Virtuous, unselfish love is totally foreign to our way of thinking. Robert Ringer gives his advice on how to be a truly “giving” person.
Simple reasoning tells you that you must regard the interests of others in order to obtain your objectives. Fellow human beings represent potential values to you in business or personal relationships, and the rational individual understands that to harvest those values he must be willing to fill certain needs of others. In this way, the most rationally selfish individual is also the most giving person. Robert J. Ringer, Looking Out for #1, Fawcett Crest, p. 46.
Lest this should be construed by some convoluted thought process to be Christian love, Ringer scrapes off all semantic frosting and blurts out,
Don’t do something for the reason that it’s the right thing to do if there’s no benefit to be derived from it. Ibid., P 88.
This dearth of understanding as to the nature of virtuous love is nowhere manifest as openly as in the contemporary evangelistic altar call. The modern-day evangelist may lack theological polish, but the really important ingredient for success comes in another package. He must be able to sell. We are living in the era of the pragmatic sermon. Don’t analyze its moral content, the question is: Does it work? The rookie evangelist may hone his techniques by studiously observing automobile salesmen at their best on late-night television. The next evening salvation is offered as “the deal of a lifetime.” “Ladies and gentlemen, just look at these extras! He comes to you, eagerly waiting to save you from hell and give you heaven in return. And if that’s not enough, consider the fact He brings you peace and joy for your present enjoyment. Also for your comfort, He will heal your body, your finances, your grades—anything you need is available and at the disposal of those who will but believe.” The final pitch sounds something like this, “You can enjoy all of this at absolutely no extra cost—that’s right, no extra cost. And Jesus Christ is the only One who can make your life the envy of your friends, so hurry down the aisle today while the offer lasts!”
From the very beginning, people learn that there is no cost involved in salvation. Jesus is presented to us as our servant, rather than our Lord. All that appeals to our self interests is highlighted so that our reaction to salvation becomes a purely selfish exercise. This is nothing less than a humanistic invasion into Christianity.
When all of our thoughts of salvation center on the question “How do I come out?”, is it surprising that we view God’s role in reconciliation in the same light? Contrary to warped speculation, God was never worried about receiving some personal satisfaction for the hurt that peoples sin had caused Him. God’s love is purely virtuous. It is unselfish, agape love. Out of this mysterious love flows God’s only concern, “How will they come out?”