Selfish “Christianity” 23

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 definition of sin as given in Scripture is that we all fall short of the glory of God, which is to say our sin is in not glorifying God in all we do. This is a profound teaching of Scripture and it teaches us that we are to live and do all for the glory of God. What we don’t do for the glory of God we do out of a motive that is greater than our motives for God. What motive would a selfish heart have to do anything? That selfish heart can only have motives from a selfish heart and cannot have a higher motive than that. Sinners desire all that they desire out of motives of self. Religious sinners desire God out of selfish motives as much as anyone desires anything else for selfish motives. Motives that are moved by self-love and self-interest are not motives that can possibly be for the glory of God, and thus all that a selfish heart does is fall short of the glory of God.

The biblical narrative of Isaiah in chapter 6 of that book has many profound teachings in it. If we can limit ourselves to one observation, however, we will notice something very important here. When Isaiah saw the Lord sitting on His throne, Isaiah began to pronounce woes upon himself. In the light of the holiness of God, Isaiah saw that the earth was full of the glory of God and yet he saw his sin in light of that. Isaiah saw that he was not a man who had spoken for the glory of God even though he was a prophet and as such he saw that his lips were vile and wretched. In light of the glory and holiness of God, Isaiah’s self-righteousness crumbled and he saw that he had not lived to the glory of God. He saw that he had fallen short of that glory. Due to reasons for space, several passages point us to that in the book as well. Isaiah was horrified when he saw his own selfish heart.

The selfish person seeks self rather than the glory of God, though it will happily do whatever religious service or words that it can do with the words of glory on its lips it will seek itself. The preacher will preach with vigor and energy and yet his selfish heart hopes that others will see that he is preaching that way. The preacher will preach orthodoxy, yet his selfish hearts wants to be known as orthodox. Until preachers are broken from seeking their own glory, they will not preach to the glory of God. It may be that the vilest person on this planet is an orthodox preacher who preaches for fame and honor rather than the glory of God. If the greatest is the least among us, then the least is the proud who seeks self.

While the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, the selfish heart is something different. The chief end of the selfish heart is self and the enjoyment of self and the honor of self. We must confront our own heart in this and not just think it is others who do this. Again, the chief (primary, most important) goal of man is to glorify God. That should resonate through our souls as we examine our own hearts in this matter. What is it that my selfish heart truly desires in my religious actions? Oh no, don’t flee from the sight of your vile heart and of the conviction of the Spirit. It is not that people must know that their chief end is the glory of God, but it must really and truly be the chief desire and motivation of their hearts. Oh how the vile in the land preach to their own glory and make themselves their own chief end rather than God! Is it not true that men preach themselves rather than God?

Oh how men will preach something they think of as the gospel and do so in order to get converts down the aisle and all to the glory of their own ministry! Think of the horror of a heart that does that. Think of what that selfish heart will bring on judgment day. Think of what happened to Isaiah and then what will happen when selfish sinners see to their own horror that they prayed for their own glory, preached to their own glory, and evangelized others to the glory of their own names. Imagine the horror of those who used God and His name for their own selfish purposes. Now of course few see that in their own hearts today, but the reality of it will be seen on that day. When selfish hearts desire the glory of self, those hearts have bowed down to self and are in full worship of self and that in the presence of God. That is true of religious people as much if not more than anyone else. But again, if God has turned the professing “Christianity” of our day over to self, then most professing “churches” in our day is nothing but a gathering of selfish people in worship of a god in their own image and so they are in worship of self.

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