Selfish “Christianity” 66

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? WILLIAM R. WEEKS.

If the nature of a selfish heart is set out for us to see in John 6:26 and Philippians 2:19-21, then it would be to our great advantage to take notice and pay careful attention. If these things are true, then we must examine our own hearts to see if we have truly repented. The Greatest Commandments teach us that above all things and in all things we are to love God with all of our being and our neighbors as ourselves. But, if we follow Scripture carefully, we cannot be possessed by a selfish heart and love God and our neighbors at the same time. We cannot have two masters as we will hate one and love the other. We cannot love self as our master love and love God at the same time. We can see this in Philippians 2 where the men were said not to genuinely be concerned for the welfare of the people because they sought after the interests of self rather than the interests of Christ.

We must take some care to think through that text. It is because those men sought the interests of self that they did not seek the interests of Christ. Again, the men sought the interests of self as their chief interest and as such they did not truly seek the interests of Christ. When men do not seek the interests of Christ chiefly, they are not truly concerned for the welfare of the people. This is a clear teaching where a person that seeks the interests of self does not seek the interests of Christ and therefore is not truly concerned for the welfare of the people. A selfish person cannot truly seek God and as a result of that cannot truly seek the true welfare of the people.

We can also see (once again) that true repentance is not something that is simple and easy, but it is a true change from a selfish heart to a heart that loves God and His people. Apart from the work of grace in the heart which changes the very nature of a person from a selfish heart to a heart that is focused on and centered upon God. That is the essence of true repentance and as such apart from that a person serves self in all he does whether it is in the world or in religion, even the conservative branches of Christianity. If we think of the Pharisees as a model of selfish hearts, we can see that the things of religion are a comfortable place for selfish hearts.

The selfish heart is not just opposed to the interests of Christ; it is a heart that hates the true and living God. The selfish heart, then, is not just a little bit off; it is full of enmity toward the true God but it is quite comfortable with the God of its own imagination. The selfish heart will love a false god as long as that god loves the selfish heart as it is and does not require it to change beyond what is in its own power to change and beyond the love of self. We simply must wake up to the heart of depravity which is selfishness and thus the inability of man is to love God. Man has no spiritual ability to love at all, thus man has no ability to do anything that pleases God. Not only does man not have any ability to do anything to please God, all that man does in any realm (including Christianity) is at enmity with God.

The selfish heart must be changed. The selfish heart must be repented of in truth and reality. The selfish heart teaches us that we must have a new heart. The selfish heart teaches us more of how depravity and our inability functions. In our selfishness, pride, and self-love all that we do in the things of religion we are using God and the things of God for self and out of love for self. As we seek self in all we do we have no love for God or man, but instead all we do is for self. We do not need to hear selfish motivations in order to be enticed to follow Christ as selfish motivations only move us to follow self more. We need to have our selfish motivations exposed in order to see our selfish hearts in order that we may seek the true grace of repentance. If not, we are left in the bondage of self and will perish with our wicked and selfish hearts.

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