Summary: A look at the virtues of salvation every Born-Again Christian must intentionally grow in.
At the moment of salvation, every Born-Again Christian put on "Christ," the "breastplate of faith and love,” and the “helmet of salvation" (1 Thess 5:8-9 ESV; Rom 13:145; Gal 3:27). We are implored to daily "put on":
- The Armor of light (Rom 13:12) – To honor Jesus.
- The new self (Eph 4:24) – The new person, "created according to God" according to his image or likeness (See
also Rom 5-8).
- The Armor of God (Eph 6:11) – To protect us against the attacks of darkness from our spiritual enemy.
The Bible tells us there are eight virtues of moral excellence and righteousness that are the result of becoming Born-Again that we are commanded to "put on" (Gk: "enduoe" (en-doo'-o) which means to envelope in, clothe with, and practice daily so that we become "possessed of the mind of Christ as in thought, feeling, and action to resemble Him and, as it were, reproduce the life He lived" (Thayer).
"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony." (Col 3:12-15 ESV)
These verses are to remind us of what God's grace had done. We are "chosen," "holy," and "beloved" by God. Grace is His unmerited favor to undeserving sinners, yet He chose us because we chose Jesus as our Lord and Savior. The “chosen ones” are those set apart for God are the objects of His love.
The word "holy" (Gk: "hagios" hag'-ee-os) means to set apart for God. The word speaks of their standing in grace as separated ones who must live a separated life from the ways of the world. Because we have trusted Jesus, we have been set apart from the world to God. We are not our own and belong entirely to Him (1 Cor 6:19-20). Becoming Born-Again sets a person apart exclusively for Jesus.
When an unbeliever sins, they are a created being breaking the laws of the holy Creator, who is love. Love is the strongest motivating power in the world. As you grow in your love for God, you will grow in your desire to obey Him and walk in the newness of life that Jesus has given you.
God forgave you on the Cross before you were born. His forgiveness is complete and final. It is not conditional or partial. The sacrifice of Jesus made that a reality. God has forgiven us "for Christ's sake" and not for our own sake (Eph 4:32). All we must do is appropriate the benefits of His forgiveness by becoming Born-Again through repentance and total surrender to Jesus.
The word "beloved" (Gk: "agapaoe" (ag-ap-ah'-o) is a perfect participle and is used to describe God's love that created all things and was shown at the Cross. It is a love that denies self for the benefit of the object loved. The perfect tense is used to indicate the far-reaching and the abiding character of that love.
"Do not let your adorning be external - the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear - but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." (1 Peter 3:3-5 ESV)
Let's review the eight virtues we are to wear daily like clothing as a profession of our faith.
1. Tender mercies. (Gk: "splagchnon" (splangkh'-non) literally means bowels. Figuratively, it is tender affections or sympathy. The Greek language uses the term ‘bowels of compassion’ because the Greek people located the deeper emotions in the intestinal area while locating them in the heart. The Hebrews considered it the seat of the tenderer affections, especially kindness, benevolence, and compassion. It is a phrase expressing the effect on the body of the intense emotions of sympathy and compassion visible on the outside and uttered by our lips but is felt in the innermost heart and prompts us to generous actions.
We need to display tender feelings of compassion toward one another (see Phil 2:1). This is not something that we turn on and off, like a TV. Instead, it is a constant attitude of heart that makes us easy to live with.
2. Kindness. (Gk: chrestotes [khray-stot'-ace] means usefulness, i.e., moral excellence (in character or demeanor). The word speaks of a gentle, gracious disposition.
We have been saved because of God's kindness toward us through Jesus (Eph 2:7; Titus 3:4). Therefore, we must show kindness toward others. Kindness is not sympathy with one's suffering, but in every way simply doing what is good and pure to others. "Be ye kind one to another" is God's command (Eph 4:32).