By Ernest O'Neill

Can We Be Freed of Selfishness by Our Own Efforts?

By Rev. Ernest O'Neill

Loved ones, it's that belief in self as God that the non-Christian religions appeal to and call for. Do you see that?  Buddha, Mohammad, the Hindus, Confucius, Zoroaster are all saying to us, "Poor people, look, use your mind, try to believe with your mind, try to obey with your will. You can do it yourself. You can be freed from the things that spoil your life by yourself. Believe in yourself that you can do it on your own."  It’s really a kind of self-deliverance, a salvation by works, a feeling that, "If I keep sawing away on these old chains, I'll eventually get through them. Yeah, I hear you out there, I hear you. But I’m going to get through them myself. Yeah, you may say they're broken but I don't believe that. I’m going to saw away."

You either believe that they have been broken or you believe that you can break them yourself if you keep working at it long enough and loved ones, that's the flaw in all the non-Christian religions. They're really saying, "You or some other human being ‘with a little help from your friends’ can overcome this selfish nature that you have."

The truth is that it's impossible to do it. The selfish nature seems to get a stronger grip on you every time you operate in that way. But the worst of it is that actually even though it coats itself as very godly behavior, it is downright atheism, it actually is. Because we're not fools; we don't refuse to believe in something unless we have some alternative that we can believe in.

So when we refuse to believe that the chains have broken and the door is unlocked by Jesus dying and us being crucified with him and being changed completely and renewed in his resurrection, when we say we don't believe that, it’s because we believe in self. It's actually downright atheism, it's unbelief in God.