Selfish “Christianity” 84

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.

“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).

II Cor 4:4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

Matthew 6:23 “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”

John 11:40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

The Gospel is the Gospel of the knowledge of God in the face of Christ. Eternal life is to know God and His Son (John 17:3). We can see a great contrast between the quote from Stephen Charnock above and II Corinthians 4:4-6. The Gospel is all about the glory of God and the Gospel is about knowing God. It is not enough to say a prayer or do some act of the will, the eyes of the soul must be opened and the soul must behold the glory of God. One would think that this would be sufficient to show at least an aspect of the true nature of sin, that is, that men are selfish. When men are blinded to the true glory of the Gospel, they are blinded by their own selfish hearts and desires.

In John 11 we are given the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Jesus told Martha (sister of Lazarus) that if she believed she would see the glory of God. Jesus did raise Lazarus from the dead and it was an undeniable resurrection from the dead. Some saw the glory of God and others did not. Those who saw the glory of God saw that Jesus was the Messiah and that He had the power of life and death. Those who saw the glory of God (believed) saw something of the beauty of God and the shining out of the character of God. On the other hand, those who saw the resurrection and yet did not have faith hated Jesus even more. They went away to tell the Pharisees and as such gain the approval of man.

The Pharisees did not seem to specifically deny that Jesus did in fact resurrect Lazarus, but they hated Jesus because of it. Why is that? It was because they saw that Jesus would take their positions away. Their selfish hearts loved themselves and their own glory and honor so much that they wanted to kill Jesus. What we see with some degree of clarity, then, is that when the glory of God shines men either love it or hate it. Those who hate it are lovers of self rather than lovers of God. Men love their own honor and glory and positions among men and as such do not love Christ.

When the true Gospel is preached, the glory of God shines forth. When the true Gospel is heard in some manner by a selfish heart, that selfish heart hates it. This is why there are few preaching the true Gospel in our day. They are more interested in getting people to make a decision, get baptized, and join the local church that they water the true Gospel down in order to get more decisions. But how can a gospel that is focused on men be the true Gospel? How can a gospel that does not have the true glory of God shining forth in the face of Christ be a true Gospel at all? How can it be a true Gospel when it does not have the good news of God taking away our dead, selfish, and sinful hearts by grace and placing His Spirit in His people that they may love Him? It is a false gospel that does not deliver people from loving the glory of self and grant them a sight of His glory. It is a false gospel that does not give people a new heart which has true faith where they can behold the glory of God in the face of Christ and as such behold the true Gospel. A selfish “Christianity” denies all of that in practice if not reality and is not Christianity at all.

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