Selfish “Christianity” 27

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 modern mindset is to give information and think that one is finished, but this cannot be the truth regarding the Bible and Christianity. The Bible does not just give us information about the new birth; it tells us that we must actually and in fact be born again. The Bible does not just give us the information about being poor in spirit; it tells us that those who are in actuality and in fact poor in spirit are blessed. The Bible does not just give us the information about justification and tell us to believe that the facts are true, but instead it tells us that we must be justified in reality and fact. Christianity, therefore, is not just about passing on information.

This is also true of preaching. It must be more than just giving information about things and telling people that they ought to believe them. This is why preachers must have experienced what they preach if they are going to truly preach. The Scriptures are also quite clear that they are giving more than just information about sin and as such just stopping the external sin is enough. No, we must go to the root of the issue. The very root of sin is a selfish heart. It is from that selfish heart (a heart full of self-love and pride) that all sin flows from. People do not sin because they love God and others, but instead they sin because they love self and then they justify their behavior according to their selfish hearts.

It is quite clear with children and adults that people justify sin. What is going on when people justify themselves and their sin (when they really do sin)? It is a selfish heart that is looking to excuse self in the presence of God. A selfish heart is always looking to excuse its behavior and its own heart with self-love and pride as the basis for its excuses. The actions of sin are bad enough, but the justification of sin based on self raises the level of the sin far higher. This justification which is based on self can only occur when the selfish heart bases all things on self rather than God. In other words, a selfish heart has taken the place of God and is its own god when it justifies its own sin. The wonderful command of love not to have other gods in His presence is thus violated in a very strong way. As the promise of the devil was that they could be like God, so the selfish heart is its own god in determining right and wrong in accordance with itself.

This is a profound and wicked sin. The selfish heart is its own god in deciding what is sin and in justifying itself for sin. It uses self as the basis for what is right and wrong and for what holiness is. In doing that it is clearly being a god to itself. The heart that the Spirit convicts of this is a heart that will gasp when it sees what it has been doing its whole life. The heart that the Spirit illuminates and shows how utterly vile it has been doing in playing god in the presence of the true God will see how just God is in condemning it to everlasting hell. The heart that is taught of God will now understand something of the reality of the need to be cleansed by the blood of Christ and of the new birth. The heart that sees itself will be in utter despair of helping itself and will look to the grace of God alone.

The heart that feels the revulsion of its wickedness of playing god before the true God will not look to the externals of religion, but instead will look to the spiritual realm and cry out for mercy and for grace. This broken and humbled heart will know and feel that it has been playing with holy things and will cry out to the real God now. This broken heart will now despise self rather than love it. This broken heart hungers and thirsts for true righteousness as it has none of its own and knows it cannot come up with any either. This humbled heart lies low at the foot of the cross and cries out for grace on the basis of Christ and the glory of God rather than self. This humbled heart cannot look to the external acts of religion and the religious things it has done or could do, but now it must have Christ Himself. Oh that God would open our eyes to the horrid nature of self and grant us that we would seek grace based in His glory in truth rather than just in name.

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