Selfish “Christianity” 69

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 Greatest Commandment is to love God with all of our being, then this should show how great the sin of selfishness is. How great is the sin of selfishness when we love self and do all for selfish motives rather than doing all out of love for Him and His glory. How great is the sin of wanting honor and glory for self rather than honor and glory for God. How wretched it is when “ministers” preach and “minister” out of love for self and seek their own glory in all they do and their sin is greatly heightened because they are trying to use God and the things of God for their own selfish purposes. How great is the sin of selfishness when those in the congregations of professing churches when they seek their own righteousness instead of submitting to the righteousness of God. How great is the sin of those who evangelize in order to boast of their methods and successes rather than seek the glory of God.

The Gospel itself must be preached and declared with God as the center of it and the glory of God as the end of it. The selfish heart will not do that and cannot do that. What we must learn to see is that when all of our “Christian” duties are done and God is not the true goal of it, our so-called duties are nothing more than idolatry since we did them for self. Behind this great wickedness of the professing “Church” is the sin of making the true God out to be a god we can please and a god under our own control. While this has been said, perhaps multiple times, it is a vitally important truth. Until a person comes to realize the true nature of selfishness and the utter wickedness of it, that person will not and cannot understand the heart of sin and the nature of his or her sin as against God.

The issue of selfish hearts as being the very heart of sin demands that this be preached on, taught on, and written on. This must be said with different angles in order to get this across as well as possible and as much as possible. How can a person really trust in Christ alone if a person is really trusting in self and Christ? Until God grants a particular person repentance from self that person will always trust self to some degree. It is not possible for a person to trust in Christ alone when a person is trusting in self to trust in Christ. True faith in Christ is not possible when a person has and degree of faith in self. It is impossible for a person to receive the Gospel by grace alone as long as the person is trusting in self to do something (the work of self to believe) apart from grace. If faith does not come from grace alone, then salvation is not by grace alone but is a work of self plus Christ and plus grace.

I fail to see how the Gospel can be preached while self is not mentioned or brought into the picture in some way. I fail to see how the Gospel of grace alone can be preached while men and women are not instructed about the way faith comes by the grace of God. I fail to see how the Gospel of grace alone can be preached without instructing men and women that they must be granted repentance from sin (the sin of selfishness) in order that they may have true faith in the true God. I fail to see how the Gospel of grace alone can be preached to people without teaching men and women that selfish hearts trust in self until God grants them the grace of repentance from self. I fail to see how the Gospel of grace alone can be preached apart from instructing men and women how to seek true conviction of sin (sin of self as the heart of sin), and then how they are to seek a true repentance from God. If every step of salvation is not from God and His grace, then some step or steps is the work of self. We cannot have a true Gospel of grace alone if we are not willing to deal with all the steps of salvation as being of grace alone.

In our day the Gospel has been greatly diluted (nicest way I can put it) by people adding works to it. They add the work of faith and the work of repentance. They tell people that if only they will believe God will save them. Others tell people that if they repent God will save them. Still others say that we must make Christ lord in order to be saved. However, those things are taught in such a way that it is self that does those things and makes God appear to save those who do something first. What must be stressed is that until God grants conviction of the sin of self and true repentance from self it is self doing religious things to be saved. Must people have true faith? Must people have true repentance? Must people have Christ as lord? Of course, but those things are the work of God by grace in salvation. We must never make those things into a work of self or we dilute the Gospel or we preach a different Gospel. I would argue that when people are not preaching and teaching that God breaks the hearts of those He is working true repentance and true faith in by grace that they are not preaching the true Gospel. The doctrine of selfishness is vital to understand if one is going to preach the Gospel of grace alone where God delivers His people from their sin.

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