February 11, 2008

Virtues of Christ

There are a number of studies, sermons, talks, discussions, books, etc. on the various virtues of Christ such as his faith, humility, obedience, love, hope, etc. There are not many people, religious or otherwise, that would argue that Jesus was a great moral teacher who practiced and lived out these various virtues. Some individuals or groups like to focus in on one of Christ's many virtues and set it up as the one virtue which Christ was all about and then read the accounts of Jesus' ministry in light of this particular virtue; say love, humility, or faith for example.

What I think is important to remember is that Jesus used these virtues together, never just one and his ministry was never about just one of them. His heroic hopefulness was coupled with his heroic faith and heroic love, all of which find their source in relation Jesus had to God the Father. His ministry was about this relationship to God, all of these virtues must be seen in light of this relationship, never for the sake of the virtue itself. "The virtue of love in Jesus' character and demand is the virtue of the love of God and of the neighbor in God, not the virtue of the love of love." (Richard Niebuhr Christ & Culture)