Selfish “Christianity” 30

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 great teaching of the Scriptures regarding how we are to treat the name of God is repeated over and over in many ways. For example, the first petition of the Lord’s Prayer teaches us that we should pray for God’s name to be hallowed and glorified. The third commandment teaches us that God treats His own name as holy and we are to treat His name as holy. True love and reverence for God teaches us that the nature of holiness is for people to treat God and His name as holy. There is no morality or holiness apart from treating the name of God as holy.

The modern day is marked in many ways as the time of treating the name of men with reverence. We are told that we should treat people in such a way that will leave their self-esteem high or perhaps we are even to elevate that. We are told that we are to treat people with such niceness that we are not to disturb their view of themselves. We are told that we are to view all men as equal and that we are never to speak such words as the world deems as offensive or that might be viewed as preferring one set of people over another.

If we look at the previous paragraph in light of the biblical teaching, what we see is that men are in pursuit of treating the name of men as holy and we are not to treat the name of men in a vain way. In other words, men could care less how God’s name is treated but they are very concerned of how the names of men are treated. The hearts of selfish men want to be treated with reverence and cannot stand for their own name to be treated in a vain way, but they don’t care how the name of God is treated. The old profanity laws that deal with how God’s name is treated is thought to be outrageous. However, we now have laws about how we are to treat the race and religion of others. God’s name is now open for any profanity and blasphemy, but man’s name is now to be treated with reverence. What a difference a few years can make.

It is the selfish heart of man that is the problem. The selfish heart of man wants to be treated as a sovereign and wants others to speak highly of him and to treat him with respect. The selfish heart of man thinks of self as his greatest love and as such wants his own name to be treated highly. The selfish heart of man has replaced God in his own thoughts and love and now lives in a way that seeks his own glory and honor and seeks respect for his name. This is so obvious once we begin to think in this direction. We can see this all around us of how men and women are offended, their feelings are hurt, they are angry that people will treat them in such a way. Once we get even a small understanding of the nature of the fallen heart and its selfish nature, we can see what is actually going on. The selfish heart loves self and lives for the honor of its own name. The selfish heart that fights for the honor of its own name is willing to allow the name of God to be profaned and trampled on.

We can see the selfish heart put on display in the modern political world as well. On the one hand the candidate is very sensitive about his own name, but the candidate is so concerned about political correctness that he will not say anything about homosexuality or of false religions. Behind so many news stories and the selfish hearts of the news anchors is that man wants the honor for self and does not care for the honor of God. While God treats His own name as holy and does all for His own glory, man treats his own name as holy and does all for his own glory. God commands men to use His name with reverence and awe, but man treats his own name with reverence and desires for others to treat him and his name with reverence.

The religious heart can still be full of self as it goes about its religious duties. The religious and selfish heart can be religious and do its duties out of love for self and reverence for its own name. The religious and selfish heart can preach with orthodox words and yet only do so wanting honor and glory for preaching in an orthodox way. The selfish heart can be satisfied as long as its own name is honored and treated reverently, but the selfish heart can also seek to have God’s name treated rightly in its presence so that it (the selfish heart) can be treated with honor as one that seeks for the name of God to be honored. The selfish heart is its own god, its own idol, and it seeks the honor and glory of self in worldly things and in religious things. It is no wonder that Scripture speaks so clearly of the need of the heart to be broken and humbled. Until self is taken off of the throne by divine grace, it does nothing but serve self in full enmity to God.

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