If There is Any Virtue

Posted 5/10/2002 7:49:57 AM

This seventh thing to think about in Php 4:8 breaks the pattern (along with the eighth); instead of saying whatsoever things, the Bible instead says if there be.

Are virtue and praise so rare, that you can only think on them if there happens to be some? The most obvious meaning of virtue is moral goodness, moral excellence. Is it rare in the Bible? Not particularly:

  1. It's translated "praises" in 2Pe 2:9, in that we are chosen to show the moral excellence of Jesus Christ, who brought us from darkness to light.
  2. Not only to show His excellence, but to be virtuous ourselves; 2Pe 1:3 says believers are called to glory and virtue.
  3. It's one of the building blocks of a Christian life, as outlined in 2Pe 1:5-11. It's the second item right after the initial faith of salvation.

Another meaning to the word virtue is potency, as in the virtue of a medicine. Just because of what it is, medicines have particular efficacies in our bodies. This kind of virtue has "the ability to heal or strengthen." [Webster's]. Hebrew has a different word for this than the moral excellence virtue, and it is also translated as strength, wealth, and power.

  1. Ruth was known throughout the city for being virtuous, because of the healing work she'd done in Naomi's bitter life Ru 3:11.
  2. The virtuous woman in Pr 12:4 and Pr 31:10,29 has this kind of ability to powerfully influence those around her for good.
  3. The virtue that Jesus gave when healing Lu 8:46, like when he healed the woman who touched his clothes in Mr 5:30, was a power he had inherently, by virtue of his being the Son of God.

In one sense, virtue is an innate, built-in strength. In another, it's added on and grown into. Either way, it's a wonderful quality the think about, to desire, and to gain. Virtue has such power for good, not only in the healing quality of a life powerful enough to influence for good, but also in thwarting our sinful tendencies.

Don't make virtue an optional part of your life, so that people wonder if there's any there; make it obvious because that's the way you are - of course, you have to get to that state first, and that happens only through the power of Jesus Christ.

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