Selfish “Christianity” 49

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 claim that has been set forth in this Blog is that the selfish heart is really trying to be as God, that is, it is trying to play God to self and others. The selfish heart serves self in all it does and self is its primary motive in all it does. The selfish heart will be very religious and have words and works that proclaim a service to God, but the heart of that person is really serving self. When a person is unconverted, then the more religious the person is then the more the person is using religion and God to serve self. This should show us that the most religious of people can be those who have more of self and that the self is the god of that person.

This is very hard for people to accept, especially with the whole heart. It is a terrifying and awful thing to realize that “I” have been so very religious for such a long time have been in the depths of idolatry the whole time. It is a sickening thing for a minister to realize that he has preached for self and has done all he has done in the ministry for self. It drives the minister to utter despair when he sees that he was so concerned to be a good preacher and yet his concern was for the honor and reputation of self. It will make the minister sick to his stomach of himself when he sees that he has prayed for self and counseled for self. In the most religious of our actions we can serve self and in the most religious of our actions we can play God to self the most.

It is easy for a fallen heart to deceive itself regarding its exalted feelings about religious self and the god it has worked up in the image of self and think it loves God and serves God. It is easy for the religious self to think that it is loved by God despite the evidence because it loves self no matter what. It is imperative that we understand that a selfish heart will and can turn the evidence about itself as it wants to and it will interpret evidence about itself in terms of itself. The selfish heart has a god that it has invented out of a heart of self-love and so when it judges itself by its god it will always be like its god. This is a vicious way of deceiving our own hearts.

When the selfish heart comes up with a god that mirrors its own understanding and love, the selfish heart will of course love that god because it is nothing but a way of loving self. When a selfish heart reads the Bible or is informed about sin, that selfish heart will judge itself by itself and will find nothing wrong. The selfish heart is the god of self and so as the judge of self it will not find much wrong as it will always justify itself. This is once again the selfish heart playing god to self and in doing so it is at enmity with the living and true God. The living God demands our whole heart as a total sacrifice to Him and it is to do all out of love for Him. When the selfish heart serves self with its whole heart, it is at enmity with God with its whole heart.

But again, and not in an effort to state something over and over, but this is so vital. The most religious person in the world that is not regenerate is perhaps the most idolatrous. The minister who speaks well and does so with charisma, charm, giftedness, and with an orthodox understanding may in fact be at the height of idolatry. God judged the Israelites harder than He did the rest of the world and that is because they had more truth of Him than the others did and so they rejected more of Him than the others did. Not only can the minister be idolatrous, however, but entire churches (in name) and denominations can be given over to the pursuit of selfish things rather than the true things of God. Entire churches (in name) that pursue self are simply groups of people who have the same idol of self and they reflect that idol to each other. They can tag that selfish heart with orthodox names and they can tag the god that reflects self with orthodox names, but all they do is enmity toward the true God.

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