"But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge" (II Pet. 1:5).
Peter provides us a list of eight (8) steps of the Christ-life being manifested and expressed through us in a progressive growth sense from faith to ultimate agape love (II Pet. 1:5-7). The next step added to faith is virtue. The significance of virtue as a connecting link to the increased Christ-life expression in us, makes it important for us to consider it. The word virtue in the Greek text is the word arete′. Arete′ means superiority or being pleasing to God, the superiority of God revealed in the work of salvation. Arete′ denotes a moral sense that gives man his worth, his efficiency and goodness of action, and his completion of life. Simply by faith we believed what the Holy Spirit communicated to us about salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ and were Spirit birthed. The Person and Spirit of Christ has been birthed in us (Gal. 2:20; Rom. 8:9), and we confessed Christ as Lord (Rom. 10:9-10). We need to now walk the talk, and talk about our walk in Christ. That is the focus point of arete′ or virtue. Christ is the one who is well-pleasing to the Father. We now have Christ in us to manifest and express Himself in and through us as us in all morality, goodliness, and godliness. Christ in us is the Person and Spirit of genuine virtue. Let Him flow!
Peter declares that, "you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you make proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (I Pet. 2:9). The very same word translated praises in this verse is the very same word arete′ or virtue. Peter declares that we have "been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever" (I Pet. 1:23). The Spirit birthing by the incorruptible Seed of Christ now makes us our Heavenly Father's own chosen generation and royal priesthood of special people – the Body of Christ. We are the Body in which His Son can now live and express Himself in this earth. Above all, our Father wants to see Christ in us for salvation, and Christ to express His love-for-others Spirit and nature through us as us. The Father desires to see the Christ-life flow of genuine virtue be expressed in us. The Christ-life is the genuine proclamation of praise or virtue expressed to our Father. It is one thing to say or sing praises. Our Father's highest desire that we proclaim praises by living the shared-life with Christ, known as the Christ-life.
We need the Holy Spirit's full mind renewal to keep our mind on things that are pure, of virtue and of praise (Phil. 4:8). Then we can walk in the Christ-life from faith to virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, to agape love (II Pet. 1:5-7). Praise God for Christ and His Christ-life of virtue in us!V
Written by Dwight Davis
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