What Has Happened To Virtues

According to wikipedia a virtue  is moral excellence. A virtue is a trait or quality that is deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being. In other words, it is a behavior that shows high moral standards: doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong. The opposite of virtue is vice. So are the majority of people today morally excellent? Let’s see if we can find out. Today we have our own ideas of what is virtuous, but God has a list of virtues and we are going to look at them. 

2 Peter 1:1-7 gives us a list of godly virtues, “To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Messiah Yeshua:  Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Yeshua our Lord,  for His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.  Through these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world on account of lust.  Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge,  and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness,  and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.”

Peter first starts by saying that he is speaking to those who are in the faith. So many people think that they are in the faith but are not. 2 Corinthians 13:5 tells us, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Messiah Yeshua is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” 

As we go along we will see that the keeping of God’s virtues help us to walk a holy and godly life. Peter also tells us that God has given us everything for life. God’s virtues are not only for this life, but eternal life. When we leave the world behind us, God’s virtues give us all we need to be like Him and by so living them out causes us to be the light in the world. So let’s start.

Applying Diligence

To be diligent means to be persistent, devoted, in other words, making every effort. This means you have to put your mind and heart and soul into it, a conscientious effort, always considering all that you do.

Faith

Faith and being in the faith are two different things. In the faith, is allegiance to something you believe in and to have faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen, (Hebrews 11:1). So you are applying diligence in your faith. This is important because if you really are not in the faith then you will not be living out God’s virtues. It is a good indicator to see if you really are in the faith. 

Moral Excellence

So what is moral excellence? It is the pursuit of being moral in all that you do. It is being hungry and thirsty for righteousness, (Matthew 5:6). Today we think being moral has to do with social justice. But there is a difference between social justice which is man made, and began in the 19th century,  and godly justice. Social justice is political and godly justice is, Never repay evil for evil to anyone.Respect what is right in the sight of all people.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people.  Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written: “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.” (Romans 12:17-19)

Knowledge

Today we have a wealth of knowledge, but it’s worldly knowledge. You won’t get to heaven by knowing all that there is to learn on the internet. You have to have godly knowledge. Knowledge is acquired by studying. So to have godly knowledge is to study God’s Word. There are so many Bible studies today and many of them are not even Bible based.  Many of them are by people who do not even believe in the Bible, but they do believe in making a buck. God’s Word will always explain its meaning. The disciples would ask Yeshua to explain the meaning of His parables. Yehsua, who is the Word made flesh, knew that people needed to understand. Wisdom is knowledge with understanding. We are to gain wisdom, (Proverb 4).Psalm 19 :7-11 tells us about the importance of knowing God’s Word  and also Psalm 119.The Law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether. They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much pure gold; Sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, Your servant is warned by them; in keeping them there is great reward.”

Self-control

Self-control is important because without it one will indulge in any kind of behavior. We must have control of our emotions and behavior at all times, otherwise anger will turn to murder, and lust will lead us on a road to destruction. The world is full of temptation and without self-control we will not have the checks and balances in our lives that we need to live godly.

1 John 2:16 tells us,For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”

All so often we find today that people use their charge card to buy items when they don’t have the means to pay and they end up in great debt, because they have no self-control. Self-Control is contentment and contentment is great gain as

Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 6:6-11,  “But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.  For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it, either.  If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.  But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.  But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.”

So we see that being content is really the moral excellence. Self-control is a great virtue for it leads to perseverance.

Perseverance

Perseverance is the ability to continue the fight. No, not a fight against people, but the fight against the devil. We are in a spiritual battle and the devil does not want us to live a godly life. He does not want us to have morals, or ethics, or even standards, like the Bible, to live by.  He does not want us to be virtuous but he want us to have vices like spending till we are in debt and he would rather that we murder and hate and he certainly does not want us to have faith or persevere in our faith. So if we are going to win the battle over any vice we must persevere and keep doing what is right. This all leads to godliness.

Godliness

Godliness is living a life worthy of God. We are to be holy like God and to be holy, we must live a life that reflects God’s holiness and that is to be godly. We not only find this in virtue, but also find it in the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22-25 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  Now those who belong to Messiah Yeshua crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live by the Spirit, let’s follow the Spirit as well.”

We see that the fruit of the Spirit continues godly virtues. It is like the next level. But to our godliness we are to add brotherly kindness. This also is found in the fruit of the Spirit. So what is brotherly kindness?

Brotherly Kindness

Romans 12:10-12 says,Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor, not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;  rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer.”

 But also as Galatians 6:10 tells us, “So then, while we have opportunity, let’s do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”

Brotherly kindness is then not only love one another in general, but especially to those who are in the household of God. Brotherly kindness is a deep devotion that church members should have for one another, which will then pour out in all of our communities, which then will lead to loving one another.

Love

Love sums it all up as Colosians 3:12-17, So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience;  bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so must you do also.  In addition to all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.  Let the peace of Messiah , to which you were indeed called in one body, rule in your hearts; and be thankful.  Let the word of Messiah richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  Whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Yeshua, giving thanks through Him to God the Father”

Peter ends by saying this in 2 Peter 1:8-11, “For if these qualities are in you and increasing, they keep you from becoming idle and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah.  But anyone who lacks these qualities is blind—nearsighted because he has forgotten his cleansing from past sins.  Therefore, brothers and sisters, make all the more effort to make your calling and election certain—for if you keep doing these things, you will never stumble.  For in this way entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Messiah Yeshua, will be richly provided for you.”

When it is all said and done can we say like Paul in 2 Corinthians 6: 2-10 “Behold, now is the favorable time. Behold, now is the day of salvation. We give no cause for offense in anything, so that our ministry may not be blamed.  But as God’s servants, we are commending ourselves in every way—in great endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in riots, in troubles, in sleeplessness, in hunger;  in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in theHoly Spirit, in genuine love, in truthful speech, in the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left;  through honor and dishonor, through evil report and good report. We are regarded as deceivers and yet true; as unknown and yet well-known; as dying, yet behold, we live; as disciplined yet not put to death;  as grieving yet always rejoicing; as poor yet enriching many; as having nothing yet possessing everything.”

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