Selfish “Christianity” 73

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?

WILLIAM R. WEEKS.

“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).

If self is indeed the great antichrist and the anti-God in the world and that same self sets itself above all that is called God, then where self is misunderstood and allowed to stand there is the place where God is opposed. If that place where self reigns is a professing church, then that professing church is anti-God and sets itself above God. It is perhaps beyond terrible when the professing churches are the greatest idolaters around. It is beyond terrible when the places where the true Gospel is to be preached are the places where the true Gospel is hidden beneath the teachings of Christianity. However, this is precisely how the devil works when the Lord frees him to go forth and blind people to the truth.

People think or imagine that they have free-will, but this is really an illusion. Sinners are in bondage to self or they are in bondage to Christ. There is no ground in the middle. It is an enormous deception for people to think that they are free to choose and do as they please. They know that they are doing what they desire, but they don’t understand that their desires are in bondage to a selfish heart and that selfish heart is reigned over and ruled by the devil. When Christ frees people from their selfish hearts, they are not absolutely free, but instead they are in the kingdom of the Beloved Son. Until a person is in the kingdom of the Beloved Son, that person is under the dominion and domain of darkness. In that darkness a person is in bondage to a selfish heart and a slave to the lusts and desires of self. In that darkness a person does not even know or see that s/he is under the power of pride and a selfish heart. In that darkness a person will attend a professing church or be a minister of a professing church and all the while be in utter bondage to a selfish heart.

We can see this in ministers and leaders as well as the people of the congregation. They are following after the things of self with no real idea that they are in bondage to self. They are following the dictates of a selfish heart as they go on in the way of professing Christianity. Even the most orthodox of denominations and professing churches can be caught up in this and actually hold to orthodox teaching out of a selfish heart that loves the honor of being orthodox. A failure to understand the nature of a selfish heart is a dangerous thing. A failure to come to grips with “my” own heart and how it is selfish apart from grace is a danger. It is to fall into a great deception and if a teacher in the professing church it will lead to the deception of others.

A great part of the inability of man in the spiritual realm is precisely at the point of the selfish heart. It is not that man is physically unable to perform the outward acts, but because of the selfish heart of man all that man does is out of love for self rather than love for God. In fact, however, the love of self is precisely the issue at hand in the Charnock quote above. Man loves self and so longs for self to be adored rather than God, though indeed religious man will say that God is to be adored but he only says that in order to be orthodox and so he himself will be adored as orthodox. Man has no ability in the spiritual or moral realm because he has no love for God on which all morality is built.

The selfish heart of man can be turned over to all sorts of religion and yet man is still dead in sins and trespasses. The selfish heart of man can be very evangelistic and quite active in discipleship and all manner of activities, yet that man will be doing all for self and in hatred of the true God. Man will serve the god of his own imagination with diligence and energy, yet all the while he will be exalting self rather than the true God. That is what orthodox “Christianity” can do while in full enmity of the true God.

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