Selfishness as Sin 52

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.

Bellamy [Joseph] believed that much of the religion of his day was defective because it simply appealed to the selfish interests of men. He argued that if God is set forth as a Being who is simply dedicated to doing good to His creatures there is nothing about such a God to offend or contradict the personal welfare of the carnal mind, thus nothing objectionable as far as the lost man is concerned. The Arminian preachers were telling sinners that God was doing all He could to promote their best interests. But Bellamy argued that no natural man would object to such a God, thus there is no reason for the conviction of sin. In True Religion Delineated, he states, “True if God were such an one [if God were dedicated to seeking the happiness of man as His chief end, editor], then the most wicked man in the world could not but love him. Self-love would make it natural. Even publicans love those who love them, and are good to those who are kind to them (Matthew 5). Did men firmly believe God to be such an one, they could not, indeed, possibly be at enmity against Him. Self-love would not admit of it. Men would not need any grace to make them love God. Nature would make them love Him. They could not but love Him, so long as they love themselves. The point is that it does not take a supernatural work of grace in the heart of man to cause the sinner to love a God who is dedicated to the sinner’s own good. But it does take a “divine light” from God to turn the lost man to see the glory of God and dedicate himself to a God whose great cause is to magnify Himself. (From John F. Thornbury’s Introduction, True Religion Delineated, by International Outreach.)

In logic there is the simple “if A, then B” form of an argument. This is called the modus ponens. If something truly is A, then B will necessarily be included and be true. A cannot be true without B also being true. For example, if Joe is alive (A) then Joe is breathing (B). Joe is breathing, therefore Joe is alive. Another example, if the moon is shining at night (A), then the sun has not burned out (B). The moon is shining; therefore the sun has not burned out. These simple illustrations are to point out some of the argument of Bellamy just above. If the sinful nature of man is seen in his selfishness, then a god that is devoted to the worldly good of man will be loved by man. Involved in the very nature of man is his selfish heart that loves worldly self and all that has to do with self. When preachers do nothing but present a god that longs for and seeks the worldly good of men, then men will not and cannot do anything but love that god. This means that men will not see their natural enmity against the true God and so they will not understand their sin and so the Gospel of grace alone.

As long as natural man loves himself in the worldly way and all that will do good to him, he will love the god that is preached by all who are trying to reach men in accordance with the selfish heart of man. While Scripture is quite clear that the true God is holy and will not acquit the wicked, the selfish heart of man longs to keep his selfish heart and all things that are in line with his selfish heart. The selfish heart of man wants to keep his selfish heart and his pride and avoid hell which is for the eternal place for all the proud. The god that is preached in what seems to be the vast majority of places today is one that selfish and unregenerate men cannot help but love. It does no good to tell men that the Great Commandment is to love God in an effort to show them the depths of their sin and how much they need free-grace, for they think that they already love God. Indeed the love a god that they have falsely come to believe in. But again, their hearts cannot do anything but love the false god that is set forth from modern pulpits because this false god does not hate sin and does all for the worldly good of human beings.

When the false god that men will love in their unregenerate nature is preached and taught, then men will not see that they are enemies of God and His holiness and they do not see and understand that they must be born from above in order to love the true God. These men do not need grace in order to love the false gods because their very nature makes it impossible for them not to love the false gods that are preached in our day. The true and living God does all for the glory of His own name and stands opposed to the selfish hearts of men who do all for the sake of their own name. The god that is preached in the modern day would have no enemies from the natural men if what is said about him is true. The living God loves Himself while the natural man loves himself. The two are opposed in all things in reality, yet the god that is preached today seeks the good of worldly man. The true God is not like that and yet if He were He would be an idolater who loves men more than Himself. The failure to preach that the natural man is selfish and does all for himself leads to a false idea and a false god who is an idolater.

The natural man is in such a grip of selfishness and pride that he does not see himself and his sin and as such he will change the living God to be like himself rather than seek the Lord for true repentance in order to be like the true God. While this shows the horror of what appears to be the great trouble in America today, that is precisely what Arminian theology does and that is precisely what a practical Arminian does even if s/he claims to be Reformed. The Arminian is calling on men to believe based on some ability or freedom in the soul of that person rather than trying to get them to see the nature of their sin and the true nature of God. When the Arminian is calling on men to believe, he is trying to entice that person to make a choice based on the selfish nature of man. This is not the true about man or God. Oh how we need God to open our eyes to see Him and His truth!

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