Then, what is the goal of Christian Virtue?
II Peter 1:5-7
Virtue is a word we do not often use. Dating myself a little here, but I remember as a young person growing up, virtue was talked about quite a bit. He is a virtues young man or woman. By his virtue, you can tell he is a Christian, with a real love for Christ in his heart. Today, we seldom hear the word, but Peter uses it twice in the fifth verse. What is this virtue he talking about?
There are several lists of virtues in the New Testament. We find these in Matthew 5:2-12, II Corinthians 6:6, 7; Ephesians 6:14-17; Philippians 4:8; Colossians 3:12-16; I Timothy 3:2, 3; I Timothy 6:11; Titus 1:7-8; and of course, here in II Peter 1:5-8. Each of these verses just mentioned are lists that give qualities that we as a people of God, should strive to obtain.
The Bible does not want us to be confused into thinking just any kind of behavior is acceptable, so it also gives us lists of behaviors that are unacceptable. These are often called vises and are found in Mark 7:21, 22; Romans 1:29, 30; I Corinthians 5:10; I Corinthians 6:9, 10; Ephesians 5:3-5; Colossians 3:5, 8; I Timothy 1:9, 10; I Timothy 6:4, 5; II Timothy 3:2-5; Jude 8, 16; Revelation 9:20, 21.
There are also some lists that combine virtues and vices, Luke 6:20-26; Galatians 5:16-23; Ephesians 4:31, 32; James 3:15-17.
Peter gives us a list a little different in which one virtue builds upon another. Peter starts with the virtue of Faith and moves from one to another until it culminates with Love. Peter starts with faith which is nothing less than a saving belief in Jesus. Virtue then builds upon that faith. Knowledge builds upon virtue, temperance and self-control build upon that knowledge. Patience and steadfastness build upon temperance and self-control. Godliness is built upon Patience and steadfastness, while kindness and brotherly love, are built upon patience and steadfastness. And finally, Peter culminates it all by saying, “Love/Charity is the ultimate virtue of a Christian.
It is then that we are fitted for heaven and made ready for a life eternal with Christ our Saviour and Lord.
May we pray and study daily, asking God to fit us for His Kingdom, and life eternal with Him. Amen