Not Ethics, but Christ Expressed
2 Cor. 4:7 But we have this treasure [Christ] in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God and not out of us.
1 Pet. 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people acquired for a possession, so that you may tell out the virtues of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
It is important for us to see the difference between a living that is according to ethical teachings and a living that is the expression of Christ. Probably the best ethical teachings teach people to cultivate, to develop, their human virtues. But it is not possible for these teachings to add anything to people. All they can do is to teach people to develop the virtues they already possess.
There can be no doubt that as human beings created by God we have certain virtues. The best of these virtues motivators call them “bright virtue.” According to these teachings, the highest learning is to cultivate and develop this bright virtue.
How different this is from God’s economy! God’s economy is not to develop our virtues, but to add Christ to them. When Christ is added to our virtues, they are no longer empty, but are filled with Christ as their content and reality. Once again, we wish to emphasize the fact that human virtues are a vessel, a container, to express Christ as the real content.
How wonderful it is to realize that [Phil] 4:5-9 shows us the clear expression of a life that lives Christ! In this portrait we see that we need forbearance and also an antidote for anxiety. Moreover, we need the six governing aspects of a life that lives Christ. It is truly marvelous to see these things! I hope that many among us, especially the young people, will pray about these matters, pray-read the verses which speak of them, have fellowship concerning them, and testify to one another about them. Here in Philippians there is a vast territory for us to explore and inexhaustible riches for us to search out and experience.
Thought of the Day:
It is important for us to see the difference between a living that is according to ethical teachings and a living that is the expression of Christ. God’s economy is not to develop our virtues, but to add Christ to them. When Christ is added to our virtues, they are no longer empty, but are filled with Christ as their content and reality.
Prayer Confession: Thank you Father for this knowledge, that the reality of Christ is what i need to add to my empty virtues other than ethical teachings and self improvement.
Further Bible Reading: Philippians 4:5-9