To Faith Add ... Virtue
There is just something about 2 Peter 1:1-11 that draws me like a bug to a night light. I suppose it is because it starts by saying I have the same “like precious faith” as Peter, and ends with saying I will be ushered into “the everlasting kingdom.” My faith leads to heaven! That’s worth talking about.
It is those seven “graces” (as they are often called) that make up my faith that most intrigue me. Virtue, Knowledge, Temperance, Patience, Godliness, Brotherly Kindness, Love. Count them. Seven. That means if I will just take one per day and work on it, then my faith will become “neither barren nor unfruitful,” and I will make my “calling and election sure.” If I but work on these seven traits I will “receive the end of the my faith, the salvation of my soul” (I Pet. 1:9). Okay, that’s a worthy pursuit. For today (day 1) let’s take Virtue.
ARETE’. That’s the Greek word for virtue. It is accurately translated in the NASB as “moral excellence.” A Christian’s faith leads beyond average effort or mediocre goals, to rise as much as humanly possible to the level of God Himself. I do not compare myself to others, but to Jesus Christ, who is “the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person” (Heb. 1:3). The immoral standards of our world are left behind and I now sing, “nearer my God to Thee.”
VIRTUE is the first foundation stone of faith. I must ever say with the father of the challenged demonpossessed son, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief” (Mk. 9:24). This is but another way of saying, “I do believe, but want a greater faith.” Virtue demands excellence, the very best I can give. I will not be content with a faith like the lukewarm, but instead will be like those “who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, stopped the mouths of lions, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens” (Heb. 11:34). Do you have such a faith? Let’s spend today working on our Virtue.