It’s hard to save Selfish Christians.
1. The true friends of God and man. GOOD!
2. Those who are actuated by hope and fear, or in other words, by self-love or by selfishness. BAD!
3. Those who are actuated by public opinion. BAD!
Groups 2 and 3 are Selfish people who are in fact False Christians.
These three classes may be known by attending to the characteristic developments which show what is the leading design in their religion. It needs not be proved, that persons may set out in religion from very different motives, some from real love to religion, and some from other motives. The differences may be arranged in these three classes, and by attending to the development of their real design in becoming religious, you learn their characters. They all profess to be servants of God, and yet by observing the lives of many, it becomes manifest that instead of their being God’s servants they are only trying to make God their servant. Their leading aim and object is to secure their own salvation, or some other advantage for themselves, through the medium of the favor of God. They are seeking to make God their friend, that they may make use of him to serve their own turn.
To aim at our own happiness supremely is inconsistent with true religion, because it is contrary to the spirit of Christ.
We are told, that “if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” And it is repeatedly said of him, as a man, that he sought not his own, that he sought not his own glory, and the like. What was he seeking? Was it his own personal salvation? No. Was it his own personal happiness? No. It was the glory of his Father, and the good of the universe, through the salvation of men. He came on an errand of pure benevolence, to benefit the kingdom of God, not to benefit himself. This was “the joy that was set before him,” for which “he endured the cross, despising the shame.” It was the great good he could do by thus throwing himself out to labour and suffer for the salvation of men.
Poor Preaching that will keep people lost!
Good Preaching that will win people away from their SELFISHNESS!