thing virtuous, or amiable, or praiseworthy, in such a totally selfish love, which is disconformity to God, disobedience to His law, and its nature and tendency destructive of all the good of His holy kingdom? (Nathaniel Emmons, 1745-1840, Selfishness, International Outreach, 2009)

The paragraph just above penetrates and exposes the darkness and fog that so many live in, though indeed the fact that some see this does not show how much better they are but sets out the mercies of God in showing men their hearts. The light that the paragraph above may give if God blesses it to our hearts is beyond a simple blessing as such, but instead is an open window into the heart of sin in many ways. Sinners love themselves and as such they love those who love them and they do good to those that do good to them. However, and a huge however at that, their hearts are just as bad in doing that as those who are hating those who hate them and do evil to those who do evil to them. The reason is that the nature of their conduct is still the same. Whether a person loves others because the other is being nice to them or hates a person who is not being nice to them shows that the selfish heart is operating by the things of self rather than the things of God and especially love for God.

When a person loves others only because of being treated nicely or in accordance with the person’s selfish heart, that is to put self in the place of God and is to be at enmity with the true God and His Great Commandments. This clearly shows that outward goodness is only goodness in appearance and that outward goodness can be nothing more than a covering for the essence of moral evil. Outward goodness (only) is nothing but an apparent goodness and is the demonstration of the greatest evil when seen in light of Scripture. This is simply and plainly profound and when accepted from the heart (which only the illuminating work of the Spirit can do) will shine light upon the darkness of the fallen human heart. This should show men and women the nature of depravity, but also shines light upon the religion that the fallen human heart can come up with.

External religion that does not come from a regenerated heart (born from above) is a religion that is a vile thing in the heart of the living God. External religious devotion is not a devotion to God, but instead is a devotion to self and springs from nothing but love for self. External religion that is based on the thought that God loves everybody and so loves me is based on nothing but the selfish heart that loves those who love it. This selfish heart does what it does out of self-love and has no idea of the nature of true love that is of the nature of the true God and only those who are born from above share in. But to repeat in order to be clear, the religious devotion of people can be nothing but that which springs from a selfish heart and as such religious devotion can be the essence of moral evil.

If this basic truth would be taught faithfully in the professing churches in our nation (and other nations as well) there would be far less “churches” as the hearts of men would rise in opposition to God and they would not want to hear of such hateful things. The living God opposes all who love themselves and do all for themselves as those who violate the Great Commandment of loving Him with all of their being. Professing churches would shrink and go out of “business” as they could no longer preach a so-called gospel that was aimed at fulfilling the selfish nature of the human heart rather than one that sought to have fallen hearts seek the Lord for a new heart. When men saw that God was opposed to them, their selfish hearts, and intended great harm to them because of those selfish hearts they would see the enmity of their own hearts as they rose against the living God. Some would fall down and cry out for mercy and grace, but others would be hardened. But without the teaching of the selfishness of sin men will not see that their very best moral and religious actions are the essence of moral evil and as such they will not see their desperate need of Christ and a new heart.

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