SELF is always the carnal man's god
(James Smith, "The Believer's Triumph" 1862)
"So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God." Romans 8:8
No lost sinner, while carnal, while minding the things of the flesh—can ever please God. He cannot . . .
at any time—either in youth or old age;
in any place— either common or sacred;
under any circumstances—of either sickness or health;
at any season—either in life or death.
Man is totally depraved. He is wholly fallen. The whole head is sick, the whole heart is faint. The leprosy cleaves to him, has spread over him, and dried up all the moral and vital moisture of the soul. The man is therefore lost, wholly lost, eternally lost—unless God interposes for his rescue!
All that he does while he is so—is displeasing to God.
"The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination to the Lord." Proverbs 21:27
"The ploughing of the wicked is sin." Proverbs 21:4
He has no faith, and "without faith it is impossible to please God." In all his prayers, tears, alms-deeds, and other good works—there is something that is displeasing to God. It is like the offering of Cain; for the person must be reconciled to God—before the sacrifice can be accepted by God. Until then he cannot please God, for he cannot set his heart to do it. He may try—but the innate disposition of the heart while carnal, will be too strong for him, and will lead him to break through all his vows, promises, and resolutions.
He may change his conduct—but he cannot change his heart; for its depravity has become natural to it.
He cannot do what God requires—as God requires it.
If what he does is externally good, it is internally bad.
The motive prompting, and the end aimed at—are alike evil, for SELF is always the carnal man's god.