Selfish “Christianity” 20

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 quote by Weeks above in light of the Scriptures quoted hits the heart with power. There is simply no denying that the human heart will love to hear of a god that loves all equally and has all mercy. The human heart loves to hear of a god that loves him or her at all times just as the person is and will accept the person into heaven just as the person is. The human heart loves itself and all who it thinks loves self, so when the god that is so often portrayed to it loves that self the human heart will love that god. How the sinful heart loves to hear of the god that does not require a change of heart and leaves it all up to the human will to decide. The doctrine of hell is presented at times, but as Weeks says even that is presented in such a way that the selfish heart is not really threatened.

It is easily seen at this point how necessary it is to teach and preach the great truths about God as displayed in Christ. It is also easy to see just how necessary it is to preach these to religious people as well. The selfish heart is always trying to hide itself from others and itself in some way, and religious things is a primary way it tries to hide itself. The selfish heart cannot be hidden from the truth of God in Christ, yet this is what is going on within seemingly the vast majority of professing “Christianity” today. The selfish heart can pray to be forgiven of its sins because it does not want to be punished for them, but the selfish heart cannot even truly pray for forgiveness of sins. The heart that loves God wants to be forgiven of sin in order that God would be glorified and that He would dwell in the soul and so the soul can walk with God. The heart that loves God wants God and His glory and as such wants to be forgiven.

In many places we see the human writers of Scripture crying out for forgiveness for the sake of God. For example, “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Your name; And deliver us and forgive our sins for Your name’s sake” (Psa 79:9). The people of God love God and are concerned with His name’s sake. When the New Testament writers speak of praying in the name of Christ, this is the heart of that teaching. Our hearts must be broken from selfishness (though not perfectly until heaven) or we cannot even truly pray for forgiveness. Only a regenerate heart that has Christ dwelling in that heart as its life and has the fruit of the Spirit can ever truly pray at all.

The forgiveness of sins is not just some little prayer we utter words and God just automatically forgives, but instead it is the prayer of a heart that God has broken and delivered from selfishness (as to reigning power). Our prayer for forgiveness must always be in accordance with the first three petitions of the Lord’s Prayer and as such the cry of the heart must long for His glory and His presence as a motive in that prayer. Selfishness destroys our ability to have a true motive in prayer and without a true motive in prayer there is no true prayer. It does not matter how much people applaud a person’s ability to speak, without true preaching the person is not a true preacher. In the same way, a person can have his or her prayers (words of) applauded by others and yet those words do not make up true prayer.

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