You hear a lot of talk in the church about “self-esteem” these days. Self-esteem is a term used in psychology to reflect someone’s overall evaluation or appraisal of his or her own worth. Self-esteem, also known as self-concept, encompasses both beliefs and emotions. A self-concept based on the truth (“I am a great sinner in need of an even greater Savior”) is good. A self-concept based on a lie (“I’m a pretty good person; certainly not as bad as most”) is bad.
Only the power of the Gospel frees us to live in the light of the truth with freedom, laughter, joy, and faithfulness to Jesus. You see, the Gospel frees us from shading the truth about ourselves. We don’t have to make ourselves out to be better than we actually are, because God loved us while we were sinners and He still loves us while we are sinners.
The power of the Gospel allows us to take off our masks and stop pretending we are holy and pious. We were sinners when we were first saved and we are still sinners today. The difference is that we are now saved from our sins. Knowing this truth, believing this truth, and understanding this truth allows us to accept who we are: fully accepted and blessed in the Beloved.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-6)
How incredibly loved you really are! God the Father sent God His Son to die on a cross for you! There is no greater blessing in the Beloved than to know that you are now forever accepted, because you were bought with His precious blood on Golgotha’s Hill.
You cannot lose your acceptance. You cannot diminish His love for you. You cannot make Him angry with you. The right way for you to view yourself is clothed in the righteousness of Christ, perfectly pleasing in the sight of God.
Now, note that I did not say “perfect.” None of us is perfect, and we won’t be until we get to the other side of the grave. But along the way, because of the finished work of Christ, we are perfectly pleasing in the sight of God. And that truth should impact the way we view ourselves and feel about ourselves, even in the light of our next sin.
Yes, we hate sin. Yes, we are filled with a godly sorrow when we sin and recognize our own unworthiness. But we are still sinners saved by grace; the more unworthy we feel ourselves to be, the more evidence we have for the unconditional and unending love of God in Christ.
People may doubt your salvation. Satan may whisper in your ear that you are far too unworthy to be an object of God’s love. But don’t you listen to it for a moment! Remember, “He that spared not His own son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). A right view of you is you are His today, tomorrow, and forever more.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!