Selfish “Christianity” 57

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.

It may not seem like a big issue to those who think in terms of Universalism or in line with the various gods that men dream up, but the fact that the living and true God is the God that men hate and are at enmity with is a huge deal. If the proud and selfish hearts of men dream up false gods to suit themselves and one that self can live with, then we cannot be overly careful to be sure that we are seeking the true God. If our hearts are driven by enmity against the true God, then it is vital for us to take pains to seek the true God that is set out in Scripture. If our hearts are more deceptive than all else and are desperately sick (Jeremiah 17:9), then we cannot trust ourselves to find the true God based on our selfish hearts which deceive us.

Why are people so religious? Is it because of the good they will receive? Why is it that it seems that the vast majority of people in the world are religious to some degree? One answer is that God has made Himself known in the hearts of men and in and through creation. It takes a lot of work to deny that God exists. Another answer is that not only is it obvious that God exists, but that men have selfish hearts and rather than try to totally deny the true God they simply contort and twist and work hard at coming up with a God that their selfish hearts can love. Could it be that the false religions of the world and those who are satisfied with false views of Christianity have something in common?

Ecumenical thinking is still quite common in our day, and the reality of the matter is that it is quite understandable. If all men are born dead in sins and trespasses (dead in their selfish hearts) and yet they have the true God planting His truth in them and creation also testifies to them, all selfish hearts having the same father (the devil) they will all gravitate toward things they can agree with. Those who are dead in sin and are driven by the desires of self will have religions that have something in common. In reality, all religions of selfish men are driven by the ability of self to gain the favor of God. The only religion that does not teach that men can obtain the favor of God by the works and acts of self is Christianity.

It is this Christianity that the natural man hates. It is this Christianity that so many have adopted in name and yet have denied the power of it. It is this Christianity that there are so many who are at enmity with and yet they have taken the name of it. There are many haters of God who have taken the name of Christian and practice what they view as Christianity.

The selfish heart can find comfort of sorts in groups of “Christians” who are radical in their forms of dress. The selfish heart can find comfort in groups of “Christians” who are radical in their pursuit of external holiness. The selfish heart can find comfort in groups of “Christians” who are radical in their pursuit of doctrinal purity. The selfish heart can find comfort in groups of “Christians” who are quite legalistic. The selfish heart can find comfort in groups of “Christians” who are very spirited in their singing and give themselves to forms of worship. The selfish heart can find comfort in groups of “Christians” who are given to evangelism (so-called). In other words, the selfish heart is always looking for a way that it can earn some form of favor before God and it is looking for others that it can deceive itself along with.

On the one hand we can see how so many false gods and false versions of Christianity can come about, but we may not understand the real father of those things. The father of the unbeliever is the devil and he is the father of the selfish heart. In this way the deceptive power of the evil one is hidden as it simply appears that those versions of “Christianity” come from earnest people who are studying the Bible. The reality behind the curtain is that those versions of “Christianity” are coming from people who have selfish hearts and when they study the Bible they are studying for the purposes of self. Instead of those people being conformed to Christ, they are conforming what they read to their selfish hearts and it becomes the deceptions of the evil one.

If this is a correct view of things, then what we have in our day are versions of Christianity that come from selfish hearts that twist the Scriptures rather than the Bible itself. People are walking in the doors Sunday after Sunday of buildings that have “church” on the door and they are deceived by all the religious activity going on there. However, it is not the Christianity of the Bible. The Scriptures teach that we must repent of self and that we must die to self. The false versions of Christianity are built on enabling people to seek the very self that they are commanded by God to deny. Thus, we have a proliferation of selfish “Christianity” which has just enough truth to deceive people. We live in a day of a great and vast spiritual famine, but this is not inconsistent with a lot of false versions of Christianity flourishing. We must seek the Lord for His truth and grace.

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