Selfish “Christianity” 33

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 nature of grace shines forth in contrast to selfishness, but we can also see the true nature of a selfish heart and sin as well. Grace is opposed to a selfish heart and selfish hearts are opposed to grace. Grace comes from a self-sufficient God who does all He does out of love for Himself and His own glory, but that is more or less what a selfish heart in sinful men does. The man with a selfish heart is moved out of love for self and does all for his own glory, but the man with a selfish heart is a wicked man and has a very narrow and confined love as his love for self is opposed to the greatest good in terms of God and other human beings. The love of God for Himself is triune and it moves Him to do what is best for His glory which includes His children among human beings.

When am unregenerate human being is told that he should honor his father and mother, the motives for doing so have to do with self. The regenerate heart, however, is to love God in this way. The Ten Commandments stood against Israel and condemned them, but in the New Covenant they point to the life of Christ in the soul and His grace in sharing His love for His Father with human beings. The Law does not stand against regenerate souls who are beloved of God in Christ, but it is what God shares with them through Christ. Holiness is not something that human beings can work up in the strength of fallen nature, though indeed fallen nature can follow rules and laws to some degree despite the heart being opposed to them. Holiness is not just following rules, holiness is a way of life and that is what eternal life is. Eternal life is a holy way of life.

The command to honor father and mother also points to how men should love their Father who is in heaven. In one sense He is the Father (source and origin) of all human beings, but He is not the Father of the natural (unregenerate) man in the sense that the sinful nature and sinful desires do not come from Him. The living God who exists in and of Himself and shows grace according to His good pleasure brings sinners to Himself and gives them a new heart in which they may honor Him as their Father. The selfish heart does not want to honor its human parents or the Father in heaven unless there is benefit for it. The selfish heart is opposed to true grace and wants to do what it does on its own. The selfish heart hates the true God and will be opposed to any kind of righteous regulations as such over it.

In the modern day where selfishness is given license to operate freely in the modern culture the parents are no longer those to be honored and obeyed. This is precisely what is expected from selfish hearts. In the modern culture God is not in the thoughts in most, but where He is given some space (in the mind) He is not the supreme and living God who does all for His own glory. The selfish heart of man has relegated God to Someone you call upon when you need Him. The selfish heart of man does not want to live in dependence upon God and as such will not honor Him as Father.

As our culture crumbles and is falling into a wasteland (so to speak), part of this is the refusal of human beings to honor their parents and especially to honor the Father who is in heaven. As the selfish hearts of men tried to build a tower to heaven in the Old Testament, so today men are busy trying to build ways to heaven or to bring heaven down. The selfish hearts that tried to build the tower in the Old Testament are the same hearts with the same motives in our day. The selfish heart continues to oppose God as Father and it opposes Him in all ways and at all times. The selfish heart opposes true grace in “religion” and legalism reigns where selfishness reigns. Free-grace is opposed by free-will which is to say that God and His glory are opposed by selfish hearts who want to make decisions for themselves and to have the ability to carry out what they want.

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