“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
The eighth area the believer is to place in his mind is respect for the status every true Christian has before God.
Paul described the last two areas by an “if” clause. Both of these clauses appeal to something that is true in the Christian. This is not something potential in the believer.
“if there is any virtue”
In the Greek, the “if” in this clause is not an “if” of doubt but of fact. The “if” assumes actual fact: “Since there is any virtue.”
“Virtue” is moral excellence. “Virtue” is first used in the sense of superiority in every respect. Then the New Testament uses it in a moral sense of that which gives a person his moral worth. It is his good qualities. It is excellence in any sphere of life and the prestige which such excellence attracts.
Excellence is that which best becomes a person who operates under the grace of God. We are not to allow the unworthy to clutter our minds. The unworthy may not be vulgar but it may be tawdry. The tawdry is not worth giving mental space to. If we store our minds with the right things, distortions will find no room.
“Virtue” is found only two other times in the New Testament:
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Pet 2:9)
The word “praises” in “the praises of Him” is the word “virtue.”
We praise God by pointing out His excellence. He is superior in every respect. The point of this verse is that the believer has status before God because God “chose” him, made him a “royal priesthood,” “a holy nation,” “His own special people.” Each Christian has this status and needs recognition by every believer for that fact. God is to be praised for His virtue, excellence in making each believer this way.
The last time the word “excellence” or “virtue” is used in the New Testament is in 2 Peter 1:3:
“As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.”
Again, this is God’s virtue. God calls us by His virtue. He calls us by virtue of His excellence. Every Christian possesses nobility, excellence, and virtue because of His call.
It is a fact that every believer holds a status before God.
It is a fact that every believer holds a status before God. Every believer should recognize that status, no matter how carnal the other person may be. Our anger may blind us to the reality that we attack a child of God. That Christian holds status before God. Do you respect the status of every born-again believer? To disrespect that status is to disrespect God who called that person.