Selfish “Christianity” 50

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.

While it can and perhaps does sound arrogant, the question must be asked. If what Luther said was true about the heart of the Gospel, and the modern version ignores what Luther said, then is one right and the other wrong or can both be right or both be wrong? The selfish heart that is full of self and pride fights the true idea of depravity though it can accept it in theory. The selfish heart hates the reality of being utterly dependent upon God for grace to save it and sanctify it. The selfish heart hates the reality of its own inability and as such will change certain truths about God in order to retain some ability. That is precisely what those who assert free-will do. That is precisely what those who will not teach the absolute inability of man in salvation and in doing spiritual good are doing. They are wavering on the truth of who man is and the selfish heart loves it so.

The selfish heart is at war with the true God and since it must always be in control it must change the truth of who God is in order to retain control. The selfish heart will gather all it can around it and take its aberration and make it the orthodox view. The selfish heart, whether religious or not, will always be at war with the truth of God. This is an absolute truth that each person must recognize about him or herself and about others. The truth of God is not just set out in Scripture and all we have to do is read it in order to discover that truth, but the truth of God is set out in a way that God alone can reveal it to men. Those who do not have it, regardless of how smart they are, cannot discover it apart from grace. Ministers and professors at colleges and seminaries cannot understand the truth of God apart from grace showing them. The selfish heart hates that and will fight that so self will have some control in its own eyes.

It is not always a crass and weak view of God that is preached in order to tickle the ear of men, but it can be a strong view of God but a god that allows men freedom and a god that allows men to have control. The selfish man hates the true concept of a sovereign God and will fight that truth of God tooth and nail. The selfish man can be a very religious man and be a stalwart of conservatism and yet hate the true concept of the sovereignty of God. The selfish man may be a very religious man and a stalwart of orthodox theology and be a professing Calvinist and yet at the same time that man can be at war with God over who is truly sovereign. Oh how easy it is for the logical mind to grasp some of the great truths of God and use that to climb denominational ladders or to go from small churches to bigger ones. However, that does not make the heart any less selfish. In fact, it can be exactly and precisely what a selfish heart will do.

This is what we must be brought to see. This is not just some theoretical truth that we can accept as true in theory. This is what is true of each of our own hearts unless God is pleased to give us new hearts. Each heart is born dead in sins and trespasses and by nature a child of wrath. Each heart is selfish, proud, and does all from self-love apart from the new birth. Each heart longs to be as God and lives as god to itself. Each heart is at war with God and is at enmity with Him over who will reign over “me.” The selfish heart will love false gods and false theology, but it will never love the true God unless it is born from above. The selfish heart is diametrically opposed to the sovereign God of reality and will gather all others that it can to be on its side.

Going back to the original question in the first paragraph regarding Luther, I would assert that we are far from following Luther on this gigantically important point. It may be that we are as far from Luther at this point as the Roman Catholics were in his day. Is it that big of a deal to be that far from Luther? Perhaps not, because the real issue is over the truth of whom the real God is. However, if Luther was right, then our day is dead wrong and we are for from the biblical truths that Luther set out. We must also remember that a true Reformation and true Revival happened when God opened the eyes of Luther to the great truths of man’s inability and His free and sovereign grace. We must seek the Lord to open our eyes as only He can do so and if He does not we are lost in our selfish hearts. We must have free and sovereign grace to open our eyes and our hearts.

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