Selfish “Christianity” 52

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 word “God” means something and is not just some word we use to refer to some nebulous higher power. The word “God” as used historically by Christians has some very specific meanings though we must know that we can never know Him in His full infinity. All of the attributes of God that have been revealed give us an idea of what is meant when we use the term “God.” The quote from Weeks just above and the verses of Scripture above show us that there is something that unbelievers hate and something that people want to believe about God. It is not just some higher power that people believe in, but they believe specific things about that Higher Power and think of that as God.

There are specific things (attributes) that people hate when the Bible says that people hate God and are at enmity with Him. There are also specific things that people love when they truly love God. They do not just hate or love a name, they hate or love specific things about the Being that they refer or think of as God. The selfish (self-centered and self-focused) heart is seen in how it responds to specific things about God. For example, the regenerate heart loves a sovereign God who shows mercy to who He will show mercy. The selfish heart hates that revelation of God and instead loves a god that allows it (the selfish heart) to dispense grace as it pleases. In other words, the selfish heart longs to be as God and tries to replace Him with a false god of the understanding. Both the regenerate heart and the selfish heart will say that s/he loves God, but one loves the true God and the other hates the true God while loving a false god.

Scripture is quite clear as to many things about God and in fact it is clear on all we need to know about God. The selfish heart, however, is at enmity with God and hates the true God. This enmity and hatred are seen in that the selfish heart refuses to bow to the real God and instead will follow the dictates of its own fallen reason and desires. “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” (Eph 2:3). The Scriptures set this out as precisely what the fallen and selfish heart does. It follows self and the lusts of self and the desires and mind of the self rather than the desires and mind of God. This is not only a refusal to bow to the living and true God, it is a choosing self over God and as such it is loving self and trusting self rather than God. That is idolatry and that is precisely the nature of a selfish heart and what it does.

While the fallen mind and heart (selfish heart) may not be able to articulate the aspects of God that it is at enmity with and it may be blind to its selfish nature as being an idolatrous nature, yet the selfish heart is engaged in idolatry and is at enmity with God despite its failure to have the ability to articulate the matter. A very drunken man may not be able to recognize how drunk he is, but despite his denial he is still very drunk. The officer who comes into contact with the drunken man will not be impressed with the verbal denials and it is no defense at all to say one is not aware of how drunk one is. In fact, the failure to realize the level of drunkenness is really part of being drunk. In much the same way those who are blind to their own selfish hearts are not excused because they are blind to it, but because their selfish hearts are why they are blind it only increases or magnifies their sin. Just because people deny that they are at enmity with God does not negate their enmity, but in fact their blindness only magnifies their enmity toward God.

A selfish heart is at enmity with God and the more selfish the heart is the blindness appears to be increased as well. This is one reason why people in basic “evangelical” professing churches in our day are in so much danger. Not only do they have selfish hearts that are enmity with God, and not only are they blind to their enmity toward God and their own selfish hearts, but they never hear about this from the pulpit and they never hear of how blind they are. These people will not hear that their hearts are at enmity with the true God and so they have manufactured idols, but instead they hear that same god preached and taught. A selfish heart cannot love the true God and will always make its doctrines and life choices based on self and a false god. This is truly dangerous, even an eternal danger.

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