Selfish “Christianity” 71

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.

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?


“Self is the great antichrist and anti-God in the world, that sets itself above all that is called God…It sits in the temple of God, and would be adored as God…It is so far from bending to the righteous will of the Creator, that it would have the eternal will of God stoop to the humor and unrighteous will of the creature.”

Stephen Charnock

God made man in His own image, but when man fell into sin man had children in his own fallen image. It is also true that as God could behold something of His own image when He beheld man, now man tries to turn the tables and make God after his own image. But of course now that man has fallen it is fallen man trying to make God into man’s own fallen image. When man does this he becomes his own great idol and he does this by turning and twisting the Bible and nature into ways where man can retain his own idolatry in his own mind. The selfish heart is at war with God and will be its own god in some way. When man does this, however, he shows that he is his own idol and that he is willing to change the character of the true God in order for self to retain control.

When the selfishness of the heart is at work in changing the character of the true God in order for self to retain what it thinks it should (to be god to self), self truly desires to have the living God stoop to and serve the unrighteous will and desires of the creature. This is especially true in the things of Christianity. Man wants to be sovereign over self and others and so refuses to let go of his own power of selfishness which is his ruling love and god. The doctrine of free-will is simply the selfish heart of man wanting to be god to self and even wanting to have the power to dispense grace to self or do something to obtain grace from God. This is a mind-boggling attempt of self to rule over self and bring God in the control of self. In that scenario it makes salvation out to be something other than grace alone since man has done something to obtain it. Grace, which can only be true and pure grace when it is sovereign grace, is brought down to be something man can do to obtain it. How wicked this self is as it encroaches (in the mind of man) on the throne and character of God.

This is why it is so vital for lovers of the Gospel to be clear about the nature of grace and of God in the Gospel. They must make it so clear to those they are preaching and speaking to about the horrible power of self and of the fact that grace is sovereign or it is not grace at all. Men must come to God emptied of self seeking salvation from His hand as something He is under no obligation to grant. Men cannot come to God full of self seeking to obtain salvation as something He will grant to them if they will simply fulfill a condition or two. Of course men will not admit that they are doing that, but they are. The heart of man is deceitful and it will twist the character of God and the clear teaching of Scripture in order to retain some control of sinful self.

The greatness of the idol of self is seen precisely in the nature of the Gospel and of the nature of men’s twisting the Gospel and the glory of God that shines in the Gospel. The selfish heart of man will twist the Gospel as if it is a wax nose to suit his own selfish heart which desires to control salvation regarding how he obtains it and when he obtains it. As long as the selfish heart of man longs for and retains control (at least he thinks so) of his own salvation he is not bowing to the true grace of God which will always be in the hand of God to grant as He pleases. The “god” of modern evangelism is precisely what the selfish heart longs for. The “god” of modern evangelist is the one that is dreamed up so that selfish sinners will love that god and numbers can go up. However, it is not possible to preach the true Gospel and have selfish sinners be pleased with that God.

The professing “Church” is in a deep sleep and God has sent that sleep along with great darkness. The professing “Church” is okay with its rituals and some nice moralism and some with fairly orthodox teaching, but the true God who is sovereign in all things and all circumstances must be kept quiet and hidden so that selfish sinners will be comfortable. A selfish heart will be greatly pleased with a false god who does not threaten self, yet all the while it retains its hatred of the true God. The true God demands that the selfish heart be repented of and self cannot bear that and self cannot do that in the power of self. Oh how deeply the truth of the sovereign grace of God cuts the selfish heart and with all the strength that self can muster it will fight to bring that God down to be a god of its own imagination. Selfish “Christianity” is really nothing but a form of Christianity without the true God and with each selfish heart as the god of itself. That is gross and wolfish idolatry hidden beneath the sheepskin of a false god and a lying and selfish heart.

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