Selfish “Christianity” 9

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.

It is common to think of people as committing sins and think of the committing of those sins as the problem. However, while it is true that committing acts of sin is a problem, the bigger issue is where those sins come from and why they are committed. Another issue is that refraining from outward acts of sin can also be sinful. If we only refrain from sin from selfishness, then while it is better to refrain from sin than commit sin, even refraining from sin from selfish motives is not refraining from sin out of love for God. We are commanded to love God with our whole being and that would include why we refrain from sin as well. If we only refrain from stealing because of selfish motives, there is no love for God at all in that. Self would still be the chief love of the heart. This should show us something of what love is and how it is copied by self in I Corinthians 13.

4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

While many speak of love, it is usually something far different than the Bible teaches about. The text above tells us that love is patient. However, true love is not patient with sin. There are times when true love is not patient. We are also told that patience is a virtue, so striving for patience as a virtue can be nothing but what a selfish heart does. True love looks for the good of others in a spiritual sense as well as in other senses and true love is only communicated to the soul by God. Love is not so much as human activity as it is a sharing in the love of God. True love is patient with others for the right reasons and for the right heart, but there is a form of patience that comes from a selfish heart and that patience is nothing but sin. There are many who try to convince themselves that they have love when in fact their supposed love is the love of self and their patience is from a selfish heart.

Love is also kind, but this is something that is far different from being nice to people. Niceness and so-called good manners has replaced love in our day. When niceness is confused with love, then the ability to love others is within the human will rather than what comes from Christ. True kindness, however, at the very least includes a looking for the true welfare of the souls of others. Virtually anyone, even hardened criminals, can do acts that appear to be kind. But once again we can see that outward kindness can come from a selfish heart. A person can want to appear to be kind to others or even to think of self as kind when in fact the heart operates from nothing but selfishness. Self-love has a way of counterfeiting all aspects of love so that it appears as love, but that is humanistic in the way of thinking and selfish in the motives.

We must know that true love and patience and kindness can only come from God, but their counterfeits come from a selfish heart. The great danger is when the counterfeits are confused with spiritual reality. In our day niceness is confused with love and acts of kindness toward people only have the appearance of kindness rather than the root of the matter which is Christ. Oh how we need to examine our hearts to look for the root of the matter. True love is often thought of as being rude or out of line. True love will have the appearance to the natural man as something other than love as indeed Jesus was hated. The selfish love of people in doing outward acts of apparent kindness, however, will be thought of as genuine by the natural man as well. The world will hate true love as indeed it hated Jesus. The world loves selfish love as that is simply a way worldly people loves self. It is how people love those who love them.

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