Selfish “Christianity” 74

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).

The power of the selfish heart is perhaps beyond the understanding of mortal humans. It is clear enough to a small amount of discernment that the reign of self in the heart is really the reign and rule of darkness. Self opposes all that is of God, hates God, and is at enmity with God. Where self rules, whether it is through religion or open sinfulness, it is really the reign of darkness. Where self rules, even if it is a preacher, it is the reign of darkness in and through that person. Where self rules in a professing church, that church is a place where darkness rules regardless of its stated theology and regardless of the amount of moralism and external good works done. While this may sound shocking to many if not most, we must be confronted with the reality of the situation. It is not external things that distinguish the reign of Christ from the reign of darkness, it is whether a person has been translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Beloved Son and in that soul Christ reigns.

Here, if we care to pray and think through the situation, we can see something in another way of how the modern age has fallen. The modern age tries and tries to get people to exercise faith and so be saved. In the former days men were told to seek the Lord for a new heart that was a believing heart. This is a vital, vital point. In the modern day our teaching men to exercise faith there is a colossal failure to teach men that self can come up with a form of faith as well. It is not just that men are to come up with just any kind of faith, they are to come up with a faith that only God can work in them. When they are not told this, it is easy to see how men are not delivered from self and so from that self they come up with a false kind of faith. When men are not delivered from self, they will come up with a religion of self to some degree.

We can easily see how self can be told to repent and from the power and love of self a person will turn from the outward practice of sin (s/he thinks) and become quite moral. But the heart of sin (reign of darkness) is the selfish heart and the person continues on in the power of self though now self has disguised itself in the garb of religion. It is perhaps more dangerous for a person to deceive self with religion than for a person to be going on in a general life in outward sin. The kingdom of darkness loves to deceive people and as long as people are deceived and blinded by the things of religion the kingdom of darkness is pleased.

The proud heart of selfish men is so pleased to set itself up as God in the professing church. Selfish hearts will have a god of its own imagination, it will have a system of morality that it can mostly do, and it will have a whole system of religion that is pleasing to self. But as long as self rules and reigns in the professing church, Jesus Christ is working to harden those people and is not reigning in them. Jesus Christ is absolute Lord and He will not be mocked. The selfish heart has a Jesus it can love and a Jesus it is pleased with, but the self has taken the throne and the true Jesus is not bowed to and adored or obeyed.

When that happens, the words of Charnock are seen to be true and are the practice of the professing churches. It is self that is the anti-Christ even in conservative churches since it is self on the throne. It is self that is anti-God since self hates the true God and works to set up a god that it can love. It is self that sits in the local churches and would be adored as God. It is that selfish heart that in all of its religious finery is nothing more than a great idol. Sunday after Sunday it is self that is being worshipped and it is self that is being adored while people sing in worship of self and the god of self that is the god of their own imaginations. Sunday after Sunday it is the god of the people’s own selfish heart that is worshipped which is nothing but self. Surely it is quite obvious that such wickedness and such idolatry cannot be anything but hated by God. Surely it is obvious that the stench of self is that which men think of and trust in as their self-righteousness. Such appears to be the state of the professing Church in our day.

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