Selfishness as Sin 66

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.

Philippians 2:19 But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. 20 For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.

If sinners love themselves because they are themselves, and love others only because they suppose them to be subservient to their interest, then their affections are always selfish and sinful, let them rise ever so high, or extend ever so far. They often do love those who love them, very ardently. But they never love such persons so ardently as they love themselves. For all their love to others flows from love to themselves, and the streams can rise no higher than the fountain. Hence their most ardent and raised affections to others are as really selfish and sinful, as if they were ever so low and languid. Their nature is precisely the same whether they are stronger or weaker. It is morally impossible that their love to their friends or to their Creator should rise so high as to become disinterested or virtuous love…The same mercenary motives which induce them to love their intimate friends, may induce them to extend their regards to their country and to their Savior…Multitudes love their Redeemer because they think He loves them…It is exactly of the same nature as the love of the miser to his money…If it be criminal for one person to prefer his interest to a greater interest of another, it must be more criminal to prefer his interest to the greater interest of a nation, and for the same reason, it must be unspeakably more criminal still to prefer his interest to the whole interest of the universe. (Nathanael Emmons, Selfishness, International Outreach)

One of the moving motivations (mine) behind writing about the whole nature of selfishness as sin is to show just how deceptive religion can be if we don’t bother to look at the motives of our own hearts. We think of religion as making us better, but in fact religion (Christianity in form rather than the life of it) can make us worse and nothing deceives us more. Yes, I would argue that false forms of Christianity, while not true Christianity, are perhaps the worst forms of deception. Mercenary motives turn the doctrines of Christianity that are meant to be centered in God into forms of selfishness and disguise great errors into truths and comforts.

In many ways this should be shouted from the housetops that errors about Christianity are terribly deceptive and that many are out there in the modern day who are wolves disguised as sheep. The Bible speaks of wolves in sheep’s clothing. The Bible speaks of the devil disguising himself as an angel of light. The nicest people are in the pulpits of our land speaking smooth words that itching ears want to hear. People do not want to face up to their own wicked hearts and that all they have done is to pile up filthy rags of righteousness. People want to trust in themselves and their own righteousness. People want to think of themselves as basically good people.

What we find in professing churches are “programs” designed to make people feel good about themselves. People are trained to greet people and make them feel welcome. So-called music ministers design the music “service” around what people want to hear and they try to entertain them while they manipulate their feelings. The prayers are not for spiritual things, but are for physical “needs.” The so-called sermons never deal with sin beyond the mentioning of it (perhaps) and then Christ is talked about as a great helper. God is said to love all and desires all to be saved and as such it really just depends on you. God is said to love all and wants what is best for you and so that is interpreted as He wants me to have what I want to have.

The interests of ministers has to do with the number of people in the building, how much those people are giving, and perhaps the quality and size of the building. Those things are not the interests of Christ. People can be manipulated to come and give money and think that they are believers and love Christ and the things of Christ when they in fact hate Christ and the true Gospel. Huge and magnificent buildings are being built to the glory of the minister as he manipulates people into thinking that they are giving to God. The reality of the matter, however, is that the people are being deceived into thinking that they love God. Yes, that sounds harsh. But just remember that crowds of people followed Jesus when He gave them free food. What do people follow Him (at least in name) now for? What do they want to obtain from Christ? What are they willing to give and do if only they can soothe their conscience? What they never hear is the truth that the sovereign God saves by free-grace and cannot be moved by what the people do.

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