Selfish “Christianity” 78

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).

One of the attributes of God that has been long neglected is making something of a comeback. It is the simplicity of God. The word “simple” or “simplicity” is used in an older sense and in reality is vital for understanding the true God. While some have hacked and hewed at it in recent days, it is still at the heart of understanding God. They hack and hew at it in order to change the teaching of God regarding other attributes. As long as the simplicity of God stands, it is hard to set forth a mutable god or a god who is controlled by His feelings at times. The simplicity of God teaches us that God is unified in all of His being and His attributes are one as well. In other words, grace is not something that He has, but it is an essential part of His being. Power is not something He has, but it also is an essential part of His being. As an essential part of His being (simplicity = uncompounded or not parts put together), this teaches us that all of His attributes are in reality one. God is an infinite being and as such finite beings can only understand aspects of His oneness at a time. Hence, we think of God as having attributes when in fact we are only looking at what we can look at of His oneness.

Since God is one and is a perfect unity of being, then when we speak of God or think of God we should think of Him as perfect unity. The word “God” is not just a bare word when we use it of Him, but is a word that we should use to refer to God as a perfect Being in all of His attributes. But of course it will be argued, and in some ways rightly so, that we cannot contain this God in such a way in our minds. Nevertheless, we should know this about Him and learn to refer to Him as an incomprehensible God and yet knowing what we know is truth.

One important application of this great truth is for selfishness in the hearts of sinners. A selfish sinner does not just show hatred toward a little bit of God, a selfish sinner hates all of God. One cannot just hate a little bit of God without hating all of Him. When sinners hate His justice or holiness, they in fact hate the whole God since all of God is bound up with what we think of as each attribute. The selfish heart of a sinner hating God is really the whole heart of the sinner hating the whole of God. This should teach us some important parts about how horrible a selfish heart really is.

The hearts of selfish sinners are wholly given over to the love of self and doing all for self. In doing so, the hearts of selfish sinners are directly and immediately opposed in all ways to the whole of God. The selfish heart hates all of God and not just a part here and there because God is One and is not made up of parts where one part can be hated while not hating other parts. While there are educated sinners and there are nice and polite sinners, the educated sinner and the nice and polite sinners hate the whole of God. There are sinners who are quite religious, but yet in their very religion they hate and oppose the whole of the true God because He is One. Because God is One within Himself, it is not possible to just hate part and not hate the whole. While sinners will argue that they just hate certain aspects that are taught of God, they just misunderstand the other aspects that they say they don’t hate.

The selfish heart is opposed to God in every aspect of His being and is opposed to what our finite minds think of as single attributes. A selfish heart that hates God because of His sovereignty is also opposed to the nature of true love as God is love within Himself as well as sovereign. True sovereignty is also true love and true love is always truly sovereign because God cannot be divided into pieces and parcels. Those who hate sovereignty also hate grace despite their protestations because true grace is always sovereign. The selfish heart which explodes in anger at the mere hint of sovereignty is a heart that is exploding in anger at His true love and grace as well. The selfish heart that is very religious and legalistic is a heart that hates true holiness and does so in the name of holiness. That selfish heart also hates true love and all true morality. What we see, then, is that the truth of the doctrine of God’s simplicity shows us how horrible a selfish heart is and the degree which selfish hearts hate the whole God.

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