The Heresy of Self-Esteem: how God does not see the best in us.

While taking a break from Ephesians prep this evening, mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, I came across a post claiming this about God:

"He saw the best in me, when everyone else saw the worst in me"The popularity of Marvin Sapp’s song demonstrates how regrettably self-centred we are, even when we think we’re praising God.

Who is the subject of the song? Me.

Who takes the credit for being good, and is thus pleased to be vindicated? Me.

But look at Ephesians 2:1-10 puts paid to that heretical delusion:

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christby grace you have been saved and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

What good did we have in ourselves? None. We were:

  • dead in the trespasses and sins, in our disobedience
  • followers of Satan
  • living according to our desires
  • under the wrath of God

There was no goodness in us. God could not see the best in us because we were totally corrupt. Instead, his wrath was upon us for our disobedience to him.

Being dead, we could not have done anything to save ourselves. But it was God who took the initiative:

  • to love us with a great love
  • to lavish us with the riches of his mercy and grace
  • to save us
  • and not just to save us, but impossibly crazier, to raise and seat us next to the sinless Christ (see Ephesians 1:20-21!) in heaven!

All this is not because there was anything at all remotely lovely about us. But all this is so that God can be praised for his immense love, kindness, grace, mercy (cf. Ephesians 1:14).

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