Tag Archives: virtues


The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Virtuous Behavior)

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Posted by on January 9, 2021 in Calvin & Hobbes


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Faith’s Additives (A Study of 2 Peter 1:5-9)

Clearly Scripture teaches that we do not add our good works to what Christ has done for salvation! But after salvation, there are good works for us to do (Eph. 2:10). And one of those primary good works  . . . is to work on ourselves!

The Christian life is not a passive “Let Go and Let God” situation. Nor is it merely our striving to be the best we can be. It is a cooperative work between the believer and the Holy Spirit to grow us up in Christ.

Here’s my outline of this great passage. What thoughts would you add?

I. The Basis for Adding to Your Faith (vv. 1-4)

Looking over those verses reminds us of God’s precious promises He has given us in Christ!

II. The Attitude in Adding to Your Faith (v. 5)

We are to “make every effort”! Note that that expression is used several times in this first chapter of II Peter.  Our character is not “fixed” at birth, and God can bring about great changes as we follow hard after Him in our sanctification!

III. The Specifics of Adding to Your Faith (vv. 5-7)

There is much work to be done on this list of seven virtues. Some questions that occur to me: (1) How is each virtue to be defined? (2) Are each of these virtues added specifically to the previous one — or to one’s faith as a whole? (3) Is the order of these virtues important?

IV. The Choice of Adding to Your Faith (vv. 8-9)

Notice that we added the words “THE HAVES” and “THE HAVE NOTS” to the text.

A. The Haves — 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Possessing these qualities — in increasing measure — will keep us from being ineffective and unproductive!

B. The Have Nots — 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

Wow! What awful conclusions! If I don’t have — and grow in — these qualities, God declares me nearsighted and blind! And He accuses me of forgetting that I have been forgiven!

Conclusion: This passage is certainly worth memorizing, don’t you think? At least more in-depth study. But most of all — application to our daily lives! Your comments welcome!

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Posted by on September 21, 2020 in 2 Peter 1


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Colossal Truths from the Letter to the Colossians! GET BUSY GETTING GODLY! (Part 4)

It sounds strange to say that we should GET BUSY GETTING GODLY, but that’s what I see in this section of Colossians 3. The Christian life is not passive. There is much for us to DO, and much for us to put into PRACTICE! Let’s continue our study by looking at the third set of two challenges in this great text:

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Today the two challenges are:
(1) Do not lie to each other (v. 9), and
(2) Clothe yourselves with . . . (v. 12).

First, we must not lie to each other. Why not? Paul says because we have “taken off” and we have “put on.” We have “taken off your old self with its practices.” Conversion begins the process of our recognizing and rejecting our old selves, our sinful selves, our self-obsessed selves. We stop lying to each other because the truth is now more important to us than our reputations! We are also told that we are to “put on the new self.” We experience an identify switch or change when we are saved.

The story goes that Augustine was walking down the street when he saw a familiar woman walking towards him. He bowed his head and walked to the other side. She called out to him, “Augustine! Augustine!” He did not look up or answer. She called all the more urgently and other passers-by began to notice. “Augustine! Don’t you remember me? Don’t you remember those nights together? Augustine! It is I!” Finally he looked up and replied, “Yes, but it is no longer I.”

Our identity has changed in Christ! We have put on — and must continue to put on — the new self “which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (v. 10).

Second, we are told we must “clothe ourselves with” (v. 12). Newborn babies are naked. New believers in Christ are not to be naked (spiritually). We have the responsibility to clothe ourselves with: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Wow. Those are a lot of virtues to work on!



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Posted by on June 8, 2019 in christian life


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Getting Ready for My Next NJ Trip! (Part 3)

My next preaching trip to Cedarcroft Bible Chapel in New Jersey is coming up quickly and will be from March 31st to April 7th. I will also be teaching Sunday School on both Sundays (which we’ll talk about in a later post). When I was there last (Feb. 26-March 4), we looked at the topic “Why Should We Believe Anything at All?” For these two Sundays we will look at the subject “Why Should We Behave as Believers?” My first message will be on Titus 2:11-15 and my second on 2 Peter 1:3-11 (for April 7th).

Let’s look at the 2 Peter 1 passage one more time:

There is so much here about ADDING to our FAITH. The Christian FAITH (the foundation of the Christian truths) forms the bedrock upon which we BUILD OUR LIVES!

There have been some in the so-called Victorious Christian Life movement who have said things like ‘Let God — and Let God!” or “Trust God for your sanctification just as you trusted Him for your salvation.” There is truth in these slogans — but they can also mislead one to think that the Christian life requires no effort on our part. Note the language Peter uses in this passage: “MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO ADD TO” (v. 5) and “MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO CONFIRM YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION” (v. 10).


Here’s a challenge: Ask someone who loves you which of those VIRTUES you need to work on! And don’t get angry at them if they say, “Well, you could use a bit more SELF-CONTROL!” Or, “I think you can grow in your KNOWLEDGE of the Word, don’t you?” [Such loving feedback, by the way, doesn’t have to take the form of NAGGING!]



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Posted by on March 29, 2019 in christian life


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Time for a Great Cartoon! (New Year’s Resolutions)!

Screenshot 2016-01-05 19.13.03

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Posted by on December 31, 2016 in New Year's Resolutions


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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 15)

Psalm 15

A psalm of David.Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 5.35.14 AM

Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
    Who may live on your holy mountain?

The one whose walk is blameless,
    who does what is righteous,
    who speaks the truth from their heart;
whose tongue utters no slander,
    who does no wrong to a neighbor,
    and casts no slur on others;
who despises a vile person
    but honors those who fear the Lord;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
    and does not change their mind;
who lends money to the poor without interest;
    who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

Whoever does these things
    will never be shaken.

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Posted by on August 8, 2016 in Psalm 15


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