Selfishness as Sin 40

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)

In the paragraph above we see what moral monsters human beings are in the eyes of God. We see that the most cultured people in the world are living in a hideous way before the living God covering themselves with filth and with even more filth coming from their hearts. We see that the actors and actresses of Hollywood who pretend to be someone as a living are in fact pretending to be righteous to themselves and others. We see that those who are rich in this world are incredibly impoverished in the world to come (apart from the few who have Christ). We see the powerful politicians are weak and helpless against their own lusts for power and honor. All of those people live in a way that is opposite to God, opposite to His law of love, and they do those things in a way that is against His kingdom. It is sometimes easier to see these things in others, especially when they are famous. Clearly what is thought to be the upper echelon of society live in obvious enmity against God.

But from Scripture we see that Jesus reserved His hardest words for the religious elite. Could it be that the worst of people in this sense are some of the most religious? Could it be that some of the worst people are those who pretend to speak and write for God when in fact they are only doing it for themselves? The vile heart of a man who would speak biblical theology and do it for the sake of obtaining honor for himself is on display in the presence of God. The wretchedness of a minister (in name) who would use the name of Christ in order to obtain honor for himself is a wretched act of idolatry. Imagine how wicked it is in the sight of God to speak of His glories and wonders and yet that only be a way for a man to obtain honor for himself!

It takes humble men and women for God to advance His kingdom in, which is really the reign and rule of Christ by grace in the souls of human beings. A selfish heart is a proud heart and as such it is in direct opposition to the kingdom of God and in reality a selfish heart fights the kingdom of God with its every breath. It may be true that a minister in name may do a lot or apparent good and may be orthodox, but that same man may be unconverted and as such have a selfish heart and so all he does is for himself. As the Pharisees sought honor from men in all that they did, so men today can do the same damnable things.

It takes far more than orthodox theology and niceness to be a Christian and/or a minister. It takes free-grace to take a heart and deliver it from the bondage and dominion of sin and the devil to the kingdom of Christ. The glory of free-grace shines forth in delivering sinners from the dominion of selfish hearts to where instead of fighting the reign and rule of Christ by their selfish hearts they seek Christ for delivery from the vestiges of selfish hearts. Christ does not just deliver sinners from the guilt of sin, but He delivers them from the power and dominion of sin as well. No, He does not perfect them in this life, but they are under His dominion rather than the complete dominion of sin. Saved sinners are under the dominion of grace and they live by that free-grace. They don’t live by sin and by their own strength, they live by grace.

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