Selfish “Christianity” 26

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.

A little less than a century ago J. Gresham Machen wrote a book in which he showed that Liberalism was not Christianity. There are many liberals who call themselves Christians and think that they are, but if one is liberal (theologically) one is not a Christian. No matter how much a theological liberal may be to true Christianity, a theological liberal is simply incompatible with being a Christian. The same thing is true about a selfish heart and Christianity. The selfish heart will use the things of Christianity in order to deceive others and self about it being a Christian, but a selfish heart is simply and clearly incompatible with being a Christian. One could say that a person must be born again in order to be delivered from the reigning power of a selfish heart. One can also say that when a person becomes a new creature it has been delivered from the old selfish heart and is now new in terms of having the true God reigning in it by Christ.

There are many outwardly good people and many nice people who are theologically liberal and say that they are Christians, but they have defined things and moved things in order that they may claim Christianity for themselves. The same things is true of the modern Pharisee or those with selfish hearts. They will claim conservative Christianity and they will claim the creeds and so on just like the Pharisees did, but they do so from a selfish heart rather than love for God. These men do all of their religion out of selfish interests (interests of self) rather than having a love for the interests of Christ. The selfish minister may be a really good speaker and may speak with great feeling about the things of Christianity, but that selfish minister has as his greatest love the self and the things of self. In doing so, that minister preaches, teaches, and prays for self instead of God. This means that the selfish minister is in violation of the First Commandment with each word he utters from the pulpit week after week.

The point in “picking” on ministers is to show just how far men will go in their selfishness without true Christianity. True Christianity does not consist in external knowledge, external words, and external morality. True Christianity consists of broken hearts with Christ Himself dwelling in those hearts. The proud religionists will look down on true Christianity since it does not fit with their selfish hearts and the ways that they have watered down and the traditions they hold. But again, apart from Christ the First Commandment cannot be kept. The First Commandment is impossible to keep apart from the life of Christ in the soul and yet the religious person thinks that s/he is keeping it in his or her own strength. This is simply appalling to the highest degree. All that the religious person does in the very highest acts of his religion is done for self rather than for the living God. In doing that, the person’s self is the god that the person is bowing down to and as such is having another god in the presence of the true God.

The point of this, once again, is to take some pains to try to show how a selfish heart is totally incompatible with true Christianity. The selfish heart serves self and not Christ. The selfish heart loves self and not Christ. The selfish heart prays for self and not Christ. The selfish heart preaches for self and not Christ. The selfish heart reads the Bible for self and not Christ. The selfish heart evangelizes for self and not Christ. The selfish heart does good deeds for self and not Christ. The selfish heart is moral for self and not Christ. The selfish heart refrains from outward sin for self and not for Christ. The selfish heart, therefore, uses the things of God and God Himself to serve self. The selfish heart loves self and is its own god. May God break our hearts from using the things of religion for self to where all we do is out of love for Him and as such for Him to be our God in truth.

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