Moral Virtue

2 Peter 1:3 “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”

Virtue has been defined as a “conformity of life and conduct with the principles of morality.” Virtues are thus the practical attitudes and habits adopted in obedience to those principles. 

The idea of someone exhibiting virtue in the Bible has many connotations, none being anything less than Godly excellence. Practically, those who are virtuous of character are those who lead in good behavior. Someone with virtue might display wisdom, courage, kindness, and good manners. They might also be courteous, modest, generous, and show self-control in their life. They will treat others fairly and esteem others highly while they value the sanctity of life. Those who treat others better than they are treated are living godly lives. They strive to be good, show moral ethics and make sound godly choices in life.

What can seem confusing are the ways virtue is often revealed in scriptural interpretation. In many places, bible interpreters substitute power with the ideal of virtue.

Mark 5:30 “And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue(power) had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?” kjv

The term ‘dunamis’, or power is the greek term used when Jesus’ in power healed the sick. Dunamis is defined as the inherent power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth”.

The reason we see this substitutionary use of terms is relative to the source.

The source of all virtue is God.

2 Corinthians 12:9 “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Do you see what Paul is declaring here?

It is in the midst of infirmities or weakness that we see the power of God being revealed in our lives.

If we pray for God’s power, we must be prepared to accept the way God answers those prayers. If we want to grow in virtue, we must expect the spiritual growth of virtue to be in accordance with a godly path of growth.

Why does God bring power through weakness?

Hebrews 11:33-34 “And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.”

When we examine the faith of great men and women in history, it was in the midst of their weakness where the power of God was made known. Even Samson, who displayed great power was brought low when pride and self-indulgence entered his life. It wasn’t until God’s strength was removed from his life that he realized what he had lost was never his in the first place.

“Moral virtue does not happen by accident, it is acquired

O. Chambers

Virtue is acquired by God’s testing.

When God tests us, it’s not like sitting down and partaking in an examination, it is often through a myriad of circumstances, certain people, times of loss, or even in times of prosperity. It is when God brings about these tests, which for a believer is certain to happen, is when we often see growth. We might even see God using the enemy to test His people and show them where their hearts truly lie.

1 Kings 22:22 “By what means?’ the LORD asked. “‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said. “‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the LORD. ‘Go and do it.’

We see evidence of God using the enemy to bring about testing in 2 Thess. 2:11, Judges 9:23, 1 Samuel 16:14, 1 Samuel 18:10, 1 Samuel 19:9, and Job 1:8.

What the enemy meant for evil, God means for good.

Psalm 66:10 “For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us like silver.”

The refining process of testing removes impurity, it cleanses us from the filth of this world and leaves the one tested with greater value. Not that we were any less valuable in God’s perspective, but our value in the Kingdom of God as minister’s of His grace.

After the refining process is complete, the refiner then tests His product to see it’s true test of value.

Psalm 26:2 “A crucible for silver and a furnace for gold, but the LORD is the tester of hearts.”

*A healthy perspective is the ability to recognize testing when it occurs.

There are times when we think testing is some attack by Satan and so we begin to pray against it. When we pray this way, we might be praying contrary to God’s will.

There are other times when our trouble is from the consequences of sinful behavior. If we choose to disregard God’s path of righteousness and go our own way how can we expect the consequences of our rebellion to be blessed by God?

The patterns of righteousness have been made very clear through God’s Word. The reason why the Word was not abolished is because it remains as relevant today as ever. To unbelievers, God’s commandments are the measure of God’s judgement, to believers, the law is representative of God’s holiness in how we are to live.

Maintaining good perspective comes through the knowledge of God’s Word. Knowledge gained comes by way of obedience and we are given opportunity to obey by God’s testing.

Hebrews 12:11 “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

*When you’ve come through the crucible of God’s testing and you’ve experienced the power of Godly virtue, remember the source from which it came.

It is in times of victory that we have a tendency to become either prideful or complacent. Remembering the source of power is to remember we are servants of the most high God..

Godly virtue is not easily acquired but is valuable to attain. Seek that which holds true value in life and you’ll find that value continues on into eternity.

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