Low esteem of self; high esteem of Christ

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MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Hugh Binning, Works, p. 318:

Among believers in Christ there is much difference in self-judging; extreme contrarieties, both between diverse persons, and in one and the same at diverse times. You know that some are kept in the open view of their own sins and infirmities, and while they aim at holiness, they are wholly disabled to that worthy endeavour by their discouragements arising from the apprehension of their own weakness and infinite short-coming. Now to elevate and strengthen such spirits, that word was seasonably cast in, “and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin:” for it properly belongs to the comfort of such fainting souls; and it is all one as if he had said, up and be doing, and the blood of Christ shall cleanse your evil doings. He goeth not about to persuade them to have better thoughts of themselves, or lower apprehensions of their sins, but only to have higher and more suitable thoughts of Christ, and the virtue of his blood; and this is the only cure, – not to abate from that low esteem of ourselves, but to add to the esteem and grow in the lively apprehension of Christ. I would not counsel you to think yourselves better, but to think better of him, that all your confidence may arise from him.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
I personally have found that to be on the side of having an "open view of their own sins" is very beneficial and more profitable to my sanctification. Not to say that the other contrary is not beneficial when I humbly recognize my growth in sanctification.
 

C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
This may be a little bit of a tangent, but I think it applies to the quote in many respects. I know a couple of people who have the following issue.

Let's say we are dealing with a sound biblical christian. He "understands" low esteem of self, and high esteem of Christ, biblically speaking.
He is "a fainting soul." He has a high esteem for Christ, but "over" emphasizes his sinfulness to such an extent that the blood of Christ doesn't emotionally translate over in his heart to "experiencing emotionally" the love of God.
He doesn't have low esteem - he has "worm esteem" of himself. Thinking of himself as a worm he knows he fails Christ at every point, and that failure tends to press him to rest too much on "worm theology."
He doesn't experience much on the emotional level of Christ's love. He knows that's his fault. This compounds his distress. We tell him, "God loves his children in Christ more than we can comprehend. God loves you in Christ immeasurably, etc. etc."
He biblically agrees with that. He knows what the Scripture says. But then quotes, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten:" (Rev. 3:19), and "But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons." (Heb. 12:8). (Its almost like this is a life-scripture for him/them). He jokes, but is serious in saying, "God loves me a WHOLE lot." (Because he equates the love of God with chastening those He loves.) He sees life as exceedingly hard and difficult, and he thinks "blessings" from God are far and few between because he sins; and God chastises him for his sin as a son (or daughter), for his sins, which is constantly, (whether big or small). So, he is constantly in this chastising mode. He equates his sinful actions with a continuance of chastisement and fails to see or recognize blessings even when we point them out to him. He'll give a nod to it, but he knows, coming around the corner, it seems futile because he constantly displeases Christ. It seems he is in a catch 22 of sorts, of the loop of God's displeasure and chastisement, which he doesn't seem to recover from.

How would you counsel him/them?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
How would you counsel him/them?

It's difficult without knowing the person and getting a sense of both his weaknesses and strengths. But there may be something which needs a better understanding at this point: "it seems futile because he constantly displeases Christ." What Binning's writings repeatedly drive home is the sufficiency of Christ for sinners, and that a refusal to rest in that sufficiency is most displeasing to Him in His office of Saviour. If sinners are not loving Him as the Saviour they are not sincerely loving Him as He has been given to them in the love of God.

If "worm theology" leads us away from ourselves and our own strength to rely on the Almighty strength of Jehovah, the salt is good; but if it leads us to find intrinsic worth in being a worm so that we diminish our need of Jehovah, the salt has lost its savour and is good for nothing.
 
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