Selfish “Christianity” 46

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.

A selfish heart hates God and all that He really is. A selfish heart will oppose God and all He really is. Romans 1:18-32 also teaches us that men suppress the truth of God and God judges that by turning them over to hardened hearts which deny Him even more. Since the truth of God has indeed been revealed to men in ways that they cannot deny fully, what we have then is a constant work in the hearts of men to deny the true God. If the previous statements are true, then clearly we have a lot of people who are involved in religious activity who are busily denying the truth of God. A selfish heart will deny the truth of God and must deny the truth of God because of the nature of that heart which is opposed to God. The selfish heart is a heart that is by nature opposed to the things of God though it is not opposed to the things of religion.

Ephesians 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

In the passage just above (Eph 2:1-3) we see a great description of the selfish heart living in opposition to the true God. The selfish heart is dead to spiritual life and to living by the grace of the true God and as such it is dead in trespasses and sins. The very nature of sin is that it does all it does in opposition to the glory of God. The selfish heart lives according to the course of this world because the course of this world is selfishness. The course of this world is that it goes according to the prince of the power of the air and that prince lives in the power of selfishness and works that in his children who are sons of disobedience. The lusts of the flesh that people live in are the lusts of the selfish heart. The desires of the flesh and of the mind are the desires of the selfish heart.

When someone speaks the words of God regarding the true character of God to a selfish heart that selfish heart will rise in opposition to that God. We will make a great mistake if we think of the desires of the flesh and of the mind as consisting only in gross sexual sins, but instead the desires of the flesh and of the mind can be religious things as well. The selfish heart does not just want to dismiss God entirely, but it wants to change Him to be something the selfish heart can deal with and that the selfish heart can love. The selfish heart will love a god that loves it and will leave that selfish heart alone.

A selfish heart will go after the teaching concerning the true God and water it down to where it can love the god of its own imaginations. The selfish heart can love Arminian theology and it can love Reformed theology as long as it leaves the self untouched. Some selfish hearts can love a version of Christianity that will allow it be legalistic which is really to live by its own power and righteousness. Some selfish hearts can love a version of Christianity that will allow it to be academic which is to live quietly and seek honor through writing books. Some selfish hearts can love a version of Christianity that is very moral, which is once again in the power of a selfish heart which can take pride in its morality. Some selfish hearts can love a version of Christianity which is Reformed or orthodox in doctrine, outwardly moral, and yet essentially leaves the heart untouched. This does not mean that the heart is not mentioned or talked about, but it is essentially untouched and people can have their theology and morality and go on in their visible church lives thinking that they are on the road to heaven. Oh what a wide swath that selfishness has cut through Christianity!

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