Rev 18:10 – “Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.”
In this vision, the kings of this world are seen developing a close relationship with the religious powers of Satan. However, when the wrath of God begins to fall against these religious powers, the kings of the world flee and stand “afar off for the fear of her torment”. In other words, they quickly run away in fear thinking that they might escape the judgment that is falling upon their former love.
The kings’ desire to be with their “lover”, the religious powers of Satan, were based entirely on selfishness. They wanted to be with her simply because they had much to gain from her. The moment that their relationship put them in harms’ way, is the moment they fled in terror and wanted no more to do with her.
Sad to say, but a person’s love for Christ can be an unscriptural type of selfish love as well. The lost Pharisees’ relationship to Christ is that type of selfish, carnal love. Note the motivation behind all their acts of service for Him…. It was love:
- love for honor and praise of others (Luke 11:43)
- love for money and riches of the world (Luke 16:14)
- love being the center of attention (Matthew 6:5)
The list could go on and on…
Yes, they outwardly did works of service for Christ…. Yes, their actions were motivated by love… But, their love was a selfish, false love based upon their personal gain.
This type of love can even be the predominate type of love at work in the lives of Christians. The perfect example of this is the Apostle Peter, a truly saved man, who followed Christ “afar off” after His arrest, trying to avoid revealing his relationship with Christ (Mark 14:54). This same selfish type of love resulted in Peter denying his relationship to Christ in the face of possible arrest and persecution (Luke 22).
Although Peter had a true love for Christ, proven by his salvation experience, the predominate loving force in his life was one of carnal selfishness. He was more concerned about his own personal welfare, than about his witness for Christ. He would rather “save his own skin”, than to glorify and honor his Lord by suffering for the cause of Christ.
Folks, we have to be painfully honest with ourselves today. What is the true motives behind our acts of service for Christ? Are they done in His name, seeking to do His will for His glory, at no thought of personal cost or possible gain? Or, are we serving Him to gain something specific from Him… thinking we can obligate Him to save us, wanting to impress others, to receive some type of worldly gain from our actions, maybe, hoping to live a sinless life, or attempting to cleanse ourselves from our own sins through some type of act of restitution or purification?
May we all come before our Lord, honestly, recognizing our selfish love in service to Him, asking Him to cleanse our hearts from these types of hypocritical love and fill us with a sincere, genuine, spiritual love that bears the fruits that are described in 1 Cor 13:3-8 and characterized by a self-sacrificial attitude putting Christ first above all…
1Co 13:3-8 – “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.”
For an in depth look at these sections of the Revelation: