Selfishness as Sin 68

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)

As the miser or lover of money loves money for what money will do for self, so it seems as if the whole world loves the Redeemer only because they think He loves them. This selfish motive seems to be that is presented to people in the vast amount of religious circles. If you will give money to me, then God will heal you. If you will give money to me, then God will give you a lot more money. The selfish heart takes the holy things of God and makes them utterly filthy with the vomit of hell (selfishness). Men will love God as long as they think that He loves them and will give them worldly things for what they do.

One thing that a selfish heart does is become the center and focus for all that it does. Instead of God being the center and focus, self becomes the center and focus. What happens when self is the center and focus of our hearts? Then self is an idol that we serve rather than the living God. Instead of loving God with all of our being we love self with all of our being. Instead of the love of Christ controlling us, we are controlled by the love of self. Jesus said that His disciples would be known by their love for each other, but that was a true love that came from Him rather than a reciprocal self-love that flows among the unregenerate whether they are religious or not. This is to say that a selfish person loves self in disregard to the true good of all others in the universe. When one man thinks of his own pocket book more than the welfare of his nation, we think of that as treason. But what of the man who thinks of himself more than the whole universe and of God Himself? That is precisely what a selfish heart does.

The selfish heart loves self and does all for self in disregard for the true good of other individual humans and the whole human race. The selfish heart loves self and does all for self in disregard of God and His glory. When the Lord is pleased to open our minds and hearts and show us the horrible nature of a selfish heart, we can see what miserable creatures we are and what misery selfish creatures must have forever. When the external niceness and all the trappings of civilization and culture are taken away, we can see what bare selfishness looks like. It is one human being held into existence by God and yet that human being hates that God and hates all other human beings except for what they can do to fulfill the selfish desires of the one. The sight of our own selfish hearts should drive us to our knees crying out to God to deliver us from ourselves and by His free-grace give us new hearts and a true love for Him and our neighbors. How disgusting and vile we will appear to ourselves if God is pleased to give us one sight of true selfishness and how it is in our own hearts. However, behold the glory of the free-grace of God in saving selfish and proud sinners by the non-selfishness and humble Savior.

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