Selfish “Christianity” 8

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.

The power of selfishness on religion and professing “Christianity” is perhaps more vast than the human mind can imagine. We either think of God (as triune) as focused on human beings (us, me) or we think of Him focused on Himself and His own glory. We either think of being motivated to “serve” Him out of love for Him and who He really is or we think of being motivated out of love for self. We either think of holiness as being motivated by the things of self and self-interests or we think of holiness as being out of love for Him. There is simply no way to escape the two so-called ways of approaching Christianity and one of them (selfishness) is not Christianity at all.

I Corinthians 13:3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

While we have many ways of motivating people to feed the poor, it is usually based on selfish interests in this life or the next. Notice that even if one totally impoverishes self to feed the poor and does not have true love, there is no true benefit to the person. There is no real profit. In other words, self is still on the throne and self is doing all for self. It is self that is giving up all of its properties for the sake of self, not really for the glory of God and not really for the sake of the poor.

We hear many messages about self-sacrifice and sacrificial giving of money and things, but the text just above teaches us that we can give up our lives and give up our life in an excruciatingly painful way and yet without love there is no profit (eternal or present) at all. When a person dies for the sake of self, it is nothing but an idolatrous act and is tantamount to suicide. The self never dies unless it is God who works death to self in us by grace alone. If it is possible to give up all one has and even our lives and yet that be done for self rather than for love, isn’t it at least possible that many professing Christians are deceived by self? Isn’t it possible that ministers are putting pressures on people to be part of religious acts and all for the sake of self? Instead of truly deny self, all the apparent acts of self-denial are only puffing up and strengthening self. How utterly deceptive!

Oh how possible it is that many, many people are being deceived by their feelings being aroused by selfish motives in the things of religion. Oh how they will give money and perhaps time and effort to do things, but they have never died to self and as such there is nothing they do that is out of reverence for the true God and love for Him. Their flesh hates God and so they do all for a false god which is really their sinful self working up a god that it can serve, but of course it is sinful self making a god in its own image. Self has come up with its own god and so it is deceived into thinking that it is serving the true God while it is doing nothing but in the service and love of self. Self can love a life of ease and self can love a life of hardship, but either way it is self that is loved and served rather than God. Self fits very well in professing Christian circles as religion is a great way for self to love and serve self. Could it be that self is the real god of many professing Churches?

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