|Posted by Josiah Magnuson on March 20, 2016 at 5:25 PM|
I recently received a question in regards to how to rebuild virtue if in fact this moral courage and character is not present, on the whole, in American culture today. It's a difficult subject to address. But here is my best attempt.
We find a Biblical command in regards to virtue in II Peter 1:5. I believe in order to see how to add virtue to our faith, we have to look at the context of this passage.
We first of all have to have faith to add virtue to. We know from Romans 10:17 that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. If faith is the foundation of the house, Scripture is the concrete truck. Looking back to the beginning of I Peter, the way to pour the concrete is "through" the righteousness of God. We must receive the righteous work of Christ - His life, death, and resurrection on our behalf - if we are to have any success with the rest of this project.
Second, we should realize we have already been given all the construction materials we need in Christ. Through God's power we are "called" to virtue. We should see virtue as a crucial element of God's blueprint - the resources for which He has already entrusted to us. The power is found in His great and precious promises, which are made real to us by the presence of the Holy Spirit in us. The Holy Spirit allows us to "escape the corruption that is in the world through lust."
Third, we are told that how to add virtue (and the other qualities that follow) is by "giving all diligence." The word for "diligence" (G4710 in Strong's if you want to look it up) is translated numerous ways in the KJV but it has to do with quick devotion to, and care for, a goal or another person. Maybe a good word to sum it up would be "eagerness." So I believe we should cultivate in ourselves a spirit of eagerness to do things even that may seem hard or difficult.
Fourth, we should pay close attention to the "specs" - in this case, the personal pronouns in the passage. The promises are actually given to "us" which in looking back at verse 1 seems to refer to the apostles and/or mature believers. I believe this speaks to the point that virtue springs from virtue. When there are others demonstrating a spirit of courage, it inspires you and me to do the same thing. We should follow the example of mature individuals who have successfully applied God's promises, and where possible, be mentored by them.
Finally, we should realize that this passage provides a command. It simply says "add." There's a sense in which to get virtue we have to "just do it." There's no amount of planning or talking or enacting that will meet the need. We've got to take courageous (though prudent) action.
As far as specific steps to take to rebuild our country, I really believe that one of the most important things we must do is fight the entertainment culture. We the People are too often consumers rather than producers. Just simply creating useful things, especially toward self-sufficiency, goes a long ways toward restoring character. Through being accountable to those around us, and working with them toward these goals, we become a stronger people.
For a further look at this crucial topic, please attend our next conference. It will be held at Christian Assembly of God, 2416 Wade Hampton Blvd, Greenville, SC 29615 on Saturday, April 30, 2016 beginning at 9am.