Selfishness as Sin 39

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)

One of the greatest issues with sinful hearts is that of pride and its brat of self-righteousness. The proud heart is blind to its utter spiritual poverty and its great indebtedness for the sins it has committed. The proud heart rationalizes its sin away and proudly thinks of the external things it does that appear good as righteousness. However, it is blind to spiritual reality. It does not see that without a regenerate heart and without Christ dwelling in that heart the soul is hopelessly lost in pride and sinful self-love. It does not see that it is in darkness and that instead of being like God in holiness, truth, and love it is like the devil in selfishness and pride. It does not see how badly it needs grace to be humbled from its pride and how it needs Christ to be restored to the moral image of God.

The fallen soul, fallen into selfishness as to its motives and intents, is not in conformity to God and as such is quite unlike God and even opposite of Him. Jesus Christ is the perfect image of God and only He can restore these souls. But in being unlike God, the fallen sinner is in full disobedience to His holy law in all that the sinner does. The law is only kept out of love and the law can only be kept when Christ is in the soul working the fruit of His Spirit in the soul that it may love God. The law is but a reflection of Christ as He loved His Father and continues to love His Father. We see the reason that Christ came and saved sinners in John 6 and John 17.

John 6:37 “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. 38 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.

John 14:31 but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here.

John 17:1 Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, 2 even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. 3 “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.

Jesus did all He did out of love to the Father. It is in His love for the Father that we see true conformity to the Father and to the Great Commandments from which all the other commands come. This is also taught by the apostles and one example is Romans 13:10: “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Jesus did all He did out of love and the selfish heart does all it does out of sinful self-love. Jesus was both law-giver and law-keeper. Fallen man, however, does all out of sinful self-love and is opposite to God and is in conformity to the devil.

What righteousness can man rightly and justly claim when all he does out of his selfish heart is opposite to God and like the devil? What righteousness can man rightly and justly claim when all he does out of his selfish heart is a violation of God’s holy law of love? Man’s heart is more deceitful than all else and he lives in the deception of his own heart and in the deceitfulness of the evil one and his scheming. Not only is he deceived about who God is, but about who he is and about what true righteousness is. Man thinks of himself as basically good and apart from a few flaws and mistakes that he is basically a good person. He is incredibly deceived. Some men see a need for Christ to finish or make up for what they could not do, but they don’t see that everything they have done and do is sinful and very sinful. They do not see that apart from Christ they can do nothing spiritual or good. Men desperately need Christ, but they are bound in their selfish hearts with great blindness and love for self.

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