Selfish “Christianity” 65

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 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?


In the last posting we used John 6:26 and Philippians 2:19-21 as a paradigm for selfish “Christianity.” This is not just important, it is extremely vital. As long as a person seeks Christ for nothing more than the things of self, that person is not seeking Christ but is seeking self. By the very definition of a person we think of a rational being that desires and chooses, so a person is always desiring and seeking people or things with motives and desires. If a person is always seeking people and things, then a person is either seeking people or things for selfish reasons or that person is seeking them out of love for God. This should show us that we always seek and love God in the things we seek or we seek them from a selfish heart.

People seek religious things out of love for self as well. We can see that clearly in John 6 and Philippians 2. The ministers also sought the things of self (selfish heart) rather than the things of Christ in their “ministries.” Now, it should be obvious then that people cannot repent until they repent of self. As long as a person is under the power of a selfish heart (self-love and pride), that person has not truly repented and is a slave to self rather than a slave and lover of Christ. Again, this is not a point to just pass over lightly. A person can still be a slave to self and be a strongly religious person and an orthodox minister. Jesus Christ Himself told us that if we are going to follow Him we must deny self and that means self must be denied in order to truly follow Christ.

In the modern day we are told over and over again that we must believe in order to be saved. That is true, but we are also told to deny self and that we must repent. It is far easier to repent of outward acts of sin than it is to repent of self which is impossible apart from grace. It is only if God changes a heart in regeneration can a heart be turned from a selfish heart to a heart that has Christ as its life and therefore love God. Justification by faith alone must never be used to water down the absolute need for sinners to truly repent. In fact, when one considers the true meaning of justification by grace alone through faith alone we will see that in fact a true repentance comes by grace alone. It is when we look at faith through Arminian concepts that we get into trouble. When we think of faith as something a person has the ability to do, we think that a person can come up with faith and so God responds with salvation. In effect this destroys the true idea of justification by grace alone.

The true concept of repentance that is in accord with justification by grace alone is that repentance can only come from a heart that is changed by grace alone. Repentance is no more a human work in the Gospel than working to obtain righteousness is. No one can work to obtain a shred of righteousness in the sight of God, and as such true repentance cannot come to anyone apart from the grace of God. If God opens our eyes to see that we must repent of a selfish heart and not just of outward acts, we will see that repentance is a work of grace and it comes to us in regeneration and that comes by grace alone.

This is terribly confusing to people in the modern day. Since Finney (who stressed it and made popular the modern Pelagian movement) people think that they have the power to repent and believe. Since Finney this was stressed and people were pushed and given selfish motives to repent as if they had the power to do so. When the inability of man is not stressed to sinners, the heart of Pelagianism will reign. It does not matter if the person claims to be a Reformed person or whatever, as long as the inability of man is not stressed the unbeliever (a Pelagian by birth) will remain a Pelagian until s/he is granted a true repentance by grace alone. A Pelagian by birth can confess and be a creedal Calvinist and yet remain a Pelagian as long as the self is not repented of. The doctrine of man’s inability is not just something to agree to, it is vital. The doctrine of man’s selfishness shows us an important aspect of just how man is unable to do one thing spiritual or good apart from Christ, yet these things are rarely heard from the pulpits in our day.

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