The one characteristic that differentiates God from man is ‘selfishness’. God has zero selfishness, whereas man is fully selfish. Man loves himself more than he loves God or his neighbour, whereas God has none of this character in Him; He is pure love, 1 John 1:5.
If you want the character of God then you have to
die to the character of you
Man inherently loves himself more than anything else. He loves to blame in preference to taking the blame. This love of ME competes with the love of God, and this love of Me must die if the love of God is to live through you. You can fake the love of God and do plenty of good things and right things, but until you face your selfishness, it’s really for the love of Me and thus it’s false witness and it won’t save you.
“God is love and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him” 1 John 4:16
The “love of Me” is the one key characteristic that exposes whether you’re a true Christian or a counterfeit.
Salvation isn’t …
Contrary to what the church teaches, salvation isn’t asking God into your heart to be your saviour; nor is it being baptised; anyone can do that; it doesn’t prove anything. Neither is salvation trying in your strength to meet God’s requirements … it’s not only impossible, it’s pride to attempt it.
Salvation is the bending of the knee in thankfulness for God’s mercy at the point of intersection when your pride is exposed to you and you see your arrogance. Salvation is when the ‘self’ awakens to the fact that it is full of itself and gives up the struggle to gain its rights and values and positional leverages over others and dies so that God lives through me and not Me living through me. You can’t manufacture that intersection; that would be pride. It’s only God’s grace that can bring you to that intersection in His time, but most are too proud to recognise the intersection point.
Behold I stand at the door and knock
This was spoken to the church at Laodicea. It wasn’t a message to the heathen, it was a message to those who thought they were saved. Why? They were so full of themselves and of their goodness and so comfortable in goods that they couldn’t see the depth of their self-love and even when it was exposed to them and they were led right to the door of their pride they weren’t able to open the door to the Lord and get saved.
The modern western church serves God for the benefits. It thinks that it is right and you can’t tell it that it is wrong. It defends its rights and lives for the best deal for itself. It doesn’t want to give up its Isaac.
Satan is the prince of the power of the airwaves, Ephesians 2:2
Recently I was sharing with a lady who was becoming aware of the inner voices of derision that some other so-called Christian women where throwing at her. Although there was no audible communication, the voices she was hearing were genuine and accurate because I later went to the other women and challenged them and they each confirmed that they were targeting this lady out of envy, and they confirmed that they were saying exactly what she was hearing.
I challenged the lady and asked her what she was saying back in retaliation and self-defence. She agreed that she was being spiteful back. From her perspective she hadn’t done anything wrong and it wasn’t fair that they were picking on her. She was right about her feelings but she was wrong about her reaction.
I asked her what she should do. She replied that she should not speak back. I said that this was a “do” strategy, not a “die” strategy, and that ‘do’ is just more pride. I said that even though she was right about what she was sensing, she had it all wrong, and that the real point of the exercise was to expose her to her own pride. And then I saw a fog cloud over her mind and I went away sad, because all she was doing was looking for the right answer to get herself out of her pain. She had missed the crucial intersection of the door to her own salvation. Jesus was knocking on the door to her heart and showing her how puffed-up she was with her own importance, but all she could see was that the women were being mean to her and it wasn’t fair.
The seed was sown but it fell amongst the thorns
She had missed the point of the whole exercise; namely, that God allows people and circumstances to buffet you and expose you to your own selfishness. But so few ever see themselves; they are so full of themselves, of their own rightness and their innate struggle for fairness and value and social position and acceptance, that they are blinded to themselves by the tunnel vision of the hurt and injustice that others are doing to them, and despite their goodness and all their best efforts and intentions, miss the door of their salvation. This reminds me of the five foolish virgins in Matthew 25.
Too proud to open the door
Most modernists are so sure of their own self and so convinced of the rightness of their own opinion, they refuse to open the door of salvation believing that they’re already walking and talking with Christ; but sadly it’s just voices of their own selfishness (Luke 18:9,11) and the deception leads them away from the door. The truth is, they don’t really want to let go of their grievances; they don’t really want to give up the pleasures of the world; they don’t want to be told they haven’t done it right; they refuse to accept that their own perception of truth is of any less truth than anyone else’s. Fairness, justice and being valued by others are more important than death for Christ.
Genuine salvation is when God’s unselfish nature becomes yours
Genuine salvation is when God brings you to that intersection and you go “wow, I’m full of myself. All I really care about is me. All my good is for me. Lord wash me and be merciful to me a sinner”. That’s how you open the door and go in and sup with Him. The point at which you genuinely give up yourself is the intersection point where the unselfish nature of God Himself becomes your nature, and that’s the intersection point of salvation. Any other interaction with Christ is simply thorny ground.
Salvation is the swapping of your selfishness for God’s unselfishness. When you finally accept God’s exposure of your selfishness, He swaps it for His unselfishness.
Of course, salvation doesn’t mean that we don’t fall back into our selfishness. It’s a daily battle to sup with him and not with ourselves, but if you never open the door you’re never saved and you’ll never sup.
If you really loved God more than yourself, the evidence isn’t in your generosity or your good deeds, it’s in your relationships, and it’s not measured by what you physically do, it’s measured by what you spiritually say to your neighbour, and by what you say back to your neighbour (across the airwaves).
If you’re serious about God, your heart response is always that of the prodigal (Luke 15) or the Roman centurion (Luke 7) … “I am not worthy”.
Salvation is spiritual suicide for God
Like Abraham killing Isaac, salvation is spiritual suicide for God. However, it’s not sacrificing whatever you hold dearest to prove that you love God; that’s pride. You can give your body to be burned but it’ll avail for nothing if it isn’t love, 1 Corinthians 13.
What we’re called to sacrifice is our own love of our self. When Abraham was asked to kill Isaac, it wasn’t just to prove that he was willing to do what God wanted, it was primarily a call to kill the thing that gave him value for himself. It was a call to die to his own pride and trust God and Abraham did it and thus became the father of faith.
Abraham was considered faithful, not because he was willing to sacrifice his only son, but because he died to his own selfishness. Thus, all his past, present and future human mistakes, his deceptions and fears were all covered and annulled as God had become everything and he had become nothing.
This picture is the picture of the character of God the Father. Unlike Abraham, He actually did give up His only Son and thus fully demonstrated the total unselfishness of the Father for His creation.
Salvation is this character of God in you by faith in His ability to raise you up to eternal life and demonstrated by your heart’s unselfishness towards your neighbour and evidenced by the enemy’s hatred for you. Many people envy and hate those who show the genuine character of God.
“All that live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” … 2 Timothy 3:12
Luke 14:26 … “If any man come to Me and not daily die to all value and favour and position of family and society, he cannot be My disciple.”
You can’t worship yourself or your idol and worship God at the same time. It’s contradictory, but most people who worship Christ can’t see their idol or even know they have one because they’re too full of themselves.
May God bring His remnant to the intersection of the door so that He may sup with us and us with Him.
Let God swap your character for His.
Pastor John Drummond