Selfish “Christianity” 28

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.

As easily seen, at least I think so, the selfish heart is the heart of sin and that is in direct opposition to God and all He is and stands for. The character of God is such that all things must be oriented to Him and His glory and that is hated by the selfish heart which orients everything to itself and its own honor and glory. The selfish heart is always in self-mode and regardless of the words it will always do what it does for self. The selfish heart loves self and does all for self as its chief or primary goal in all it does. The selfish heart is full of self and as such is arrogant and proud and is at enmity with God. This selfish heart will use God and the things of God for self. But again, the selfish heart will use the things of religion to exalt itself. It will use conservative religion to exalt itself. It will use outward forms of holiness to exalt itself. It will use the ministry and evangelism to exalt itself.

It is not just that the First Commandment is not kept, but the First Commandment is hated by the selfish heart and it does all it does with a heart of enmity toward the First Commandment though it may not be conscious of that. The First Commandment, at least in one sense, simply tells us that God is God and all is to be done for God. It tells us (at least in light of the Great Commandments) that we are to love God with all of our beings and we are to aim at Him in all we do. It tells us that we are to have no gods before Him and that does not mean that we can have other gods just as long as He is first. It tells us to have no other gods in His presence. Oh how the selfish heart hates that and will have many other gods in one sense but they are all to please the god of self or the self-god. The religious self will justify the self-god and find many reasons and excuses for it. However, the religious self-god is the god hated most by the real God.

While those who live in open rebellion against God are wicked and sinful, those who try to be religious and hide their rebellion are worse. It is true that the hypocrisy is hated by God. All those who use religion to try to hide the self-god and lie to themselves, others, and the true God about it as they use the things of God to exalt the self-god in the presence of God have lifted sin up as high as it can be lifted. Those who try to save themselves by their own righteousness, even if their own righteousness is trying to believe in Christ by a selfish heart, are really trying to be a Christ to themselves. Those who are working for their own holiness and own sanctification rather than looking to Christ alone are again thinking that they are doing what Christ alone can do. The self-god is a savior to itself and is also wisdom to itself and is sanctification to itself. This is obnoxious in the eyes and nostrils of God.

It is true that all unbelieving people are gods to themselves in someway, but the selfish heart of the religious person is being a god to itself in a particularly wicked way. This is not recognized much in the modern day, but when the selfish heart (the self-god) uses the things of religion in a way that it tries to save itself or at least participate in its own salvation, it has taken the place of Christ and is trying to share in its own salvation. The self-god is what the Pharisee was and it is also what modern Pharisees are, though indeed the modern Pharisee has a new dress. The modern Pharisee is hidden in the pulpits across the land and the modern Pharisee is hidden in seminaries and Bible colleges across our land. We must take heed to our own hearts, but we must also be aware that the self-god is lurking in many places.

The self-god has indeed taken the place of God in many ways and in many places. The self-god has found acceptance in places of higher learning whether secular or religious places of learning. The self-god is always about self and will exalt others in order to lift up self. The self-god lives for self and in the presence of self rather than living for God and in the presence of God. The self-god longs for others to esteem it rather than for them to esteem the living God. The self-god wants to be like God in all things and wants others to love it rather than God, though it will use God to get others to live and esteem it. Put simply, the self-god lives in open violation of the First Commandment at all times and in all ways. It lives for self whether it sins for self or whether it refrains from outward sin. The self-god uses all the things of religion for self as it uses the name of “God” for selfish goals and ends, which is to say it uses the true God to attain the goals of love and honor for the self-god. This should make us nauseous at the sight of our own hearts and flee to God asking Him to draw us to Himself through Christ and by grace alone.

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