Philippians 4:8 Part 7
8 Finally, brethren,
whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest,
whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report;
if there be any virtue,
and if there be any praise,
think on these things.
Virtue is an interesting word, isn’t it? Before doing this study, I thought of virtue as decent, respectful and with integrity and high moral standards. And I was partially right. I looked it up! In the Greek this word means excellence and is translated hat way for this verse in the New American Standard Bible and the NIV. This excellence is an excellence of moral character according to Strong’s.
As I look in Webster’s dictionary, virtue takes on many more meanings. It says behavior that shows high moral character and then it lists synonyms for virtue which is quite a list of things:
goodness, virtuousness, righteousness, morality, integrity, dignity,rectitude, honor, decency, respectability, nobility, worthiness and purity. Now that’s quite a list!
As we look over this list, we can see how far our culture has moved away from virtue. We see corruption I our highest government offices, and a lack of high moral character there as well. Dignity and decency have gone out the window in our society (have you ever seen pictures from a gay pride parade?), and our internet is filled with all kinds of indecency and deception. ESPN gave its highest honor to a man who became a woman! What does that tell us? Virtue is disappearing from our landscape. The church must stay relevant and virtuous, or all hope is lost for our country.
Paul changes the wording here to say that if there is any virtue, we should think about that. Maybe he foresaw the day when virtue would start to fade in our cultures. Paul knows the value of virtue in a society having seen the atrocities of Rome first hand. He knows that a society that starts to lose virtue will implode eventually.
The church must not let that happen. We need to rise up a virtuous army of people and restore decency to our culture. It’s not up to our politicians to do this, it’s the church’s responsibility. This is what 2 Chronicles 7:14 is all about. Each of us, individually, becoming virtuous and praying for or nation. Let’s make virtue more common than virtual reality once again!