Selfish “Christianity” 3

John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.

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.

John 7:7 “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.

John 15:24 “If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well.

Romans 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

And when, in addition to these measures, the general strain of what is said to sinners is adapted to work upon their selfish feelings and animal passions, as most of what I have heard has been, and some of it extremely well adapted to work up those feelings to a high pitch, it would be strange if some affections were not excited which they might readily mistake for true religion. When God is represented as desiring their salvation, without the least qualification, and that his desire for it is infinitely strong, what impenitent sinner, that has the least seriousness of mind, is not prepared to be pleased? If ” sinners love those that love them,” as our Lord assures us, they can love such a being as God is represented to be, without any change of heart. A God of all mercy, is just such a God as sinners desire. Will it be said that his justice is also brought into view, and that the terrors of hell are exhibited? True; but in what light are they exhibited? Is it not commonly in a light to which the selfish heart will as readily accord? WILLIAM R. WEEKS.

One of the most important issues that distinguishes the older version of Christianity (so to speak) that William Weeks represents and the modern version is how God is presented or represented to sinners. Notice how Romans 5:10 brings this out. Sinners are not just people who are somewhat ill-informed about God; they are the very enemies of God. This is at the heart of the biblical doctrine of reconciliation. In the true Gospel Jesus the Christ reconciles enemies, that is, unregenerate sinners are reconciled to God. Before that, however, they hated Him. While even this basic understanding of sinners being at enmity with God would be opposed, it is easily seen from Romans 5:10 (above) that this is what the doctrine means. Sinners must be reconciled to God and God must be reconciled to them. Apart from this basic idea of enmity between God and man, there is no meaning in reconciliation and there is no real meaning in the cross of Christ. If God had no wrath for sinners, then how could Christ satisfy that wrath on the cross?

Now, it is true that people do not walk around thinking about this, but people hate God from the depths of their being. When Jesus was on earth in bodily form, they hated Him and they put Him on the cross. Why is that? It is because He was the shining forth of the glory of God and people hate God. The Father was manifested through Jesus and when people hated Jesus they hated His Father as well. This is to say that when the truth of God is presented to sinners, it stands against them and their loves and they hate God.

When the modern Gospel (so-called) is declared to unregenerate sinners, they do not mind it at all. Some even love the modern teaching. Sinners love those who love themselves, so when a false god is presented to them and they are told that God loves them and earnestly desires them to be saved, the enmity they have toward the true God does not come out. The false god is one that is suited to their sinful hearts that are full of self-love. The false god is one that leaves them in control and is waiting on them to make the choice. The false god does not oppose them and their sin. The false god is not one who will send them to hell, or at least willingly. The false god is focused on them and their welfare just as they are. The false god just wants them to pray a prayer and a real repentance is not needed. The false god loves them in their sin and longs for them to pray the prayer.

Weeks commented that “the general strain of what is said to sinners is adapted to work upon their selfish feelings and animal passions… which they might readily mistake for true religion.” This is such an important point that it cannot be overstated. When the modern version of the Gospel is presented to lost sinners and it has been so watered down along with a false view of God, these sinners will indeed mistake their feelings for the work of true religion. The true God stands opposed to unregenerate sinners and their sin and is in no way obligated to them and is not waiting on them. He is sovereign and He alone can change their hearts according to His good pleasure. This is hated by sinners with every fiber of their being. Is this important enough to write and talk strongly about? Well, only if the true Gospel is important enough to write and talk strongly about. Is this really a vital issue? Well, once again, only if the glories of God and the salvation of sinners are vital enough to spend time on.

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