Selfish “Christianity” 62

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 taints or destroys all that it touches. While all things have been created for the purposes and glory of God, the selfish heart taints what it touches because it will have all things be for its own purposes and glory. The selfish heart may long for knowledge of God and the Gospel, but it will long for those things for selfish purposes. The same men that Paul would not send to the Philippians because they sought their own interests can surely be thought of as studying and praying for their own interests instead of Christ’s. Those same men would have evangelized and preached for their own interests as well. The selfish heart will use the things of God as things of self and even use God Himself for selfish purposes.

The selfish heart, while indeed it may be in darkness and have its own motives and intents hidden from it, views all things from a selfish purpose. True Christianity is something that it will use for its own purposes, but when it does it is no longer true Christianity. The Scriptures (I Cor 8:1) teaches us that knowledge puffs up but love edifies. One way to think of that verse and how it applies is to say that the selfish heart will use all knowledge for self and that will puff the person up with pride about the knowledge s/he now possesses. The true Christian (though not perfectly) studies to know God and to glorify and honor God which is what true love does. So the selfish heart studies the Bible for selfish goals and ends, but love studies the Bible for the glory of God. The selfish heart may tell itself that it studies for the glory of God, but it has changed what the glory of God really means at that point.

The arrogance of the selfish heart is perhaps beyond measure (by men) as it studies the Bible and studies the character of God for the purposes of exalting self. The scholar, the professor at colleges and seminaries, pastors, elders, and all others need to beware of this. We cannot study the Bible and remain unchanged. A selfish heart will grow more and more proud as it studies. A selfish heart will grow in its spiritual blindness even as it grows in knowledge. This is so incredibly dangerous, yet it explains so many things. One can have a vast amount of knowing things about the Bible and yet to the degree it knows things about the Bible it will be spiritually blind and yet proud. It thinks it is using a means of grace and yet it is growing in blindness and pride!

The selfish heart must be broken from its pride before it can truly study the Bible and have spiritual knowledge. Oh how devastating this should be to the pride and self-sufficiency of men, yet even this can be used to puff men up. There is nothing that a proud and selfish heart will not do or use in order to gain honor in its own eyes and the eyes of others. The proud and selfish heart will know that it must be humble in order to receive grace, so the proud and selfish heart will find a way to appear humble to self and to others. It will gain a lot of knowledge about humility and so deceive itself that it is humble. The proud and selfish heart will be proud of its humility and yet so blind it does not see that it is proud of its humility proud of how humble it is before others.

When the proud and selfish heart has deceived itself regarding its own humility, it will now be deceived into thinking it has a way to receive grace. As long as the selfish heart thinks that humility is something it can work up, it will think that it can obtain grace by being humble. However, this is nothing but the appearance of humility and is nothing but pride and selfishness. It is nothing but an attempt to dispense grace or even earn grace as it pleases. It is the selfish heart using religion as a way to obtain honor for itself and salvation for itself. It is the selfish heart playing God and using God to gain what the selfish heart desires. When a church has a minister like that, then it is clear that regardless of the minister’s stated theology that minister is a vile and selfish wretch who is using the things of God to gain honor as he seeks his own interests rather than Christ’s.

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