Selfish “Christianity” 61

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 selfish heart is a heart that longs for independence and it finds its independence (in its own mind) from God to some degree by relying on self through the teaching of free-will. It thinks that by praying a prayer it can obtain salvation from God. It thinks that by obeying the commands of God by the power of self it can obtain rewards from God. It thinks that by following religious duties that it can get what it asks for from God. Notice, however, that all that the selfish heart wants it thinks that it must obtain them from God. It believes (at least by implication) that grace can be obtained in accordance with its desires and actions.

The selfish heart may never say and may not know that it believes that it can obtain grace as it pleases, but that is the position of the selfish heart. Grace is provided and yet it must be obtained and applied by what the self does. This is, very clearly, quite opposite to biblical Christianity and the whole doctrine of grace in the Bible. God gives grace according to Himself and His own glory and not according to the merit and works of men. It cannot get any clearer than that, but the selfish heart does what it does for self and uses the things of Christianity (it thinks) to obtain grace for what it longs for and desires for the purposes of self.

Roman Catholicism thought the “Church” was able to dispense grace as it pleases. The Reformers said that God dispensed grace as God pleased. While original Protestantism was biblical, we have now moved to the point where grace is dispensed according to men. It is true that some use the term “means of grace” and that is not necessarily a bad term, but it can be (and often is) used in pretty much the same way as Roman Catholicism did. The “Church” (according to some Protestants) has the means of grace and if people want grace they attend church (as they say) and use the means of grace to obtain grace. However, the obtaining of grace is no longer a sovereign act of God it is up to the people. Protestants have moved almost in a full circle and are back to the position that the Reformers fought against.

We can see the selfish heart in this. It will fight and fight against God being actually and really sovereign and will have grace in its own hands to dispense in a way it can obtain grace as it pleases. It will come up with a theory and it will do about anything, but self will not have a sovereign God reign over it and do as He pleases. This is as true in the Reformed ranks as anywhere else. We want a God we can control (to some degree and in some way) and a God who will do what we want in accordance with our religious actions. The selfish heart will twist and turn and come up with biblical terms and biblical doctrines (at least in appearance) to allow self to remain in control of grace even as it denies it in theory.

When the selfish heart is able to dispense grace as it pleases, biblical Christianity has disappeared even in the midst of many biblical doctrines and practices. The selfish heart will leave in place or change just slightly doctrines and practices of true Christianity, but that selfish heart always wants some control to where it does not have to truly and really rely on God and His sovereign will completely. The selfish heart wants to retain enough control to make it sovereign and rely on self in reality while in appearance it is trusting in God. At some point and in some way the selfish heart will retain control and have all things bow at its feet. In other words, the selfish heart destroys true Christianity in its desire to remain in control and yet keeps the appearance or name of true Christianity. It is a fiend and incredibly deceptive and leaves a swathe of destruction and deception in its wake.

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