Selfish “Christianity” 63

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.

When we consider some of the names that fall under the heading of a selfish heart, we can see something of why it is vitally important. The proud heart is from a selfish heart. The self that Christ tells us that we must deny in order to follow Him is from a selfish heart. The hearts that God says are foolish hearts are selfish hearts. The heart that God turns over to its lusts is a selfish heart that is full of the lusts of self and for self. The unrighteous heart is a selfish heart that is filled with self and follows the unrighteous lusts of self. The wicked heart is a selfish heart that desires and seeks things that are for self rather than the glory of heart. The greedy heart is the selfish heart gathering things for self as opposed to the glory of God and the good of others. The envious heart is a selfish heart that hates others because they have something that it desires.

II Timothy 2:2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,

The passage of Scripture just above can be seen as bookends of a selfish heart with all the things in the middle as describing what the selfish heart does. The selfish heart is a lover of self and loves pleasure than then being a lover of God. As a result of that, the selfish heart loves money, is boastful, is arrogant, and is a reviler. The selfish heart is disobedient to parents, is ungrateful and unholy. The selfish heart is unloving, irreconcilable, and is a malicious gossip. The selfish heart is without self-control (clearly and obviously), is brutal, is a hater of good, is treacherous, is reckless and is conceited. All of this comes from a selfish heart that loves self and not God. This makes it appear that all the sinful desires of men are selfish desires. This makes it appear that all the sinful things that flow from sinful hearts are those things that come from selfish hearts. Could it be that the selfish heart is what the Scripture refers to as the sinful self or the old self? Could it be that modern “Christians” have mistaken outward actions as the problem rather than the selfish heart?

If it is true that the selfish heart is the real issue with sins of the heart, mind, and actions, then this is a vital issue. If the selfish heart is the real issue, then it is a terrible diagnosis for a minister (or other) to deal with just the externals of sin and not the heart of it. It is the same (though more serious) of a physician treating the symptoms and leaving the disease untreated. If the selfish heart is the real issue, then evangelism must be more than just telling people to believe some facts about Jesus. If the selfish heart is the real issue, then sanctification and holiness are far different than those who think they have the outward actions as the primary focus. If the selfish heart is the real issue at hand, then preaching must take this into account in dealing with sin and in dealing with conversion.

The concept of the selfish heart is not just one among many doctrines or teaching, and it most certainly is not something we can ignore unless we do so to our own destruction. Without some understanding of it we cannot understand the basic nature of sin and therefore of repentance. Without some understanding of the concept of the selfish heart we will miss the true nature of conversion. Without some understanding of the selfish heart we will not be able to evangelize correctly. Without some understanding of the selfish heart we will not be able to deal with men and their slavery to sin and of their inability in their sin. Could it be that apart from this basic teaching on the human heart and the nature of sin that men are practical Pelagians even when their outward professions are orthodox? Could it be that the selfish heart of man is a vital teaching that when missed it has a huge impact on other necessary teachings?

When serious illnesses go undiagnosed the body can be eaten up and destroyed by the illness or disease. When sin goes undiagnosed the soul will be eaten up and destroyed in the spiritual realm. When a serious illness is not diagnosed properly, there can be no true and effective treatment. When sin is not diagnosed properly, there can be no true and effective treatment. A serious illness can be masked and left to rampage throughout the body when it is not diagnosed or when it is hidden by treating the symptoms so that the patient is left feeling better. When sin is masked over, sin will harden the heart and cause eternal destruction to the soul and this is true when it is treated with superficial sermons and superficial treatments of sin. When the soul is treated with a false Christ and a false God, this is terribly destructive even though the sinner will feel better. Could it be that there are vast numbers of people who have sin rampaging in their souls and they are given little bandages and soothing statements that numb them to the reality of their dire need of the true Christ?

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