Selfish “Christianity” 25

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 selfish heart (full of self-love and pride) is a heart that is directly opposed to God and all that God is and does. It is a heart that is not just opposed to God to some degree, but it is opposed to God with all of its being. The selfish heart hates God whether it recognizes this or not. The selfish heart is fully at enmity with the living God, though it can do this through religion. The selfish heart will even demonstrate its enmity with the living God by conservative religion and even with good deeds. The selfish heart can be opposed to God and demonstrate hatred for God from the pulpit of a conservative church or denomination. While a minister in name may indeed be deceived or deceive himself, that minister is a seeker of self down deep in the heart as he preaches his conservative creed and his conservative morality.

The minister that is governed by a selfish heart (his own) may indeed be quite fierce in his religion and in his conservative brand of that religion, but all of that fierce conservative religion can be a hiding of his own heart from himself and others. A selfish heart can be greatly involved in a building program ostensibly in the name of the glory of God. A selfish heart can be greatly involved in “evangelism” ostensibly for the glory of God. A selfish heart can be greatly involved in the local church and in a denomination and ostensibly for the glory of God. But all of those things can be ways the heart is trying to hide its enmity toward the true and living God. The selfish heart hates the true God and yet it makes efforts to hide that by using religion in the name of God. But of course in some way that selfish heart is always trying to water the truths of God down.

The selfish heart is indeed trying to suppress the truth of God in unrighteousness though indeed many do that with religion and even conservative religion. The selfish heart makes great efforts at hiding itself from itself and a great way it does this is using the outside of conservative religion while watering down the heart of it. How deceptive our hearts are. What we must come to understand is that the First Commandment stands for the great truth that God is God and man is not, but the selfish heart is another god and it is a god to itself before the living God. The selfish heart is nothing but a god to self and it is an arrogant heart before the living God as it serves self and seeks the glory of self. That horrid god within us stands opposed to the true God and is always trying to find ways to hide itself from others and self and so many do this in the ways of conservative religion. The way of the Pharisee did not die in biblical times, but instead the Pharisee is quite alive and very strong in each heart. The way of the Pharisee (the way of self and the religion of self) is the way of conservative religion and even a very moral religion. The way of the Pharisee is to rely on the traditions of men though it gives outward reverence to the Bible.

Let us think through the passages of Scripture listed above again. What do they teach us about religious men? They teach us that religious men seek Jesus for things for self rather than seeking Christ for Himself. Ministers can preach things about Christ, preach things about the Gospel, and preach the Bible quite accurately but only do so for self. These men will use the creeds, the Bible, and the name of God for their own selfish interests rather than the glory of God. It was the most religious men (Pharisees) who opposed Jesus and hated Him and His Father the most. It was the most religious men who kept trying to find out their own laws and their own morality and they had their own traditions in the name of Scripture. The selfish heart is in constant disobedience to the First Commandment in all of its religion. It is in constant disobedience to God with every religious act, every sermon, every prayer, and every good deed. Oh how we must be awakened to our selfish hearts if we are going to love the true God in truth and love!

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