What is implied in disobedience to moral law?
Remember what constitutes disobedience
- Disobedience is selfishness as we have said.
- Selfishness is ultimately choosing our own gratification.
- An ultimate choice means the choice of an end for its own sake or intrinsic value.
- Choice of our own gratification as an end simply because it is our own, it is good to self.
- Selfishness cares for good only upon condition that it belongs to self and selfishness is sin. In order for us to more completely understand selfishness let us look at some characteristics that are associated with selfishness. It is committal of the will to the gratification of desire. It is “fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind.” Do we really think about the total effect of this selfishness in the life developed in the mind, emotions, and will; the effect on the soul. We will thus look at it more closely:
What is implied in disobedience to moral law?
What is the moral character of selfishness and what are the attributes of selfishness. Here we discuss the moral character of selfishness. What are the conditions that make self-seeking a sin and different from a similar trait in animals? What conditions make self-seeking a breach of moral law?
- Disobedience to moral law implies that the moral agent has the powers of moral agency; only a moral being can violate moral law, not an animal which is not a moral being.
- Disobedience implies knowledge of the end that a moral agent is bound to choose, namely, love. This love is benevolence that is disinterested and impartial. It is choice of the highest good of God and of being in general as an end. A moral agent must know this truth in order to know if he has disobeyed. So, if a being has no reasoning enough to understand that he or she has violated the law of God, over such being the moral law does not extend its aims. A case in point is a little baby or someone with severely limited mental capacity.
- Disobedience to moral law implies understanding of things that are correlated to the good or valuable and ideas of right and wrong. When such an idea is developed in the mind, the conscience instantly affirms the obligation to will that as an end and of every other such good according to its relative value. “To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
- Disobedience also implies the development of ideas correlating to right and wrong, praise or blame-worthiness, merit or demerit so that only when the conditions are fulfilled and not before, does the spirit of a man through the conscience understand that he has the spirit of self-seeking or of his own gratification as an end. This now becomes a sin or a breach of moral law since the individual comprehends through the powers of moral agency that obedience is possible and thus to disobey would constitute sin. This means that animals, mentally challenged persons, babies before the age of accountability or any other being in such a situation is exempt from the claims of moral law.
What is implied in selfishness?
What are the attributes of selfishness and how are they demonstrated outwardly? In order to define these attributes one needs to see the contrast between selfishness and benevolence. We have examined the attributes of benevolence previously and now we will look at selfishness:—
- Voluntariness is an attribute of selfishness. Don’t confuse selfishness with mere desire because they are not identical. Desire is constitutional, involuntary and can produce no action. It cannot, by itself, produce any action. It cannot have moral character. Selfishness consists of submitting the will to the gratification of desires. The desires are not selfish in themselves but submitting the will to be controlled by these desires is selfish. It does not matter what the desire is, selfishness only starts when the will yields to the desire in opposition to the promptings of the conscience. When the desire governs the will, it is selfishness in action. For a person to have his will in a state of committal to the gratification of a desire is voluntariness. This is saying that the person is voluntarily awaiting some desire for the will to yield to. Voluntariness is the young person standing on the street just hanging out and hoping that something or someone will come along that will grant his every desire. Voluntariness is riding down the street with the windows open and the music playing as if to hope that all who hear will want to ride and join the fun. Voluntariness is saying come on over to our house and let’s party. Voluntariness is walking down the street in Ebor City hoping that a situation or person may come along that will fulfill a sinful desire. Voluntariness is going to a bar and drinking and meeting people laden with various types of lust and desires hoping that perhaps a desire may emerge that will be worth the encounter. Voluntariness is being in a certain place alone with someone else and nothing but desire and opportunity to do whatever comes to mind. Voluntariness is not waiting for temptation to come to you but going out and looking for it and hoping that it will appear. Voluntariness is sitting at home with the music playing and the door open just hoping that someone will happen that way and an evening of fulfilled desire is the result.
- Liberty is another attribute of selfishness. The mere fact that a person has the opportunity to make choices and that a desire of the flesh can prompt the will to yield means that liberty is an attribute of selfishness. Liberty means that the will has an opportunity to choose the opposite of what the will of God is or the opposite of the Moral Law and disinterested benevolence. If man did not have liberty, he could not be a moral agent since by definition making moral choices is required for moral law to exist. Adam and Eve were sinless and yet they had the liberty to choose the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. If God had made us robots with no liberty of choice there would be no virtue since virtue consists in right choices.
- Intelligence is another attribute of selfishness. We mean that it is a phenomenon of the will so that the choice of self-gratification is an intelligent choice that can be made with reason and knowledge of the moral ramifications of the choice as it is made. The mind knows and it cannot mistake the choice as the opposite of why it was made. It is intelligent choice because it is known to be resistance against the conscience which asks for the choice to be made as disinterested benevolence and it knowingly reject this choice and rather chooses the opposite. It is intelligent in knowingly deciding that self-gratification is preferred to all higher interests. Intelligence is such that the mind will argue with the conscience with strong reasons to explain why the selfish choice was better than the right choice, the benevolent choice.
- Unreasonableness is another attribute of selfishness. Here, the conscience of the spirit is plainly telling the moral agent what the right choice is and yet the moral agent knowingly and unreasonably chooses the opposite of what is right. It goes so far as to make unreasonable excuses in the mind of the moral agent that defy the conscience of the spirit and dethrone it from its normal position of caution in the person. It then puts blind desire in the position that the conscience of the spirit should occupy with an abandon that is mystifyingly unreasonable. It is so unreasonable that it denies the attribute that would ally a man to God, his spirit, and make him capable of virtue and then it sinks him to the level of a mere animal. Is it any wonder that the evolutionist has such strong influence in our world? Those who ascribe to that unreasonable hypothesis do so knowing that they have contempt for the voice of God which is speaking to the intuition of the spirit and they accept an unreasonable pseudo-science instead of clear evidence to the contrary only because they have such contempt for God. They don’t want the best end for themselves, namely, that they are spiritual beings created in the image of God, but rather they would unreasonably assume that they are barely higher than a brute beast of the forest. One can see by their unreasonable life styles and the world culture that this creates why this is so demeaning to God’s highest creation, man. Now that man is reduced to a brute beast every act or choice of the will is altogether unreasonable. Do we wonder why there are men who beat their wives? Do we wonder why there are child molesters, pedophiles, and child killers running rampant throughout society? It is because a sinner has become so unreasonable that the reason of the conscience of the spirit has long since passed from their minds. The Bible says, “…madness is in their heart while they live.” They have made the unreasonable choice of a selfish end so many times that all choices are made to carry out this selfish end, self-gratification and nothing more. Any sinner who has not been converted or saved is living in a state of unreasonable choices in every instance in direct opposition to the conscience of the spirit until they submit to the voice of God and repent of this self life. They are not unreasonable sometimes, but they are uniformly unreasonable to one degree or another as long as they remain selfish in their ultimate intent. The only time a sinner makes the first reasonable choice is when he turns to God, repents of his self life and becomes a Christian. This is the very first time that he makes a practical decision that has the wisdom and intelligence of the spirit. Before that the sinner has denied his position as a being created in the image of God and has rejected his obligation to both God and his neighbor. We would like to point out the worst in society as being unreasonable as if there are other sinners who are less so but the truth is that all sinners who refuse to repent and turn to God are totally unreasonable. There is not a sinner on the earth that is not acting in direct opposition to the conscience of the spirit and they know that they are wrong. It is almost as if it were better for a sinner if they never had a spirit. They not only act without consulting conscience, intuition, or communion but they are sternly determined to be in opposition to God at all cost, even to the damning of their immortal souls. This unreasonable mind set goes so far that they not only oppose God and all that is moral and right, but they oppose Him in as aggravated a manner as possible. What can be more unreasonable than to choose an end that will put their soul in a devil’s hell? It defies reason, something that God has given every man to make right choices. The mind of the spirit has spread before it the eternal and infinite. It sees the interests of God and of the universe as having infinite value. It begs him to consecrate himself to these interests and even promises endless rewards in heaven if he would only submit to God, but the sinner is unreasonable. He turns away and consecrates himself to the gratification of his desires with a most preposterous and blasphemous choice. One has to wonder why it is that sinners do not see that it is impossible to insult God more or to shame and degrade themselves more than they do with their choice of beastly selfishness? Total universal and shameless unreasonableness is the universal characteristic of every selfish mind, every lost sinner. Unreasonableness goes into every segment of society. We see it in husband and wife arguments. We see it in false religions like Islam, where young people will commit suicide in order to kill people that believe in the one true God. We see it in crimes against humanity. We see it in politicians who cater to special interests and will lie and dig up dirt against an opponent to such a degree that they will even unreasonably doctor the evidence in order to make their case and win an election. We see it in a political party blindly and unreasonably standing behind an impeached president like dumb animals rather than see that they are destroying the system that makes this country great. We see it in unreasonable accusations against a president who has declared war on terrorists who are unrepentant sinners unreasonably attacking a Christian nation because their religion calls for Jihad. They would rather undermine their own country by discouraging the military effort than allow the president of another party the chance to protect the very country that they love. Unreasonableness is certainly a glaring attribute of selfishness.
- Interestedness is another attribute of selfishness. This means self-interestedness. This is not interested in any choice of good or of the good of being as an end but rather that of self-good or of good to self. It has such a strong relation to self that any and all choices have self as part of the equation. It requires a relation to self as a condition of any choice that is made. The fundamental reason that a choice is made as it should be-the intrinsic value of the good chosen-is rejected as insufficient and a secondary reason-the relationship to self-is the real determining condition for the action of the will in any direction. What this does is to make good to self the supreme end that a moral agent uses as the basis for the actions of the will. Interestedness is making self-good the supreme end. One will do nothing that requires a choice of the will without a corresponding relation to how it will affect their self-interest or self-gratification. Interestedness will develop itself into a monster. Selfishness develops the will into indulgences that become greatly activated and strengthened as appetites, passions or other such desires. This becomes a power over the will in one area. Then others may develop as well, even though some may conflict, yet they all have a self-interested goal. They may not be developed at the same time but in turn they will be the controlling part of one’s life. In time they can have the control of a hideous monster. As an example, a person could develop the desire to be a womanizer on one hand and on the other hand could develop the desire to do great humanitarian efforts to help mankind. Now one of these may gain more control than the other so that it has the most power over the person’s life. Then, as a result, the exterior of the person begins to look like what he is inside. If avarice takes control, there will appear a haggard and ragged miser. Were love of knowledge prevails there will be a philosopher, a man of learning, all still as absolutely selfish as the other. Where compassion prevails, there is a philanthropist or a reformer, a politician campaigning for certain justifiable causes. Where love of family prevails, there is father, mother, brother, sister, and others. So many cases are amiable, but still sinners. The reader can develop other examples and make their own list. To look at the outward life of so many, they seem to be right to the letter, but it is all with an ulterior motive of selfishness.
- Partiality is another attribute of selfishness. This is where one gives preference to certain interests because of the fact that they directly have interest for self or are so connected with self that they are preferred over all other situations. Here there is no thought as to the greater or lesser value but only of the relation to self that counts. Sometimes selfishness seems to be disinterested and impartial. A person seems to have compassion on occasion, gives to a beggar or some other such act. He impresses with a show of virtue, though rare. What he has done is to yield to a feeling. It is not really the mode of his life at all and the yielding to an emotion is really just selfishness seeking to gratify an emotion of compassion which was the strongest desire at the time. A selfish person can desire the happiness of men in general when that happiness does not conflict with their own. This can be illustrated during the times of natural disasters like that of the Tsunami and Katrina Hurricane where so many people yielded to the emotion of compassion toward the victims when their true reason was a selfish one at obeying the prevailing desire at the time, compassion for the unfortunate. One cannot make a list of virtues and desires that can be classed as benevolent in the case of the virtues and then selfish in the case of the desires. The problem is that the constitutional desires are not good or evil in themselves but rather the fact that they are motivated by selfishness or benevolence because of the intrinsic value of self or because of the intrinsic value of good to God and others. The bottom line is that when something is chosen rooted in desire and not because of the intrinsic value of the end, it is selfishness. When teenagers say that they listen to a certain type of music because that is what they like or desire, it is rooted in selfish interest which is sin. When a church allows certain trends in music to creep into a church because of the desires of a segment of the church what they have done is base the virtue of the church on the selfish desires of some of its fleshly members. This is gross sin and has all but destroyed our churches in this generation. This is where partiality comes in. If a church music program can change merely to appease3 the desire of a group in the church is that not being partial? Is that not selfish? Is that not sin? Can it not be said that all churches that have acquiesced to this type of thinking have allowed sin to control their own congregation? Do we not therefore see a desperate need for revival? Partiality shows the deep grip that selfishness has on the life.
- Impenitence is another modification of selfishness. We could say that impenitence is only another name for selfishness. When a person repents, they turn the heart from selfishness to benevolence. Thus, impenitence is when a heart will cling to the commission of sin when under the light of the truth and knowing all along that the willing and doing of the thing is doing that which is sin. We will discuss this further elsewhere.
- Unbelief is also another form or modification of selfishness. Unbelief is not just the negation or absence of faith. Faith, an attribute of benevolence, is a quality which commits the soul to truth and to the God of truth with veracity securing its end. Unbelief, on the other hand, withholds confidence and refuses to trust God and thus to commit to the truth. Faith commits to truth in specific executive acts. It commits the life and whole being to be molded and influenced by truth. Unbelief, on the other hand, withholds specific acts of confidence in God and truth as if to say, “I will take care of my interests, let God take care of His.” In effect, unbelief is saying, “Who is God? Why should I serve Him?” Unbelief is that characteristic that refuses to get guidance from God and rather trusts in our own guidance. It is self-trust, self-dependence; thus it is selfishness and self-seeking. “How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?” (John 5:44) Under this trait, the self-seeking spirit renders faith impossible. Thus every sinner who has heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and has not embraced it has withheld confidence from Christ because in the mind of the sinner, it will cost too much of self to yield this confidence and let go. They don’t believe in the phrase, let go and let God. In fact, they are strongly opposed to such a statement. Unbelief is a selfish withholding of this confidence in God and committal to God. True faith consists in renouncing selfishness in relation to confidence in Christ and the gospel.
- Efficiency is another attribute of selfishness. Desire never produces any action until it has convinced the will for that action to take place. Desire has no efficiency or causality of its own and without the agreement of the will it cannot get the attention of the intellect or cause any muscle of the body to move. The causality that resides in the will does so because of the power of accomplishment. For that reason, efficiency helps accomplishment to achieve the ultimate end by whatever means possible. The will either chooses an end or it chooses a means to accomplish that end. When there is choice it means that something is chosen and that it is chosen for a reason. The ultimate reason for any choice and the thing chosen are identical as we have seen previously. That being said, the means cannot be chosen without an end in view so that the end is actually distinct from the means of achieving that end and although the choice of an end is not the same as the means, yet there must be an end in view so that there are means developed to achieve that end. For that reason when there is an end in view, the will is very efficient in creating various means of achieving that end. This is true of selfishness where the end is self-gratification and the will works wondrous means to achieve that end. It also works for benevolence where the will finds means to honor God and live for others. The ends are opposite and they produce respective results but both are very efficient in accomplishing the end chosen. The Bible says that sinners have eyes full of adultery that cannot cease from sin; the will is so committed to the indulgence of selfish interests that it cannot cease from the indulgence in means to this end. The only way for such a sinner to escape from sin is for him to cease to be selfish; while selfishness continues, one can deny one appetite for another but the end desire is still sinful selfishness. This selfish desire goes all the way to a desire to escape hell and to reach heaven in which case the selfishness takes on a very sanctimonious flavor. The will is following the desire for heaven and missing hell, but the root is still a selfish indulgence that is wearing the garment of wanting to obey God. Is it any wonder that the church is so full of selfish individuals that are marching to the beat of the devil’s drum beat and they have no idea that they are only steps away from falling right into hell while the pride themselves with selfish glee that they are on their way to heaven. The underlying motive of their life is self. The whole life and activity of all sinners is founded in this same self-indulgent spirit. This is what forms the basis of their life or, should we say, their spiritual death. They are dead in trespasses and sins. How can they possibly ever do good without relinquishing their selfishness. As long as selfishness continues they cannot act in any way but to accomplish selfish ends. So while the will remains committed to a selfish end, self-interest, or self-gratification, it cannot promote a benevolent end. The thing that needs to change is the end so that the sinner can cease from their bent toward sinning. When the ultimate end changes, some of the things that the sinner was doing as selfish acts will suddenly become holy because the end has changed. Conversely while the end is selfish, it does not matter how holy the sinner seems to be, he is merely a sanctified act with an end of pure selfishness. He can eat, drink, labor, or even preach, but as long as it is for self, the end is wrong and that means that the person is wrong, a sinner. Now, change the end, make it benevolence as God says, and suddenly much of what the sinner was doing can now be done for the glory of God. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) A person with the right end in view will not be able to choose anything but using all means to promote God and the good of the universe. Let’s enumerate what we are saying here: (a) All actions consist in or result from choices. (b) All choice is made with either the end in view or a means to reach that end in view. The mind will only choose when there is an object regarded as the means or end. (c) The mind can only have one ultimate end at one time. (d) It will not use a means without having chosen an end first. (e) It will not choose one end and use means to accomplish another at the same time. (f) Therefore, while the will has a commitment to the glory of God and the good of the universe it is impossible that it would use the means for self-gratification while it has the right end in view. (g) Conversely, when the will is committed to self-indulgence, it cannot use means designed to glorify God and promote the good of men as an end. It is impossible. (h) The Bible tells us that the carnal mind cannot help but sin; “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Romans 8:7) It is enmity against God and cannot do right, only sin. (i) The renewed regenerate heart cannot sin in the sense of an unsaved person who has no influence of the Holy Spirit and has no goal in life but to live for self gratification. Remember sin is defined as ultimate choice of an end. Since a person is saved his ultimate choice is benevolence; love to God and to man. That will never change or he was never converted. “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (1 John 3:9) One might ask, how is this possible? Are we saying that a person that is saved is sinlessly perfect? Yes, he is in the sense that he will never have an ulterior motive or have self-gratification as his end. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) He now has the mind of Christ. He is growing in grace and is sinless in the eyes of God. Let the scripture state it clearly, “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”(1 Corinthians 2:16) “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7:25) As it says here, as long as the flesh, selfish interests, is in control, the person is serving the law of sin, selfishness. Only when we receive Christ by faith do we get the mind of Christ and cease from the choice of a wrong end in our life. So, can a Christian temporarily lapse into selfishness as a life goal after salvation? No, he cannot! He is forever changed! “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Romans 8:1-14) He may do something fleshly but he can never have an ultimate goal of self-gratification! “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) Remember, after salvation his whole ultimate goal and end is the glory of God and the good of the universe. He has been born of God and does not desire selfish ends. He is a new creature. He can repent and confess his sin daily and be forgiven. He has an advocate with the Father if he sins, Jesus Christ. “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2) The Christian’s ultimate end will always be to glorify God and live for others or he is not saved. His flesh may cause some temporary sin, but the Holy Spirit will not allow that to be the end chosen for itself and thus he will repent; he never really changes his ultimate direction. His spirit is now alive through the Holy Spirit living in the believer which influences the conscience of the believer to confess sin and live a holy life. If a person claims to be saved, lives in sin and does not repent, it is further evidence that they were only putting on a show and there was a selfish motive all along. The dog truly returns to his own vomit, selfishness. “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.” (Matthew 12:33) “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” (Matthew 12:35) “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.” (James 3:11-12) “For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” (Luke 6:43-45) This is what efficiency is all about, if there is a will there is a way to either do evil or to have the mind of Christ. In this generation there is far too much teaching about the fact that we cannot live holy and that a Christian can and does sin constantly so the feeling is that we live sin fettered lives. Some even teach that a Christian can be in bondage to sin. Preposterous! However, let some preacher come and preach what is being said here-that a Christian can live without sin as the life goal-and you will see just how efficiency works. A righteous person will be very efficient in cleaning up their lives to show the holiness that a Christian should show. The true Christian sees the intrinsic value of Jesus Christ his Savior so much that he could not think of making a mock of the wonderful salvation that has been so freely given. How could he sin and live for self when Jesus gave all for him? How could he do less than give up all and live for Christ completely after all he has done for sinners? He therefore repents and ceases from sin. If the flesh ever raises its ugly head the Christian will be quick to confess and renounce any sin. He is learning how to live for God. On the other hand, the false Christian will constantly try to find verses in the Bible that bolster their hope of being saved because they know deep down inside that they cannot possibly live a holy life since they are only doing their benevolent deeds from selfish motives which proves that their whole life is that of a godless sinner with a good act. They are not “in Christ” and they are not “new creatures.” If you are reading this book and fear for your immortal soul, is it worth spending eternity in hell for the defense of your wrong selfish position rather than to repent of your selfishness and throw your feet at the God of mercy and love? Do you see the value of Jesus Christ to your soul? Do you see how just God would be to allow you to be cast into hell? Do you see just how important it is to repent and come clean for God? His yoke is not hard; it is easy and His burden is light. God loves you and wants only the very best end for you; he wants your happiness. He can’t do that unless you give Him all. He lives for that end for all creatures of His creation. When a person truly repents and turns the direction of their life from self to the good of God and the universe, it takes a lifetime of learning and training the flesh to follow the lead of the spirit in your life. But that is what efficiency is all about. It constantly sees areas for improvement and makes them while coming to God with confession and submission to keep the heart holy before a holy God. On the other hand, efficiency on the part of the sinner is to go on sinning with the goal of self-gratification and efficiency will constantly find excuses for explaining the wrong and it will also find verses in the Bible that seem to defend their self-gratification as something that is part of the “sin nature” or some other explanation that sooths a conscience that is screaming at them to repent and turn to God with all their heart, soul, and strength. Efficiency of selfishness always makes a way to live close to the world and have a pseudo-Christian persona that defies the teaching of the Bible. The selfish are apt to say something like, “Why should the Devil have all the good music” and use their efficiency to create “so-called Christian” words so that they can have the style and beat that their self-indulgent lost soul loves so much that they would shun the clear teaching of the Scripture regarding songs and hymns and spiritual songs. Efficiency is what keeps the counterfeit Christian living as close to the world as possible. They just could not think of letting go and letting God. They would not want to be too religious and holy. They only do what desire dictates and they desire their lifestyle and music. They will even go so far as to create their own Christian Rock ‘n Roll group to sing in church. Oh, how efficient they are in making excuses why that evil music is good in church. Oh, how efficient they are in defending a mode of dress that is immodest for women and demeaning for men. Oh, how efficient they are in excusing a life style that differs not one inch from the godless sinner who would never darken the door of a church. They are so efficient. They think that they have fooled everyone, but they have not fooled God. He will still cast them into hell in the end. I want to make one more point before we go on. As you will recall from our earlier discussions, we are merely talking about the overall motive in a person’s life and we are saying that God only requires what is possible for a moral agent to do fitting his nature and relations. We are not making a person sprout wings here, only saying that with the intrinsic value of a relationship with a God of love and with the efficiency as we have described it, there is no reason to even suggest that the moral agent cannot live a life with the Glory of God and the happiness of others as the end in view with no strain and according to the nature and relations of all moral agents. God is only asking us to do what we have the ability to do if we love God and we let go and let God in our lives or if we forsake selfish ends. The truth is that if we have a selfish end in view we will forever believe that God is a tyrant requiring of us what we cannot do and then giving a good show to fool all that know us. But God is not fooled and the same efficiency that makes a sinner seem to be a saint will utterly fail in the day of judgment because only God can raise the dead and after a person has passed into eternity the sham will be over and in hell they will cry out that they never really had confidence in God at all. Do you really see Him? Do you see how much value he has to your life? Jesus is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. Jesus is all in all. Jesus is the love of God and has power to raise the dead. Jesus wants the very best for your life. Jesus gave himself for your sins and raised for your power over sin. Jesus wants to make your life happier than it has ever been and will answer your prayers and give you a place in heaven. His intrinsic value to each of us is infinite. There is not a day or a moment in our lives that having Jesus Christ as part of that moment will make it far more pleasant as if we were walking in heaven on earth. Don’t you think that most of the problem is that we are looking at self far too much and failing to see Jesus and His blessed glory to our souls? The whole purpose of God is to get eyes off of self and get them on God and living for the happiness of others. It is time to fall in love with Jesus and tell him that whatever he wants us to do and wherever he wants us to God if He goes with us we will go anywhere. He is the treasure in the field that a man wanted so bad that he sold all that he had to buy the field just for the treasure in the field. He is the pearl of great price. He is the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valley. Who would want to live a life without Him in every moment and having a part of every decision and helping every relationship?
- Opposition to benevolence, or to virtue, or to holiness and true Christianity that preaches repentance and holiness, is one of the attributes of selfishness. It is not a mere negation but a choice of self-gratification as the supreme and ultimate end of life. While the will is committed to this end it cannot remain in a state of indifference when it is considering the claims of God and the truth of benevolence/love as it respects God and the universe. There is no middle ground. The will must either give up the end of self-indulgence or actively resist benevolence which is perceived in the mind of the spirit. No selfish moral agent can remain in a state of selfishness without bracing himself against the virtue which he has refused to accept. If he does not yield it because he has chosen to resist. The conscience begs the will to yield to the love of God so that the person must either yield or actively resist. This resistance cannot be passive, but resolute and determined to the point that the Bible calls hardening of the heart. “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24) The will becomes obstinate in the light of the Holy Spirit and the promptings of the conscience of the spirit. When that happens specific action is required or selfishness must be abandoned. The more the light of the gospel shines on the life as the great love of God is shown, the more the darkness of selfishness counters it in the same proportion in order to oppose what it will not accept. The greater the light, the greater the open resistance and as was stated in the previous point, efficiency will go a long way to resist what it will not accept freely because it wishes to cling to self-gratification. Now it makes us wonder at some of the so-called centers of virtue and holiness why there is no strong resistance among sinners. In fact, Christians seem to think it a great thing if they can appeal to the sinner on his terms. This generation has eliminated the resistance by taking on the position of the self-indulgent and giving them what they always wanted, a religion that is not counter to their selfishness. Both the false Christian and the sinner will burn in hell. If what you have is real, you will be persecuted as Jesus Christ said,” These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.” (John 15:17-20) Selfishness and benevolence are just as much at war with one another as God and Satan, heaven and hell. There will never be a truce. They will eternally be opposite to the death. They are both efficient causes where they will do whatever it takes to further their end, selfishness or benevolence. This is war and one or the other must be exterminated, they cannot co-exist or be in the presence of each other without utter repulsion. The energies are spent to subdue and overcome the other. Selfishness has shed oceans of blood of the saints. For what reason? They love God and the best happiness and good end of all creation. Selfish people just cannot stand that mind set. It puts them into a rage like Satan himself. No wonder Jesus was crucified by a brutal crowd after doing nothing more than healing, teaching, loving, and offering forgiveness to all. What could be more gross and injurious than to prefer selfishness over a loving God sending his own Son to give himself to those he met and now to the whole world? Yet this opposition never ceases and it grows viler every day. We see it in every walk of society. We see it in the war of Islam against the Jews and Christians. We see it in political debate. We see it in the rush to take God out of society as if God were in some way a plague that would destroy us all. Why? Because God represents the anti-selfishness power and any that love the power of self will hate God with a vengeance. We live in the generation of “if it feels good do it” or “I want my rights.” Both of these positions are taken from the stance of self-indulgence and open resistance to God and holiness. One may ask if the mind cannot be attacked by thoughts that misreprese3nt God, placing his character in question and in a false light that even blasphemes the very character of God to the point that the will does not consent but the mind is still filled with the torture of the poison and bitterness of hell so that it even effects the sensibility. This can all happen and yet the will can refuse to yield to selfishness, it can hold fast its integrity as did Job when he made the famous statement, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” (Job 13:15) The beauty of the love of God is that no matter how sharp the conflict the Christian can look back and say, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39) “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” (James 1:12)
- Cruelty is another attribute of selfishness. Can you see the progression? Voluntariness, liberty, intelligence, unreasonableness, interestedness, partiality, impenitence, unbelief, efficiency, and opposition. Now it comes to actual cruelty. This is a state of feeling that represents barbarous or savage pleasure in the misery of others. Islam at its height is like this. It was seen in the attack on the World Trade Center and it is seen in the Jihad that exists around the world. Why is Islam so vehemently opposed to peaceful Christians and Jews so that they will kill the innocent and children? It is because unless they submit to the claims of Christ, the progression that has been demonstrated here takes them to their basest selfish and self-gratifying savagery. Cruelty as a trait of the will and an attribute of selfishness that demonstrates a reckless disregard to the well-being of God and the universe. It perseveres in a course that ruins all the souls that it comes into contact with as much as they can influence them as well as any over which they have direct power. We see it in our generation more than in any other. We see suicide bombers that will kill themselves for the ultimate self-gratification of a paradise with a harem of women and the glee of killing, injuring, and maiming innocent civilians because they do not subscribe to their heinous religion. Sinners that have not gone this far pride themselves that they are not so cruel while the root of the same evil lurks within their own bosom. Selfishness is always cruel-cruel to the soul that allows it to exist, cruel to others with which he has contact, cruel to souls that he should care about for their salvation from hell, and cruel to a God who loves them and died to save them from utter destruction. Can you picture a man that is so stuck on his self desires that he sees a friend’s house on fire with him and his family inside and because of self-interests refuses to give them warning? That is the cruelty of selfishness. Yet the sinner feigns that he has none of that quality in his heart. He parades his compassionate feelings toward those who are sick and in distress or suffer affliction. This person would be shocked if we called him cruel and many professing Christians would take the side of the accused sinner and consider that we were abusing them verbally. They would try to state that they may have many other flaws, but one of them is certainly not cruelty. Yet the very root that leads down the path to cruelty, selfishness, lurks in their very heart. It is the end and scope of their life and given the opportunity or a strong enough reason to efficiently defend their selfish desires, they will descend to the very same pit. As the Bible puts it, “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” (Proverbs 12:10) The very fact that they live in sin, setting an example of selfishness while doing nothing for their own souls or the souls of others, shows that they are really associated with the most atrocious forms of cruelty that relate to the miseries of men in this life. Is any more cruel than one that will trample under foot the Son of God by refusing to accept his bloody sacrifice as if it were nothing because their own self-interests are far more important than the intrinsic value of the God of love and of heaven? That is the height of cruelty!
- Injustice is the next step in the attributes of selfishness. While true justice treats every being with exact equity, injustice is the opposite of this. Injustice is purposely tipping the scale in favor of the selfish minded. Injustice is cheating to gain advantage. Injustice is lying in order to make the other one look bad. Injustice puts self over all other interests and it does not mind breaking all the rules in order to allow self to prevail. The greatest injustice is the end chosen, self. This means that God and man mean nothing as long as self can prevail. This trumps every other type of injustice in the universe and is the end to which all other means to this end is aimed. This selfish person is never just, his whole life is unjust, ruled by his selfish mind and caring nothing for any other being unless there is some ulterior motive. This man’s only interest? Self-Gratification! That is his end in view. That is his purpose in life. All that he does relates to this and since justice demands that he promote God and the highest good of the universe, his very love of self interest is his statement that he is unjust and totally unwilling to repent. Even his play acting at being just, paying debts, being a good neighbor and the like are only really further demonstrations of his selfishness. He does everything for a selfish end and he will never change until he comes to God and renounces his selfish ways and then consecrates his whole being to the good of God and the Universe as his ultimate new end in life. That is the only way a sinner can even hope to begin a change. That is true repentance. There is no other way to change and anything else would only be another way that efficiency creates reasons to promote self interests without doing what is necessary, namely to repent.
- Oppression is yet another attribute of selfishness. Oppression is the spirit of slave holding so that it deprives others of their rights. Any that do this dastardly deed have one end in view, their own self-gratification. The very nature of this selfish person is to enslave God and the entire universe so that all will give up their own interest, happiness and glory and then seek and live for self glory. This person wants all beings to live to and for him. He wishes that all interests be bent and sacrificed for his own. This is a practical denial of the interests of all in the behalf of the selfish person. They are now the only being with rights and all other beings, goods, chattels, and property have lost claim to the selfish person who aims at making all beings serve him so that all interests are subservient to his own interests. This person is so hell-bent on getting his own self-interests satisfied that his whole life, activity, aim, and effort is to secure this selfish end without any regard to the rights or personal liberty of anyone else in existence. This person is so wrapped up in himself that he cannot help but oppress everyone in view. This becomes his consuming passion so that no other interest has any value except those that contribute to him. He does not care what course he takes to secure this end; any course would be equally as oppressive but the end he must have for his own self-gratification and interest. This person treats other human beings as chattel and it matters not whether they are clothed gorgeously or scantily for he is in control. He will only pray to God because he cannot force God to serve him and hopes that God will be tricked into being enslaved by him. His prayers are seldom for God to act on behalf of others, but rather that god will fulfill his every wish and whim. He wants nothing of living for God or of wishing the best end for all other beings. If the selfish do seem to care for others it is only a hypocritical pretence and contradicts their every passion, selfishness. This man cares for people no more than he would care for a horse or a dog. He would take pride in feeding them as a method of throwing glory on himself. This person is the slave trader or holder of days gone by but still exists in foreign countries in the form of wealthy land owners and oppressive despots who become dictators like Saddam Hussein. There is no end to the utter brutality and pain that they can inflict on their subjects. This person practices continual oppression and nothing else. As the Bible says, “they make him serve with their sins.” These despots will actually claim that they are doing God a service and fulfilling His will. How absurd! Oppression always develops itself according to circumstances so that when possible it uses the chain and the whip. Without that power it will use other means to secure the services of others without disinterested return. Oppression assumes many forms but in all of these it is bent on denial of all rights but those of self. It claims God and all beings as belonging to self. The selfish person practicing oppression will enslave God and men and try to appropriate to themselves all good. When they pray it is for a selfish reason to get for self. It is denial of all rights to all but self. It claims God, all beings, and all events as belonging to self. Others dare not even move a muscle unless they get the approval of the selfish oppressor. Even God had best ask them for approval to run the universe, as it were.
- Hostility, whether open hostility or secret hostility, is another attribute of selfishness. Selfishness implies a spirit of strife. It is opposed to peace or amity. In effect, selfishness is a declaration of war on all beings. It sets up self-interest as being in opposition to all other interests so that it will seize upon and subordinate all interests to itself. This creates a perpetual hostility between a selfish being and all benevolent beings. They are his enemies, mutually and necessarily opposed to each other. The Believer is seeking universal good and the selfish are seeking their own gratification without any regard to any other interest but that of self. This creates a course for opposition and war, it is demanded. It is also true that the selfish are not only at war with believers, but with all other selfish individuals. Each selfish individual is fully consecrated to seeking his own self interests and at the same time is denying all rights to anyone but himself. This creates constant strife and hostility toward all. As long as selfishness is in this world, there will be slavery and war because they are both rooted deeply in selfish so that every selfish man, woman or child is at heart an oppressor, a slaveholder, a tyrant, a warrior, a duelist, a pirate, and any and all other forms of tyrannical hostility toward any and all who appear to be a threat to the self interests of the selfish being. This is not just idle talk but it is a stark reality that commands attention. It means that different forms of war and oppression will be constantly being brought to the surface and modified as it meets the demands of a selfish heart in someone. At times, the bloody sword and the manacle or lash will be laid aside for a more refined mode but the war will be carried on, none the less, as long as selfishness continues in the world. It is impossible that the world should not have such individuals and there will be no less guilt when the form of oppression is more refined and specious than before. There will be no less guilt or any less displeasing to God than any other form of oppression. The more creative efficiency modifies this attribute, the more forms of it will appear and the only thing that slows the progress is reaching the world with the Love of God. Though oppression and war change in form they do not change in spirit, they are only strengthened with more forms of the same and more exposure to the claims of Christ. The more the light of the gospel is shown on the selfish, the more their guilt will increase as they become more devious than ever. Sin increases and becomes increasingly sinful in proportion as the light of the truth is shown on the selfish soul and spirit. One may ask what can be done and the answer is to do all that can be done, but the greatest thing that can be done is that along with putting away all evils, the greatest reform would be to put away selfishness. When you reform the heart, the life cannot help but be transformed. Eliminate selfishness and oppression and war will cease. Try to do anything else and you will find you do no more than to build a dam to stop the Mississippi river right in a sand bank. Selfishness will work around the dam and carry its devastation down river until all are effect by its horrific torrent. Some may scoff at this as being heresy and yet God sees the heart, not as man sees. Heathenism with its wars and filthiness God winks at as comparatively light when compared with intelligent and heartless Christianity. That is the greatest evil of all. Remember and let it be forever understood. Selfishness is at war with all nations and all individuals. There is no element of peace in it above what is yielded to the gratification of self. This is the nature of selfishness and as long as it remains, the attributes will remain as well. Any selfish man that claims to be for peace is a hypocrite; he says but does not. He preaches but does not practice what he preaches. Peace is in the mouth but war is in the heart. They make a show of proclaiming peace and good-will while under their stolen robes of peace they have concealed implements of war against God and the whole universe. I want to impress this upon every reader to lodge it in their hearts and guarantee that they will always hold, teach and regard this as a fundamental truth both in the natural realm and also in the Christian realm, that selfish persons, whether Christian in name or not, whether a man of peace or a servant of the Prince of Peace, is really, in his heart, character, and spirit a rebel, an enemy, a warrior, and truly and in fact at war with God and all other beings in the universe.
- Unmercifulness is another attribute of selfishness. If mercy is an attribute of benevolence and it is the disposition to pardon crime so that it will secure conditions upon which the crime can reasonably be forgiven, then unmercifulness is a disposition to refuse to forgive sin. It shows itself by resisting efforts to secure forgiveness or by treating such efforts with coldness and contempt. This can be seen in the manner in which sinners treat the plan of God’s salvation, the atonement of Christ, and the means that God used in sending a Savior to the world to pardon sin. They demonstrate that their tender mercies are actually cruelty. The way that they oppose the gospel, revivals, and other demonstrations of the mercy of God show that unmercifulness is just part of their character. They man generally profess to be friends of mercy and may even publicly proclaim that they extol the mercies of God but how do they treat His mercies? To they embrace the gospel and do they show that they favor it in such a way that they hold it forth to all men as worthy of acceptation? Or, are they constantly at war with it? How did these supposed friends of mercy treat Christ when He came with his errand of mercy? They gave the most grotesque demonstration of what unmercifulness is all about, the hideous crucifixion of an innocent man, Jesus Christ, the very embodiment of mercy. This has always been the case when true mercy is being shown to the world. We can listen to the blood of the prophets and apostles as it speaks to us along with millions of martyrs; we can especially listen to the blood of Jesus Christ as it cries out from the cross that the perfection of unmercifulness is an eternal attribute of selfishness. Whenever a selfish person appears to be merciful, beware, it is only appearance. He may yield to some feelings, be sensitive but only for selfish reasons. The reason that every sinner does not go to the very depths of unmercifulness is that God has created them with a conscience and even though they have not submitted to God they have godly persons in this world that influence their lives and temper this trait. He is unmerciful and will remain unmerciful while he remains in sin. To say that he is not an unmerciful wretch is to represent what he is at heart, no matter who it is. “That delicate female, who would faint at the sight of blood, if she is a sinner, she is spurning and scorning the mercy of God. She lets others go down to hell unpardoned, without an effort to secure their pardon. Shall she be represented as other than unmerciful? No language can describe the hardness of her heart. See! the cup of salvation is presented to her lips by a Savior’s bleeding hand. She, nevertheless, dashes it from her, and tramples its contents beneath her feet. It passes from lip to lip; but she offers no prayer that it may be accepted; or if she does, it is only the prayer of a hypocrite, while she rejects it herself. No, with all her delicacy, her tender mercies are utter cruelty. With her own hands she crucifies the Son of God afresh, and would put him to open shame! O monstrous! A woman murdering the Saviour of the world! Her hands and garments all stained with blood! And call her merciful! O shame, where is thy blush?” – Charles Finney
- Falsehood, or lying, is another attribute of selfishness. It can be objective or subjective. Objective falsehood stands opposed to truth while subjective falsehood is a heart conformed to error. Subjective falsehood is a state of the mind, and attribute of selfishness that wills the resisting of truth and of embracing errors and lies. This is always known as selfishness. Selfishness chooses an end that is opposed to all truth; it cannot proceed in any other way but to conform to error or falsehood rather than to truth. If it ever discovers objective truth, as it does at times, it does so without intending to do so. Its intention is to be at war with truth in the nature and relations of things. If any sinner, at any time, and for any reason tells the truth, it is for a selfish purpose. He has a lie in his heart and a lie at his right hand. His life stands upon falsehood and if he does not uniformly and openly falsify the truth it is because objective truth is consistent with subjective falsehood. His very heart is false; it is as false as it can be. He has sold himself to the greatest lie in the universe, that his good is the supreme good and that there is no other good but his own; that there are no other rights but his own; that all persons are bound to serve him; and that all interests of others must yield to his. As we said, this is the greatest of all falsehoods that ever was or can be. Yet this is the declared position of every sinner. By his very choice he says that God has no rights, that he should not love or obey Him, that God has no right to govern the universe, that the God and all other beings should be subservient to him, the sinner. Is there any lie greater than this? Yet they pretend that they love the truth! Wrong! This very position is only giving us a brazen example of just how much falsehood is a marked part of this man’s character. The fact that all sinners do not always openly lie is not because truthfulness is in the heart but it is for some selfish reason. His heart is false and it is impossible he would ever have any regard for the truth unless he repents. He is a liar at heart just like Satan, the father of all liars, and even though his intellect condemns falsehood and justifies truth, yet his heart is unchanged, it holds on to lies. The main lie is that no one can trust God, that Christ is not worthy of confidence, and one of the main lies is that Lordship is evil. He really believes down inside that his own interest is the supreme good and that all other interests, even God’s, is of less value than his own.
- Pride is another attribute of selfishness. Pride is the disposition to exalt self above others. It is climbing out of the proper place on the totem pole, as it were, and moving up to the top above others far more worthy than the proud one. Pride is related to injustice, on one hand, and to ambition on the other. It remains closer to both of them as a relation but is not identical with either. It is self-praise, self-worship, self-flattery, self-adulation, a spirit of self-consequence, and of self-importance. It exalts not only the interests of a selfish person, but it also exalts the very person far above all others and even above God. This proud person regards himself as being supreme and he can worship no one but self. He is so stuck on himself that he just cannot conceive of anyone more good or worthy than himself. He even confers special favor on himself and will allow no being in the universe to receive any good where it interferes with his own good. He will stoop to give preference to the interests; reputation and authority of no one not even God except for an outward show. His heart says, “Who is Jehovah, that I should bow to him?” He is a clone of Satan and his pride. The bible says that they are proud and flatter themselves in their own eyes. Pride is only a modification of selfishness as is every form of sin. Most people don’t even consider selfishness as evil at all much less being the whole root of evil. In fact, some have thought that along with selfish comes many forms of virtue. We need to see that there are many elements of selfishness. What has been overlooked is that where selfishness is, there is every form of sin. Also where one form of selfishness comes into view, one can be sure that every commandment of God has been broken and every form of sin exists in the heart. What we are saying here is that where selfishness exists there lies in the dark recesses of the heart, either developed or ready to be developed, every form of sin that exists on earth or in hell. All sin is a unit and consists of some form of selfishness so that where selfishness is one can find virtually every form of evil. Pride may not seem to be apparent in everyone in its worst forms because the temperament of some will not allow them to go to the depths that pride could take them, yet it is still there. Wherever sin exists, in any form, selfishness exists as well, and sins exist even if they are in embryonic state. They only wait for circumstances to develop the embryo into a full grown beast. Thus when you see sin, know that selfishness is there. Like a volcano, it may be silent for awhile as if smothered, but eventually it will take vent and destroy all that stand before it. We are discussing this because so few actually comprehend the basic philosophy of sin, that which constitutes the whole of it. That is what selfishness is. Beware, it lurks in the darkness and if given a chance it will rage forth with hideous power and destruction.
- Enmity against God is also an attribute of selfishness. Enmity is hatred as an attitude of the will; it is selfishness viewed in its relations to God. Where do we learn this? We learn that enmity is against God: (a) From the Bible. Paul says it this way: “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Romans 8:7) The carnal mind obeys the desires of the flesh. This is selfishness. (b) Selfishness is directly opposed to the will of God, expressed in His law and requiring benevolence, and it is therefore enmity against the Lawgiver. (c) Selfishness is hostile to God’s government as much as possible. It opposes every law, principle and measure of government as expressed in God’s laws which it is against. (d) Selfishness is opposition to God’s very existence. When you oppose the government, you oppose the governor and his will. That is why people are opposed to God. If God exists, then his government exists and they are then guilty of breaking his laws and deserve the penalty for such crimes. Selfishness prefers to live as though God does not exist so that there is no restraint in securing the ends of selfishness which God would surely oppose. It God’s happiness, government, or being comes into competition with the almighty selfishness of the sinner then it is God and all that are associated with Him that must go. They must be sacrificed if selfishness could actually accomplish such an end. Is it any wonder that a false religion like Islam will try to eliminate any and all who believe in the true God in order to promote their false wanabee fake “god” names Allah? They must do so in order to accomplish the ends of Allah. Sounds to me like Allah is the ultimate self centered monster of the world. A real God requires love and sees the intrinsic value of all. A false God like Allah or a false religion like Scientology always promote the self image and think nothing about the evil created by their selfish bent toward self-gratification. (e) God is the uncompromising enemy of selfishness; it is abominable and His soul hates it like nothing else. He stands in the way of selfishness so that selfishness sees him as the supreme enemy and one to be hated. (f) For this reason selfishness is the mortal enemy of God; it has mortal enmity against him. There is no conjecture or inference in this enmity because God brought living benevolence to earth in the form of Jesus Christ and selfishness did not rest until it had murdered the Prince of Life. (g) Because of this, selfishness is so supremely against God that it is opposed to Him more than all other beings in the universe. (h) This is demanded of selfishness because God is more opposed to selfishness than any other enemy in the world. He stands directly and eternally in its way. Either selfishness is destroyed or it must oppose God to the death. (i) Enmity against any other thing or body besides God can be overcome. Earthy enmities are overcome by kindness or a change of circumstances; but what sort of kindness or change in circumstances will change the selfish heart and overcome this enmity that reigns inside? (j) Selfishness has no limit as to the manner and degree of resistance that it will generate against a living God. It disregards His commands, condemns His authority, outrages his feelings, and provokes his forbearance; in short, selfishness is the universal antagonist and adversary of God. It cannot be reconciles to God or be subject to His law or it would no longer be selfishness, and that is wherein the battle rages.
- Madness is another attribute of selfishness. Madness can mean anger, intellectual insanity, or moral insanity. We refer to the last of the three. Moral insanity is not insanity of the mind but of the heart. When we speak of moral insanity we state that the conscience is in full operation but the selfish individual acts unreasonably as if they were deranged in their mind and intellect. The Bible states it this way: “This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.” (Ecclesiastes 9:3) It has been shown that sinners-selfish persons-act in every instance in direct opposition to what would be considered reasonable. It is plain that every selfish soul is morally insane. He chooses to seek his own interest as an end and would rather have straw than the whole universe of truth. The sad thing is that he does so knowingly because without selfishness he can never secure his own higher selfish interests. Can anyone be more insane than to desire his own petty self-gratification above the infinite interests of God and the whole universe? Worse still, they do it with the knowledge that they can really gain nothing for themselves but the destruction of self in a most complete and sure way. Sin is thus the greatest absurdity, mystery, and contradiction in the whole universe. We are talking about madness, an essential element of selfishness. All sinners, without exception, have to be morally mad to persist in their insane losing direction. The very choice of an end that will destroy them is madness. It is infinitely unreasonable. They pursue selfishness with madness and oppose anything that stands in the way with madness. It is all madness, infinitely. The whole world is a moral bedlam, an insane hospital, and sinners are the patients with no doctors in sight, except for God. Oops! I forgot that he is the enemy! God forbid that we should seek help from the Great Physician, Jesus Christ. If they cannot be cured they will be confined to the ultimate mad house for all eternity. They cannot see their own madness or that of others because they are all mad together and the madness has the same root, selfishness. They imagine that Christians are mad and they are sane. They pronounce us to be in need. What other conclusion is there? What if they should discover that it is they, not Christians, which are mad? This is definitely a heart condition, not an intellectual one. They voluntarily choose this way and it is not unavoidable. If it were, they would have no guilt and God could not condemn them to hell, but they are guilty before God because it is their choice and as long as they persist in this choice they are without excuse. To think that they act rationally on any subject is a mistake because they do everything for the same selfish ultimate reason which is totally irrational. Their choice of an end and of a means to that end is total madness and desperation of spirit. It is so common and yet fills a believer in Jesus with amazement and horror.
- Impatience is another attribute of selfishness. Impatience is resisting providence. It is fretfulness, ill temper, and anger in the form of emotion but it is an unsubmissive and rebellious state of feeling toward the trials that occur under the administration of God’s providential government. Impatience is resistance to God’s providential dispensations, it has no faith in God and no confidence in his wisdom and goodness; since it has a heart set upon self-gratification, it is constantly disappointed by life in general. God is infinitely wise and benevolent and exercises universal providence. Everything that he does is conducted with the highest good of the universe in mind. That means that the ends which God pursues will often interfere with selfish projects. They will have continual disappointment because God’s goals are in direct opposition to their goals and are designed to make war with their selfish ways. So many times the best laid plans of the selfish are blown to the winds so that no matter who the selfish person is, he will see life as a series of disappointments, vexations, and trials. Self-will cannot help but be impatient under God’s benevolent government because of this. If selfishness had its way, everything would result in selfishness and self-gratification. However, God’s wisdom cannot allow them to be comfortable in this state of mind. The two are on a constant collision course, and unless selfishness ceases to be what it is, the results will always be the same. In its selfish state, the will must not only sustain crosses and disappointments, but it must also produce a feverish and fretful state of feeling from the common trials of life. The greatest way to annihilate self-will and produce complete unqualified submission to God is to have sympathy with God and confidence in His wisdom and goodness, and universal providence. This will prevent impatience which is always a form of selfishness. This resistance to God, this self-will that arrays itself against whatever thwarts or opposes its gratification, must be gratified or displeased. Understand that when trials expose the impatience of one’s heart, it is also exposing a selfish attitude. God designs trials for this reason-to develop a submissive, confiding, and patient state of mind. The selfish mind, according to the Bible, is like a bullock that is unaccustomed to the yoke (Jeremiah 31:18). It is restive, self-willed, impatient, and rebellious. Benevolence gets exercised when self-will is subdued. At that time we do not feel disappointments, trials, and crosses. When a person has no way or will or their own about anything and at the same time they have great sympathy with God, as well as confidence in Him, they will not be disappointed in any way so that their spirit is vexed and broken; they will have peace in their soul. The truth is that unless selfishness is abandoned there can be no peace in the heart. “I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the LORD my God.” (Jeremiah 31:18) Selfishness demands God to be partial to them for selfish reasons but the divine will not bend to what could be called “minority rights.” God is more interested in the big picture and in what is best for the entire universe. This produces resistance, fretting, and selfishness on the part of the sinner which must be abandoned or they will never trust in God.
- Intemperance is also a form of selfishness. Any time a person is unreasonably self-indulgent, it shows their selfishness. They are committed only to indulging their appetites until one or more of them take over the will completely. There is usually an overshadowing passion that rules the will for its own gratification. Intemperance can take the form of a love of money, love of sex, love of family, love of drink, or love of praise. One or more of these can take over the whole being so that it becomes a ruling tyrant, ruling over the soul to its own destruction. It allows undue or unlawful indulgence of any propensity. Intemperance is a selfish which allows unlawful indulgences that become habits. It has many forms of constitutional and artificial appetites to gratify. A selfish mind cannot be temperate. If it restrains one habit it is for the indulgence in another instead. Sometimes bodily appetites are restrained for intellectual ones or vice versa. There must, however, be gratification of some desire which becomes habitual. Intemperance can develop in many areas: eating, sleeping, lounging and idleness, gossip, exercising profusely, drugs, liquor, smoking, sex, experimenting with exotic drugs, or any other habit forming type of activity. Every one of these is equally a form of self-indulgence which, in turn, is a form of selfishness. This is inconsistent with any virtue in the heart. One may ask if it is not proper to allow the appetites some sway in our lives since they are natural, after all. The answer is that any appetite that becomes the reason that we live, irrespective of God or of others, has become a selfish appetite. Perhaps that is why Jesus said regarding the man that was demon possessed, “This kind commeth forth by nothing but by prayer and fasting.” Jesus felt that the appetites being in control inhibits the power of the Holy Spirit. Intemperance is even manifest in the decisions that we make in regard to serving God. If we choose to serve God where the scenery is great but the results that we can obtain are negligible, rather than a place with less scenery and a great harvest of souls, we may be allowing our love of beautiful scenery to affect the choices that we make. We may not have proper temperance when it comes to controlling our love of the outdoors and of nature’s beauties. It is not wrong to love these things in their proper place but to allow them to have complete control is allowing intemperance to control the life. A good example is of a home missions couple that had a choice of two places of service, both with somewhat pleasing scenery. One was in Florida in a place with over two million people and about 80% of them without a church home, the other was in the beautiful desert of California, a place where one can drive miles and see nothing but tumble weed and cactus. The California location had a good church already in place that did need help but the other, in Florida, had a new church being planted and the need was extremely great and without some help such as they could provide would possibly struggle to survive. This couple chose the California location because of the climate. God has made these things for us to enjoy, but to make the love of them more important than the intrinsic value of God’s service and of the value of the need of the people is choosing for the wrong reason, selfishness. Intemperance, as a sin, is not just the outward act of indulgence but the state of heart which creates that act. A person may wish to drink alcohol to their heart’s content but may be gripped with a greater desire, that of a selfish regard to his reputation and not because of any benevolence at all. Because of his appetite for personal recognition which outweighs his desire to drink does he allow the desire to drink to be overcome by another desire. It is the same with all forms of desire that cause intemperance but the heart is such that if they could they would indulge all their evil desires and are just as guilty as if they did. The reason is that selfishness is the aggregate of all sin so that a person who is selfish is guilty of breaking the whole law and committing every type of sin therein. “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.” (James 2:10-11) Consider the following: (a) That a person has committed the will to self-indulgence, and as a result- (b) No one tendency would be denied if it were not for another that is indulged in instead. (c) If there is no better reason than this for ceasing to indulge in another desire, then a selfish man is guilty, in the sight of God, with actually gratifying every desire anyway. (d) This only leads to the plain conclusion that a selfish man is full of sin and his heart is full of every sort of evil abomination.” The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) (e) “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28) He may not commit the outward act because he lacks opportunity or because the love of his reputation or fear of disgrace rules over his lust after the woman and yet he is just as guilty as if he committed the act. Intemperance, as a crime, is a state of the mind and an attitude of the will and is consistent with the attribute of selfishness. It chooses to satisfy appetites and habits regardless of the law of benevolence/love. (f) This is intemperance so that as long as the will is committed to self-indulgence and that nothing but the power of some other selfish desire keeps one from unlimited indulgence in every wicked habit, it follows that every selfish person or every sinner is chargeable in the sight of God with every type of intemperance, actual or conceived in the mind. His lusts have the reigns in his heart and they guide him wherever they wish because he has sold himself to self-indulgence. He has a readiness in him to perpetrate any and every sin but he was not deterred by the overpowering fear of consequences.
- Moral recklessness is another attribute of selfishness. This is a moral carelessness that seeks to gratify self regardless of the ultimate consequences. It is a spirit of infatuation, rushing to ruin with no thought of the final outcome. This is one of the most prominent attributes of selfishness, universally prominent and manifest. It is striking and even astonishing to behold the recklessness of every sinner; self-indulgence is his motto. The only thing that keeps him from indulging in one form of sin is the desire to indulge in another. Even that choice is selfish. It has nothing at all to do with the glory of God or the good of being in general, only to selfish interests. It is not a question of whether he will indulge himself at the time, but rather is there some other selfish desire that is more important causing him to deny the one at hand. When a sinner considers giving up sin, it is only certain forms while they retain others. They will not come clean with all sin the turn completely to God. They man be clinging to the sin of selfish pride which wants to show that there can be virtue without God in one’s life. They would not want to let go and let God, but would be willing to give some things up for the sake of looks which is still indulging in selfishness and not benevolence. The tell tale sign is that when it comes to the commands and threatenings of God, their very disregard to considering God’s view of things is ample proof that they are making reckless plans to put on an act but keep God out of the picture completely. When one considers the consequences of continuing in sin, a sinner shows appalling recklessness to cleave to self-indulgence in the face of such considerations. His recklessness is infinite.
- Unity is another attribute of selfishness. Selfishness and all sin is a unit. There are not really various kinds of sins or of selfishness, but selfishness is always one and the same thing. It always has the same ultimate end, and the indulgence of different appetites or passions does not imply different ultimate ends. It has only one end in view with different means of accomplishing this one end. In a similar way, there is only one form of virtue, which is also a unit. This also consists in an ultimate intention, namely, the highest well-being of God and the universe as an end. This intention never changes and all forms of virtue aimed at realizing this end are only energized by the same one unified end, love to God and others. It is the same with selfishness where one choice, the choice of one great end, self-gratification or self-indulgence, is the one and only end that all forms of sin provide the means to accomplish this all encompassing end. Every little nuance or shift and turn in the modes of indulgence during the history of the sinner still are direct means to the same unifying end, self-indulgence. It is the same end that is energizing all forms of sin in the accomplishing of this end, this one simple end. People lose sight of the fact that various forms of sin and holiness consist in their minds as the outward acts but that the motivation for these acts lies inside in the form of the ultimate intention of the heart. Holiness and sin are only benevolence and selfishness on display. Each one is of one great choice, one ultimate end in view. Get that in mind and all the complication regarding various forms of sin or holiness disappears. Holiness is one thing, disinterested benevolence. Sin is one thing, selfishness. This is why the Bible declares, “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Galatians 5:14) That is the whole of virtue and all of what we call different forms of virtue are only various means of reaching the same end, love. On the other hand, the Bible also says, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10) Offending in one point implies the real commission of all sin, which implies selfishness since it is the breaking of the law of love to others, disinterested benevolence. This is interested selfishness. Christians of all walks of life need to see the deeper motives behind all of life and look into what we have discussed here as the philosophy of moral government so that the veil can be taken away and the sin of our generation exposed for what it really is to the public gaze, the sin of selfishness and self-indulgence. While it is true that different means or forms of sin and holiness have their respective rewards and punishments, it still does not alter the fundamental truth-either disinterested benevolence or selfishness is the one ultimate end of all saints or sinners. They are units, eternal opposites, powerful antagonists who will never dwell together on earth, in heaven, or in hell.
- Egotism is another attribute of selfishness. This does not necessarily mean that a person is actually talking about and praising self but there is a mind set that consists of self-laudation. A parrot talks about itself but it is not accused of having a big ego. Moral agents are not sinning when they speak of themselves as God does in order to inform ignorant men of his great character and love. The same is true of Jesus Christ who sought to introduce himself to the world and share the nature and design of his mission with them. He spoke much of himself and of his relationship with the Father. No one would think of accusing them of egotism. What we could call sinful egotism is a selfish state of the will as is all sin. It is a disposition toward selfishness which cannot be anything else but egotistical in its mind set, language, and deportment. This egotistical state of mind is revealed in various ways; it is seen in self-commendation and laudation, selfish aims and actions, and of exalting self in action and in word. An egotistical spirit speaks of itself and its achievements in such a way as to reveal that self is a very important personage in the person’s life. It demonstrates self as being the end of everything, the great idol before which all are required to bow down and worship. The truth is that egotistical selfish is nothing short of setting up the claim that self is more important than God and the whole universe and should be universally worshipped. God and all other beings should be entirely consecrated to these egotistical selfish interests of this selfish person to the promotion of his own selfish glory. Is there anything more disgusting? The thoughts are upon self; the heart is upon self; self-flattery is a result; the man is a self-flatterer, a self-deceiver, and a self-devotee. He may even be careful not to speak too much of self for fear of being contemptible to others. He may even degrade himself with the intention of eliciting praise from others as a sort of self-promoting humility that eyes the praise that will be forth-coming when he speaks of himself in self-abasing terms. This is totally egotistical; it evidences his humility and his self-knowledge for the discerning mind to see. His design is to draw forth admiration and applause. It is a spirit of self-deification, as selfishness always is, though not manifest in words, it is manifest in deeds that draw the words from others. The bottom line is that the importance of self is assumed by the heart and it finds a way to manifest itself. It may even parade as self-emptiness, a more refined form of egotism, which says come and see my humility. There are endless ways an egotistical spirit will manifest itself, so subtle and refined that they appear to resemble Satan with stolen garments of an angel of light. An egotistical spirit thrusts itself into the best seat, the best table, the best position in line, the highest state room or other types of activity to impress others with the supreme importance of this selfish individual. Speaking about self is not necessarily proof of an egotistical spirit but it is the manner that one uses that gives it away. A person may speak of self if it will glorify God and benefit others. If the mind is simple and he is open-heartedly transparent so that he has no ulterior motive but to help people and as such he speaks candidly of faults and virtues with no desire to have selfish gain from such discussions. Paul the Apostle spoke about his life and accomplishments only as a vindication of his life of service for God and not to get any selfish gain. He had been slandered, misrepresented, and generally hindered by his enemies so that he sought to set the record straight, as it were, to let people know his side of the issue only to give them the facts. It had nothing to do with ego but a selfish egotistical person will see something like that in a benevolent person and accuse them of what they practice because of their own guilt feelings. Generally speaking, however, a person who is disinterestedly benevolent would not want to bring glory to self. It is totally opposed to the best end of God and the universe, which end they live for.
- Simplicity is another attribute of selfishness. Here we are intending to say two things: (a) Singleness, unmixed, or unmingled, and- (b) Selfishness is always as intense as it can be under the circumstances. To expand:
Let’s speak of these two in order:
- Selfishness is simple in that it is uncompounded or unmixed. It is, as we have been saying, the ultimate choice or intention. It is the supreme choice of the soul and it is self-evident that no other opposing choice can be consistent with the selfish choice of an end. The mind cannot work for purpose of different life purposes at the same time; it is not possible. If that were possible, choices would have no moral character because there would be no clear intention. True choices must always imply an intention. Thus, selfish intentions cannot co-exist with benevolent intentions. When we speak of simplicity we are talking about uncompounded or unmixed, and as an attribute of selfishness. This is what Jesus taught in the Bible: “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24) “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.” (James 3:11-12) As we can see, even the Bible sees the simplicity as we are saying.
- Selfishness is always as intense as it can be under the circumstances. First of all, remember, it is a choice. Selfish is choosing self-indulgence as the ultimate end of life. Thus, if a selfish person chooses to repose it is because that is the desire of the moment. If they are energetic, they may choose some other preferred desire at that time but either way, the choice made is for a preferred self-motivated reason. Self-gratification is the end in view and though there are different means to reach that end, it remains simply the same end after all. With this thinking in view, there are any number of a myriad of desires that could be prevalent in the mind at any one time which a selfish person will give himself to because he is given to self-indulgence in any way that it may be had. It is intense enough to seek the same end by numerous means. Whenever a new means becomes stronger than the previous one, the desire will change but the end is still the same, self-indulgence in its myriad of forms. Whenever a selfish man considers benevolence there can only be one of two reactions: either he will abandon selfish entirely for benevolence, or he will create a negative reaction resulting in the selfishness growing ever stronger in direct opposition to any thought of benevolence that has entered the mind and laid claim upon the conscience. So, unless the person listens to the light that has shined into his or her heart, namely, to turn from selfishness to Christ by faith, they create a state of heart that cannot remain static but it must either yield to benevolence or indulge still more in selfishness and in so doing it will increase obstinacy in proportion to the light that has shined upon their selfish state of heart. This means that the intensity of selfish will be as great as it can be or else it will begin to yield and give way to the truth of God’s love.
26. Total moral depravity is implied in selfishness as one of its attributes. By this we intend that every selfish person is as wicked and as blameworthy as he can possibly be with the knowledge that he has. Let’s establish some things:
- We will remind you what makes up moral character.
- We will review the foundation of moral obligation.
- We will review again the conditions of moral obligation.
- We will show again the unity of moral obligation.
- We will show again the unity of virtue and vice.
- We will discuss how to measure moral obligation.
- We will discuss the fact that the guilt of a transgression is equal to the degree of obligation.
- We will again discuss the fact that moral agents are either as holy or as sinful as they can be with the knowledge that they have.
- Because of these statements, we will also show that total moral depravity is an attribute of selfish in that every sinner is as selfish as he can possibly be with the light that he has.
Let’s discuss these in order:
- What makes up moral character? We have repeatedly shown that it belongs only to ultimate intention, or that it consists in the choice of an ultimate end, or the end of life.
- The foundation of moral obligation.
- Moral character implies moral obligation.
- Moral obligation means ultimate intention.
- Ultimate choice or intention is choosing the ultimate end for its own sake.
- The foundation of the obligation to choose something for its own sake is the intrinsic value of the thing chosen.
- The highest good of God and of the universe has great intrinsic and infinite value.
- This leads us to the conclusion that the highest well-being of God and of the universe of created beings is the actual foundation of moral obligation-that is-the ultimate end to which all moral agents should consecrate themselves.
- The conditions of moral obligation.
- The powers of moral agency, the five senses–body; the mind, emotions and will-soul; and the conscience, intuition and communion-spirit
- The existence of an end and the perception of that end which ought to be chosen.
- The obligation to make a decision to will the conditions and the means to reach the ultimate end, the good of being, as well as the efforts to secure this good end are conditioned as shown here and also the knowledge that there are ways to achieve this good as long as the necessary possible utility and effort is put forth.
- The unity of moral obligation.
- Moral obligation strictly only belongs to ultimate intention.
- Moral obligation requires only one choice or intention.
- It requires that every moral agent honestly should will, intend, or choose the highest good of being as an end at all times and under all circumstances with all the necessary conditions and means to achieve these ends.
- The unity of virtue and vice
- Virtue is a unit as it must be since it consists in compliance with moral obligation which is also a unit.
- Virtue can consist only in the choice of one and the same ultimate end.
- Sin consists in selfishness and selfish is also ultimate choice, the choice of self-gratification as an end for its own sake.
- Selfishness is always one and the same choice, or it is always the choice of the same end.
- That means that selfishness or sin is a unit. It must be!
- Virtue is the moral element of disinterested benevolence or good-willing. Conversely, sin or vice is the moral element of selfishness. They are both units in the opposite direction. They are two worlds.
- How to measure moral obligation.
- All will agree by reason and by revelation that there are degrees of guilt which makes some guiltier than others at a given time or at different times he may be more or less guilty according to the time in question.
- The same can be said of virtue that there are degrees of virtue and that one person can be more virtuous than another or more virtuous at different times than at other times. Another way to put it is that one may grow in either virtue or in vice.
- It is generally believed that a person is either praiseworthy or blameworthy, with the same amount of light and understanding, depending upon the degree of effort put forth to accomplish either virtue or vice. We will show that this is a serious and injurious error.
- It is also generally believed that two different people with the same degree of light or knowledge and either being equally selfish or benevolent, may differ in the degree of virtue or vice according to how much they pursue their outward conduct. We will also show that this is in error.
- The only way to arrive at the truth regarding moral obligation is to know how it is measured, which will then show the degree of virtue or sin. Then, the amount of virtue or vice, praise or blame-worthiness, will be decided by the degree of the moral obligation. We should point out that praise for virtue does not match punishment for vice. When you are to pay a debt of $100 and you do, you have done what is right. The one that you owe has no obligation to do any more than to say thanks, and maybe not even that. You have done your duty. The reward is that you have done what you were supposed to do. But if you refuse to pay when you have the power to do so, the blame is far greater than any praise one would get for doing their duty. The Bible describes this by saying, “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” (Luke 17:10) The difference is that virtue is only compliance with what is right, with obligation, doing what one can and being without sin. On the other hand, vice is violence against obligation or what is right. It is destroying the end that God has in view for the universe and for happiness for all. So how can we measure moral obligation?
- Moral obligation is founded in the intrinsic value of the highest well-being of God and the universe; and-
- The conditions of this obligation are possessing the powers of moral agency and the light to comprehend in the spirit what the obligation is by knowing the end to be chosen.
- The obligation is thus measured by the mind of the spirit’s honest apprehension or judgment of the intrinsic value of the end that is chosen. We know that nothing else is the standard of obligation or of guilt by the following:
- Obligation is not measured by God’s infinite ability other than having knowledge of his infinite interests. He is infinite and his well-being must be of intrinsic and infinite value. However, unless a moral agent knows and understands this, he is under no obligation to will it as an ultimate end. He is only under obligation when he knows it to be of value and that he is required to choose it for that reason. His obligation is only measured by how well he apprehends this intrinsic value.
- Moral obligation cannot be measured by the infiniteness of His authority without taking into account the amount of knowledge a moral agent has of that authority for the same reasons.
- Moral obligation cannot be measured by the infiniteness of God’s moral excellence without a reference to the value of his interests and a corresponding knowledge on the part of the moral agent of those infinite interests. If we are to choose God’s interests as and end and for their relative value, we could not do so without a knowledge of what his interests are and so we can not be under obligation to desire an end of which we have no knowledge. Obligation cannot surpass knowledge.
- If the rule regarding the fact that infinite excellence of God is measured by the amount of knowledge that a moral agent has then guilt is measured in the same way. It cannot be measured without knowledge on the part of the moral agent.
- Moral obligation cannot be measured by just the value of the good or well-being of God without reference to the knowledge that a moral agent has of this value as we have said.
- Moral obligation cannot be measured by a particular course of life that is pursued by an individual. This is because moral obligation has nothing to do with outward life because it directly applies to intentions only which ultimately decide the outward actions in ones life. The guilt of any action cannot be measured by reference to the kind of action without regard to the intention because moral character is not the outward act in life but the ultimate intention that the act represents. Consequently-
- The degree of moral obligation with reference to intent, including degree of guilt from disobedience, cannot be properly estimated without considering the knowledge that existed in the mind of the person, the moral agent. Selfish intention is a unit and is always the same.
- Also, the degree of guilt cannot be measured by the tendency of sin toward infinite evil which would ruin the universe but the sinner may not know that fact. So, no matter what the ultimate result the sin may cause, the finite mind may not know just how evil the sin is and what it will cause so that if this were the standard for judging guilt then sin would be the same across the board which is not so. Remember, moral obligation is not founded on the tendency of an action but in the intrinsic value of the end. This means that measuring sin or holiness by tendencies is not proper since the tendency cannot be known by all moral agents. Thus tendency cannot be the rule for obligation or guilt.
- Moral obligation is not estimated by the results of a moral action or course of action. Moral obligation is intention so that the only results to be considered are what was intended, nothing more. One could not say that when Judas betrayed Christ (evil intention) good came because Jesus died for the sins of the world. The results of his action cannot measure the guilt of the action of betrayal of the Son of God. In the same way, when God created the universe and man sinned, one cannot say that the creation was evil since man chose to sin. The results may not match the intention so the intention must be what decides moral obligation and not what results transpire.
- We are saying here that moral obligation is measured by what the mind perceives as of intrinsic value as an end to be chosen, namely, the highest well-being of God and the universe. Choosing the best end for all. Conversely, selfishness involves the rejection of God, his interests and of the good of the universe that would result from choosing God and the good of the universe. It is a knowing rejecting of by spurning his interests and those of the universe that cannot function without God and then puts self-interests in the place of God and others as the ultimate end. What this means is that a selfish man’s guilt is in direct proportion to the knowledge that he has of the value of the interests that he rejects.
Let’s see what the scriptures say:
“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:” (Acts 17:30) The apostle refers to past ages when there was no revelation from God and though they were not totally without guilt for their sin, yet because of ignorance they would have far less guilt than some do today who have received full revelation. We live in a time when the Gospel is readily available on T.V., radio, internet, and almost on every corner and the fact that society is openly rejecting what is in plain view as to the love of God and the message of salvation puts them in far greater jeopardy than the heathen who have no knowledge.
“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17) This implies that knowledge is essential for moral obligation to exist. This implies that the guilt of the sinner is always equal to the amount of knowledge that he has on the subject. Obligation is always based upon the mind’s perception of the value of the end which should be chosen but rather is rejected. If a man knows that he ought to do good but does not do it, he has sinned. His guilt is measured by his knowledge.
“Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.” (John 9:41) Here Jesus asserts that men without knowledge would be without sin, and that men that have knowledge and then still sin, are held guilty for what they know. This means that the amount of light or knowledge is directly proportional to the amount of guilt for the sin committed. We can see how the Bible assumes first truths, truths that need not be proven because all know them in their conscience. It is striking just how simple and candid the Bible truly is and how none would object to its conclusions.
“If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.” (John 15:22-24) Christ is saying the same thing that we just said, that the amount of light or knowledge determines the amount of guilt. We should say, however, that if Jesus did not come it would not have removed the guilt of the Jews because they had the Old Testament revelation. So, as we see, he is speaking comparatively. Their sin was that they saw him and saw his miracles and yet they rejected him after seeing Him do what no man had ever done in history. That was their great sin. In like manner we have people in our generation that have actually opposed Christ and set out to prove Him to be a fake but with the knowledge that they discovered they actually changed their belief and became followers of Jesus. Josh McDowell is a great example of this fact. His book is “Evidence that Demands a Verdict.” When people tell me that they are atheists I don’t have pity on them. It only proves to me that they have not tried to find the truth or they would have done like so many others have done. Mostly, people who claim to be atheists are so by choice and after having received knowledge they have flatly rejected it for selfish considerations or for a life style that could not possibly include God.
“And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” (Luke 12:47-48) Here we see the fact that men will be punished according to the knowledge that they have. God requires more from men according to the light that they have. Our generation will be required to pay for having the light of wondrous unlimited sources of light and yet rejecting the light that they have.
“Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” (1 Timothy 1:13) Paul the apostle had done things that were horrible, yet from ignorance and under the darkness of unbelief. He obtained mercy when he may not have done so because it came from the malignancy of sin and favored his obtaining mercy. He says,
“I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.” (Acts 26:9) Paul says that his degree of guilt in rejecting the Messiah also had to do with his obtaining pardon when he accepted Jesus as Messiah.
“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” (Luke 23:34) Jesus is suffering on the cross, surrounded with Roman soldiers who had no idea who He was while scribes and priests screamed for his death. His prayer was, “…they know not what they do.” Not that they had no guilt or they would not need forgiveness, but it implied that their guilt was softened by their ignorance. If they had known him as the Messiah, their guilt might have been unpardonable. Still, the fact that they shut their eyes to the evidence that they had made their ignorance willful which made it sinful!
“Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.” (Matthew 11:20-24) Why does Jesus bring such an accusation against these cities? Because most of his mighty miracles were done there! They knew him and yet rejected him. He was in their synagogues and streets daily and yet they rejected him. Their guilt was very great according to their great knowledge. He proved himself to them but to no avail. He compares them to Sodom, one of the most wicked cities in all of history that God had destroyed and called them more guilty than Sodom simply because they had great knowledge.
“Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres. Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.” (Luke 11:47-51) Why was it that God said that they deserved the blood of all the martyred prophets? Because they had revelation which no other nation did and yet they sinned in rejecting it. God never does something without justice. He never punished people beyond what they deserved. The question is why, and how, did these people deserve this fearful and augmented visitation of the wrath of God for past centuries of persecutions against His prophets? There are two reasons: 1) they sinned against accumulated light (like we have in our present western world), and they virtually endorsed all the persecuting deeds of their fathers, thus concurring most heartily in their guilt. They had the scriptures, the oracles of God and the whole history of the nation and of the world was in their very hands. They knew the blameless character of the prophets that they had killed as well as the guilt of those that had put them to death. Yet under all this illumination they went straight to the same pit, as it were, and perpetrated the greatest crime in the history of the world, they killed their own Messiah, Jesus, and God in the flesh. Nothing could have a deeper malignity than this. Their actions said this, “The holy prophets and men of God that our fathers heard in their generation were tortured and put to death. They did the right thing and we will do the same to Jesus Christ.” In effect they said, “If we were living then, we would have done the same thing.” The same guilt rested on America from slavery that was promoted by a Christian nation. No wonder the Civil War killed so many of our brothers and sisters in so bloody a battle. What judgment awaits this country for the millions of babies that have been killed through abortion? We, the country with more light than any other, even the nation of Israel, since the world began!
“Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.” (Romans 7:13) This explains it so well! Under the light of the scriptures, the commandment, sin becomes exceedingly evil and the sinner exceedingly guilty. There are many more texts but these should suffice.
This is the only just rule by which sin can be measured!
We could take up many other issues and examples but the result would be the same over and over. The measure of a man’s guilt is based upon the mind’s knowledge as to the value of the end that he has chosen. This is the only criterion by which guilt can be measured. It is the value of the end that ought to be chosen which constitutes sins guilt, and the minds estimate of that value measures the guilt. This means that the conscience, as we stated earlier, can speak loudly to the fact of one’s guilt before God and it sees precisely what the intuition says it the value of the sin committed.
- The guilt of a transgression is just equal to the degree of obligation.
- The guilt of sin lies in its being the violation of an obligation.
- Thus, the degree of the guilt of the violation is equal to the degree of the obligation itself.
- Moral obligation respects the choice of an end. The amount of the obligation is just equal to what the mind perceives as the intrinsic value of the end to be chosen. The guilt of a transgression is equal to the amount of the obligation to choose a benevolent end that is now rejected.
- Moral agents are, at all times, either as holy or as sinful as they can be with the present knowledge that they have. Consider the following:
- Moral obligation has to do with ultimate intention only.
- The obligation to choose an intended end is based upon the conception of the intrinsic value of the end chosen.
- When the end is chosen because the person understands its value, it means that they have met or complied with the only obligation that they have, since the choice only applies to what they understand and the value is what they conceive in the mind as illuminated through the spirit. They have done all that they can do under the circumstances. The only way to increase obligation is to increase the knowledge-light-that they have so that the mind apprehends more clearly what the truth is. The means chosen may not be quite as good as it could be with more knowledge, but the end is what is important. The intention was honest. The mind chooses only according to the end in view. Its virtue belongs to its intention. More light could bring a clearer picture of the end. God gives men more light after they have received the light that they have. That is a spiritual principle. With more light and more knowledge comes more virtue, more intensity.
The same is true of selfishness. No one wills evil for its own sake as we have seen previously. Selfishness is the real intention of all sinners. Self-gratification is chosen over the value of good to God and the universe so that sin, as a unit, always consists in violating the obligation to choose the good of God by choosing the opposite, self-gratification. The degree of guilt, therefore, is in direct proportion to the degree of light that shows the intrinsic value of the choice of an end that is opposed to God. Selfishness means rejection of all obligation. It is a violation of obligation. The guilt of selfishness is as great as the present understand-light-that the mind of the spirit can be through the conscience. Guilt can be measured by the degree of illumination under which the ultimate intention is formed and maintained. When one has an ultimate intention he requires a means to produce that end so that with selfishness, the means is always for the same end, to gratify ones self. It has nothing to do with the good of being and the glory of God as an end, only as respects selfish desire. Whatever course the sinner takes, it will always be for the same end in view and according to the light which he possesses of that end. As light increases, his guilt increases. This means that every selfish person is as blameworthy as his knowledge judges him to be blameworthy. A person can become a preached or a pirate for the same reason, a selfish end. It is for his own good. Both have the same root, the same sin. Whether a person preaches, prays, robs or plunders, if it is for the same end both as just as immoral. A sinner may even abstain from sin for the same selfish reasons, but it is still sin; the end is self.
Total depravity, therefore, is saying that a person is as wicked and blameworthy as his knowledge-light-indicates, and that he has made a decision against God and the intrinsic value of God and the universe according to that light.
- Since he remains selfish, he can take no other course than to please himself, so he chooses only that course which he is most pleased with. Any course of outward conduct chosen in preference to any other is only to gratify himself.
- No matter how he changes his visible outward course, the guilt will still be the same since the guilt lies not in the course taken but in the end that creates the means to satisfy that end.
Inferences and remarks:
- Guilt is not measured by the nature of the intention; sinful intention is always a unit-the same thing-an intention to gratify self.
- Guilt cannot be measured either by the type of self-gratification that is preferred by the mind of the soul. They are all for the same end, gratification of self, nothing else. He sacrifices everything for self and this is where his guilt lies. He tramples under foot the greater good to God and others for his own reckless attraction to self-gratification at all cost.
- Further, guilt is not decided by the amount of evil the sin created. A person may do something for a selfish reason, not knowing the awful chain of events that may follow. He only does what he does for a simple self-gratification and nothing more. Who, besides God, can tell just how far a little sin will reach when the end results are known. One could make the point that Satan rebelled and fell to earth, caused Judas to betray Christ. Great good came out in the end in souls saved. We can’t say that Satan and Judas committed sin that resulted in good so they should not be judged because of the good that resulted, can we? What makes both Satan and Judas so guilty is the light that they had. Satan was the anointed Cherub that covered the throne of God. He had greater light than any other. Therefore his guilt is greater than any other. In a similar way, Judas walked with Jesus and had no reason to betray him except for greed; he held the bag and made something from the betrayal, self-gratification. His light was greater than all those that shouted, “Crucify him, crucify him.” He had to pay for that rejection of the great light that he had.
- Guilt cannot be measured according to the common opinions of society. Society will free a known murderer. We can never use their standard. Jesus warns not to judge as the world sees or by outward appearance.
- The amount of guilt, as we have said, is directly proportional to the light of truth that the person has and that he has rejected that truth for self-gratification. He is obligated according to light and to oppose that light puts him in jeopardy of his immortal soul.
- We see the principle of the scriptures that explain the subject of this chapter and others. It is not strange that Christ would charge the blood of all the martyred prophets of past ages to that generation but there is a principle for it being done and it ought to be done on that principle. We find the explanation for the statement, “The times of this ignorance God winked at…” and some may also find it strange that God would almost pass over, without apparent notice, the monstrous and reeking abominations of the heathen world. The reason that God seems to overlook them is because of their ignorance. God winks at those odious and cruel idolatries. The reason is that all these heathen since the world began are but a trifle when compared to a single generation of people that have been enlightened by the truth through the Bible and the preaching of the cross of Jesus Christ.
- One sinner that lives in a situation where he has light that he has rejected and yet his light is more than the whole heathen world. We would be shocked at just how little the heathen know and yet in comparison to sinners in our country where the Gospel of Jesus Christ is widely proclaimed in churches, on radio, and on T.V. every day, even children, the heathen have absolutely nothing at all. Let’s think of some Sunday School child in Tampa, Florida-it does not matter who it is or from what church, even the least aggressive of all the churches in teaching the Bible. Lets pretend that we are asking them a series of questions:
- What do you know about God? The Sunday School child will say that there is one God and only one and Jesus Christ died for our sins. The heathen believe that there are hundreds of gods and that trees, sun, moon, and stars are gods.
- What do you know about God and His goodness? The Sunday School child will say that God is infinitely great and good while the heathen will think of their gods as mean and mischievous at times or as wicked as can be, and the very patrons of wickedness among men.
- What do you know about salvation? The Sunday School child will most likely quote the verse, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Though more and more heathen are hearing this message, yet many have never heard the amazing story of God’s love to them. They may even faint in amazement as they hear this startling fact. The Sunday School child knows of the Holy Spirit working in the heart to convict of sin and has often felt His presence in the services and seen the work of God as people are saved. The heathen know nothing of this. Most people that are reading this know that they are immortal-that beyond death there is a conscious unchanging state of existence, either bliss or punishment, according to the deeds done in this life. With the heathen it is a blank in their mind. The long and short of it is that most people in our nation and even in the Western World know so much while the heathen are in darkness where they grope and yet find nothing for their hungry souls. If you who read this wanted more light, you could turn on the radio, the T.V., or go to any Christian church and find out all that your heart should desire. Because you have so much light and it is so readily available to you, your guilt is huge in comparison to those who have no light at all. Your lack of penitence in the light that you have is far more damnable than the monstrous atrocities that are committed by followers of Islam or of other heathen in the far reaches of the world, clinging to dead idols and following horribly grotesque traditions because they have no knowledge as we have in our world. A mother in a heathen land may cast her child into a volcano and you would shriek and yet your sin is far greater than hers. We see some as they crawl with whips and beat themselves unmercifully on the back and bloody their knees because they think that God will be pleased, we see the poor emaciated bodies of Africans who have no food because they are steeped in paganism and we try to get the world to take notice and yet you who read this and have rejected the love of Jesus Christ have far more guilt than them all.
- We can see that one sinner in any of our congregations in this country knows infinitely more than all the heathen of the world put together. If this is true, then what is the comparative guilt of the person sitting in the pew of a church and refusing to repent and turn to Christ? The sinner that has been in the hearing of the gospel and rejected it will have a far greater punishment in hell than all the heathen of the world combined. “And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” (Luke 12:47-48) There is a story told of a man who was educated in America who went to the Sandwich Islands and wrote home with a shocking report of the horrible abominations, monstrous atrocities, and he thanked God that he had been born in a Christian land. The sad thing is that his own guilt in remaining impenitent as a sinner before God under the light of a Christian nation was greater than the aggregate guilt of all those islands. Just think of how greater will be the punishment in our generation as the daily attack on God and the mention of his name is increased in this nation. Not only do we have light that no other nation in the history of the world has, but now we wish to put God into a closet, the very God who only wants the best end for the entire universe, even for those who hate his glorious name. We can see videos and documentaries of heathen lands and we may shudder in utter horror at their atrocities, but guilty as they are, we don’t see God sending lightening bolts to destroy their wickedness. He sees what they do and yet winks at them, as it were because it is done in ignorance. Now we look at the impenitent sinner who is convicted of his sins under the clear presentation of the Gospel that shines all around him. He is driven to pray and give his heart to God and though he knows he must repent, yet he clings to his sins and will not give his heart to God. He holds his heart in a state of impenitence. Mark my word, his sin of holding back on God and refusing to respond to the light that he has involves more guilt than all the abominations of the heathen world. He is worse than a mother casting her child into a volcano or into a raging river or even to the heathen in the Bible times burning their children in the hands of Moloch. Why do we in this country think that we can tempt God and abuse His great love and thus trample on His authority? That moment when he is moved to pray and turn to God in repentance and faith and yet he says no is far more damning than all the heathen put together. There are atheists in this country that know more than all the heathen, they even try to get God out of the pledge of allegiance while their very children are worshiping Jesus Christ, and yet the knowledge that this atheist has is more than all the heathen and he will pay with his soul in hell. He will suffer more than all the heathen combined.
- This leads us to remark that the Christian world may well take a warning as they pretend to worship God and support missions around the world, and yet they are the guiltiest of all. In the Christian pulpits of our land the gospel is preached and the praises are sung by the choirs, and yet though people who attend these churches know better, yet they still refuse to reverence God and perform their duty to others. The abominations of the world since the beginning of time cannot compare to a Christian who will trifle with God. We need to quit looking at the foreign field and look at our own lives and the lack of commitment to God. I wonder how many people who are Christian in name are really selfish in heart and mind so that even their Christian act is a selfish demonstration of self-gratification.
- Now look at the nominal church, the one with the robes and the high ceilings and pipe organs with anthems and choirs in abundance. The church has more light than any other portion of society and thus has more guilt. We speak of the nominal church, the church in name only, not the church of the heart that Christ has pardoned with his own blood. Churches abound that have sinners who live and riot in their own corruption. They even campaign for evil causes. They will look at Islam and cringe at the willingness to commit suicide for the cause of a fake “wanabee god” named Allah and yet they will not serve their own God that asks for their heart and will to be committed to the goodness of God and of the universe. How many there are who claim to be Christians and yet though they have tasted of Christ, yet they never really took the whole meal. They have turned their back on the bleeding Lamb of God. They may call themselves backsliding Christians and yet they may not be Christians at all and their guilt is far greater than all the heathen of the world. Oh, dear sinner, Christian that you may be called, say, “May God have mercy on my soul.” Who can say that such guilt can be forgiven? Can Christ pray for you as he prayed for his own murderers-“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do?” Can he plead in your behalf that you know not what you are doing? No? Awful! Awful! Where is the depth gauge that can measure the ocean-depth of your guilt before a holy God?
- Listen to me carefully! If your children remain in sin, don’t congratulate yourself that they were not born on the foreign field, or in the slavery of Islam or some other bondage religion. You may thank God that your children were not thrown to the volcano, burned in the hands of Moloch, or convinced to be an Islamic suicide bomber, but if they are living in this country where the light of the Gospel is free and clear and their understanding is great because they have heard the truth, you should suspend your self-congratulation for their Christian light and opportunities. If they will not repent and turn to God, it would be better for them to have been born in the deepest jungle in pagan darkness or to be thrown into a volcano or blown up as a suicide bomber, or even to die an untimely death at a young age than to have the gospel light available as light as the brightness of the sun and then to shut it out and wind up in the deepest hell at the depth of its abominations. Young people are following the Pied Piper like a heard of lambs going to the slaughter. They sing and dance to the devil’s beat and parents all over this country are congratulating themselves that their children are in church. They would be better off in the Amazon jungle; at least then they would have no excuse for their heathen drum beat and satanic music. But, you say, this is what they want! Do you hear it? It is selfishness in open display. Their music is self-gratification like the blazing sun and we are standing in the church watching them damn their souls to hell with the Devil whose beat they emulate. It is not moral because it does not glorify God. It is not moral because it does not view the best end for God and the entire universe. If it did, it would not divide churches into youth and elderly. That very division is further proof that the music is self-gratification since it does not promote the best end for the entire congregation, only the youth. These are young people that have a chance; they have the Word of God and the preaching of the pulpit. Could it be that even the leaders are so full of self-gratification that they will not preach the truth for fear that it may cause a negative reaction? Could it be that the preachers have “interested benevolence?” Could it be that even some preachers are not saved as they claim? And why would a musician named Larry Norman write a song entitled, “Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?” Who would want the Devil’s music unless it were for self-gratification for someone that just enjoys the Rock ‘n Roll style and would rather sacrifice the best interest of God and the universe for their selfish lust for “their own” style? Is that not selfishness at its peak? Is it not taking over our churches like a great bubonic plague? Could we not say that even those who call themselves Christians may very well have desired self-gratification so much that their very testimony of faith is really a sham after all? And who can measure the depth of your doom? Can you not see that your guilt must be far greater than the heathen who use that same beat in devil worship and don’t know what you know? How awful will be your place in the deepest hell
- We need to really come to grips with what we are saying here and appreciate the ramifications. It cannot be denied that the youth of this generation are guiltier than all other sinners under heaven if they live in sin and will not yield to the light that God has given to them. Don’t congratulate yourself for the fact that they are in church and not on drugs because they have adopted a far more subtle self-gratification than they ever could otherwise. If you could see that they are filled with guilt and they will face an awful doom for refusing to repent of their sins and turn to God with all their heart. We should pray that before they perish they will be awakened to the plight of their souls. They can say a prayer all they wish, but if they hold back their heart from God and cling to their self-indulgent desires; their prayer went no higher than the ceiling. They are lost and bound for hell. They are far guiltier than all the children of heathen nations, children burned for Moloch, children that commit suicide, and children thrown into the rivers of heathen lands as sacrifices to their gods.
- When a heathen person dies their final doom will require that they be case away from God and that will be about all. They won’t say that they had the light of the Gospel and rejected it; that will not be part of their eternal punishment; they never heard the gospel. Those who hear and then reject have a far deeper fate from the guilt of having light and preferring darkness over the light
- What if a Christian father were called before his congregation and asked if his son that is rocking away to heaven were really sold out to God? What if the son were asked to give up his music? Would he do it? Would he repent? He would say, “But I love that kind of music and it has Christian words.” Would he really give the music up completely for the good of God and the universe and for the good of the congregation of older people who want the old hymns of the faith? Believe me, those that love the wrong kind of music know that they should give it up but they will not
- Young man, are you willing to risk your immortal soul for the love of self-gratification? What angel is there that will help you set aside your guilt? How long will Jesus hold out his hands, bleeding as they reach toward you and begging you to turn to Him with all your heart? Christ has called and is calling out a generation that means business for God and he asks you to repent. Will you not repent? Why not realize that the heathen will not be as guilty as you who know better and yet you are choosing self-gratification through your style of music which will pull your soul down to hell, to the deepest hell. If we were to go there to find you we would work for a thousand years and go through evil spirits less guilty than you because they did not know what you know and yet you will have sunk lower than they all. What hell is there that can punish such awful guilt as a person who calls themselves a Christian and yet they are bound by the sin of self-gratification so deeply that they have trampled under foot the Son of God and counted the blood of the covenant wherewith they were sanctified an unholy thing and done despite unto the Spirit of Grace. Theirs will be the worst of all punishments in the whole of the universe and parents, you have allowed this to happen, you have damned your own children to hell. What you and your children are doing is the height of moral depravity. Forget the heathen in foreign lands; it is you that is depraved.