A Living That Expresses Christ (2)
Phil. 4:8 Finally, brothers, what things are true, what things are dignified, what things are righteous, what things are pure, what things are lovely, what things are well spoken of, if there is any virtue and if any praise, take account of these things.
(Part 2 of 2)
Furthermore, in chapter two we see Christ as the pattern, and in chapter three, the pursuing of Christ with a view to gaining Him. In order to gain Christ, Paul counted all other things as refuse. How then could he exalt human virtues in chapter four? This is another indication that the virtues in this chapter are not something apart from Christ Himself. Rather, these virtues must be the very expression of the Christ lived by the believers.
If we consider carefully the virtues listed in 4:8, we shall have to confess that there is no way for us to live such a life in ourselves. The ethical teachings are very high, but they are inferior to Paul’s instructions here in Philippians. The philosophical teachings have The Highest Learning, but it cannot compare to the virtues mentioned by Paul. In ourselves it surely is impossible to have such a life with such an expression. Therefore, we must go on to 4:13, where Paul says, “I can do all things in Him Who empowers me.” All the virtues in 4:8 are the expression of the very Christ in whom Paul could do everything. Based on the whole context of the book of Philippians, we can say that the six virtues in 4:8 are the expression of the living of Christ. These are not mere human virtues, not even the virtues developed according to the worldly teachings. These virtues are the expression of the very Christ whom we live.