Selfish “Christianity” 54

In thinking through the whole issue of what it means to have a selfish heart, it has become glaringly obvious that there are other truths that are transparently and inextricably tied to this. The depravity of man is clearly tied to this, and as such the inability of man is linked with this. It may be the truth that the inability of man regarding spiritual things cannot be truly understood apart from the selfish heart of man. A man cannot love God when he loves himself. A man cannot do one spiritual act because he has no ability to do anything beyond his own selfish heart.

The Bondage of the Will was Luther’s greatest work. It is given many accolades at times, yet it appears that his message has been lost in the modern day. While Luther did not specifically and clearly talk about selfishness in the way that theologians and pastors did in the 17 and 1800’s, he did speak of it. With the backdrop of Luther’s belief about the will in mind, he was also very strong on man’s inability and the sovereignty of God.

The selfish heart of man is at war with the sovereignty of God and it hates the sovereignty of God. The selfish heart of man strikes at the truth of God and as such the truth of man, which means that the selfish heart of man is at war with the Gospel of the glory of God. Man wants the glory and man wants to choose rather than leave those in the hands of God. A selfish heart is the most wicked thing in the world in that it is at war with God and will not glorify God. A selfish heart will be very religious or it will be outwardly wicked and yet it does all for self regardless of whether it is religious or not.

When men deny the selfish heart of man and the total inability of man, what they are doing is denying the sovereignty of God and of the biblical Gospel. This sounds strange and harsh in our day, but how can one speak a true Gospel to those who are in bondage to their sin of self and leave it up to the self to make a choice and save itself? How can one speak the true Gospel of God when the true God is sovereign and He is gracious to whom He will be gracious?

The selfish heart is a terrible truth, yet it is true. It expains how man is at enmity with God though he may not know it is. It explains how man can justify all he does since all he does he is a way of using self as the basis for what he does. It explains why men can accept the rational doctrine of the sovereignty of God and yet deny it in the application of evangelism and salvation. It expains why so many ministers are so ashamed of this great truth of God and appear to want to hide it.

The selfish heart is not just true about open and vicious sinners, it is true of very religious people as well. We can see this regarding the Pharisees. All they did was for themselves. All their religious acts and all their righteousness was for themselves. It is still true today. Men use religion to exalt self in their own eyes and others. Until self is repented of, there is no true repentance. Until self is repented of, there is no true bowing before God. Until self is repented of, there is no true bowing and accepting the Gospel of the glory of God. It is that important.

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