Selfish “Christianity” 45

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 a selfish heart is seen early on in the Garden. It was the promise of the devil that the man and the woman would be as God. This desire to be as God is seen in each sin and it is also seen in the enmity of the heart of fallen man toward the true God. Man always wants to be like God and in that desire to be God to self man sins and seeks himself and his own glory. God is self-existent and has no need for anything or anyone. God exists in and of Himself as triune and since He has no need there is no one who can do anything for Him and assist Him in any shape, form, or fashion.

The selfish heart, however, does not want to submit to the living God from whom all things come. The selfish heart wants to be like God in being self-existent in some way, so it fights God and does not want to be totally reliant upon Him in all things. Man wants to take credit and glory in his own work and in his own religion. Selfish hearts seek glory and honor by the power of self and as such seek to be like God in a sense by having all their religion come from self. Men are righteous in a way that comes from self and in that they are trying to usurp God as being the only source of true righteousness. Preachers want to glory in their preaching as if there can be such a thing as true preaching that comes from them rather than received from God. Preachers want others to glory in their preaching rather than to glory in the God who is supposed to be preached.

Selfish hearts are like the Pharisees in wanting to establish laws that self can keep and that self is pleased with. Again, this is an effort of the selfish heart to be like God. The selfish heart will search the Bible and old religious books to find laws and ordinances that it can keep that will make religion within its own power. The selfish heart may not understand what it is doing, but it is always watering down true religion and making rules it can keep so that it does not have to depend on the cross of Christ completely. The selfish heart does not want to rely upon free-grace alone and as such it will find a way of grace that depends on it just a little if not more than just a little. The selfish heart wants a gospel that it can control by accepting and that it can talk people into, but again this is nothing more than enmity against the true God who is sovereign over all things.
The Arminian and the modern Calvinist (Arminian in practice) are really cut from the same cloth. They do not want to rely upon God alone for all things. They seem to think that relying upon God alone for all things is some form of Hyper-Calvinism, but in reality relying upon God alone is simply the biblical message. The selfish heart, however, does not want to depend on God to break it and to humble it. The selfish heart does not want to rely completely upon the grace of God to give it faith. The selfish heart does not want to look to free-grace alone for all things as it wants to be able to do some little something to move God to save it. The selfish heart does not want to be so broken that it has no plea from itself and no strength to do anything. The selfish heart simply refuses to die to all of self and so wants a god and a gospel to fit that.

The problem with that, however, is that there is no god like that and no gospel close to that that will actually save sinners. However, the selfish heart will cling to a god like that and a gospel like that in order to retain something of self. The selfish heart does not want to be broken and it does not want to be crushed so that it is dead to self. The selfish heart will resist this in all ways at all times. It is much like a religious wife who knows that she is to submit to her husband as to the Lord and yet self is there and she will only submit when she feels like it. In that way the selfish heart will submit in many things and at many times, but it will not bow down to the Lord Jesus Christ and submit completely and totally.

Interestingly enough, however, the selfish heart may hear that self must be denied and it will set out to do that. As is clear from the situation, however, when self is moving the selfish heart to deny self it is not self that is being denied. It is the true and living God that is being denied as only He can break the proud heart and overpower the self by His grace. Self will always try to be like God even when it is trying to deny self. Oh that the Lord would break our hearts of self by grace alone and give Himself to us by His grace alone.

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