vs. Impurity
The moral excellence and purity of spirit that radiate from my life as I obey God’s Word

Key Verse

“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue . . . . And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge.”
II PETER 1:3, 5

The operational definition of virtue is “the moral excellence and purity of spirit that radiate from my life as I obey God’s Word.” Moral excellence means choosing to do what is right and rejecting what is wrong according to God’s Word. In the Bible, the word virtuous means “power” or “valor.” A virtuous Christian receives God’s power so he can live in obedience to God and bravely confront evil. In God’s strength, he can overcome temptation and pursue righteousness. Because he loves God, this Christian seeks to be pure and clean in his words, thoughts, and deeds according to God’s Word. God has saved him and given him new desires to do what is right, even when no one is watching.

A life that receives Christ’s righteousness to walk in purity will refresh many souls and bring glory to God.
A life that is polluted with sin is contaminated and, thus, incapable of offering pure spiritual refreshment to others.

The opposite of virtue is impurity. An impure person is spiritually weak, so he does not resist ungodly thoughts or desires. He easily gives in to temptation and makes poor choices rather than rely on God’s strength to do right. He may sin openly or try to hide his sin. Yet God sees his heart and knows everything. If the impure person sins repeatedly, his conscience may become dull, meaning he may not think his sin is too bad. He may even think his sin is acceptable, especially if others are doing it too. This immoral person may not experience consequences immediately or con­sider the harm caused to others. However, he needs to realize that one day God will call every person to give an account of his life. The good news is that impurity can be overcome by receiving God’s forgiveness, casting off sin, and “putting on” the Lord Jesus! (See Romans 13:12–14.)

Evaluation Questions

  • What in my life might attract others to Christ or discourage them from following Him?
  • Am I responding to irritations, difficulties, and temptations in God’s strength?
  • Do I rely on the Holy Spirit rather than on myself for the power to live the Christian life?
  • Can others trust me to act with integrity?
  • What am I doing to guard my heart from impure thoughts?
  • Am I wise in my selection of entertainment?
  • Is my speech free of disrespect, complaints, and bad words?
  • Have I evaluated my motives in my friendships and my influence on others?
  • Do I esteem God’s Word as the final authority on how I should live?

More About Virtue

Virtue is like a lighthouse. The greater the storms and the darker the night, the more its power and brightness are valued.

Transformation results as we behold the Lord and yield to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18). As we see God’s character through testimonies in Scripture, we grow in our understanding and obedience to His Word. Here are ten aspects of joyfulness with supporting verses found in God’s Word.

God enables me to:


Receive His power.

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8

Know what is right and do it.

“And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers.” Deuteronomy 6:18

Guard my eyes, ears, and tongue.

“I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” Job 31:1 “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3

Stand alone.

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:10–11

Abstain from immorality.

“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.” Colossians 3:5–7

Keep my thoughts pure.

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8

Treat others with love.

“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.” I Peter 3:8–9

Maintain purity in relationships.

“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.” Psalm 119:9

Be consistent.

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9

Choose friends wisely.

“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” Proverbs 13:20 “I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.” Psalm 119:63

Virtue in Scripture

Three Hundred Men Face a Mighty Army

“And he [Gideon] said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise . . . . When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.”
Judges 7:17–18
The glowing campfires of the enemy’s enormous army filled the valley below. Flickering lights stretched across the vast land, illuminating the countless number of Midianite soldiers awaiting daylight to attack and conquer the Israelites. The Israelites’ commander, Gideon, gazed at the sight below. The scene may have appeared overwhelming to Gideon but not to God. Not long before, Gideon had been hiding from the Midianites when an angel of the Lord appeared to him with these words: “The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. . . . thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?” Although Gideon felt very unqualified, God’s strength was all that he needed. After this timid man obeyed God and tore down the altar of Baal, God’s Spirit came upon Gideon. Israel was to know that victory would be from God alone. So God directed Gideon to send all the soldiers home except for 300 men! By faith, Gideon obeyed God’s instructions and sent the majority of men back home. Now, only a tiny Israelite army would face the enemy. How could so few men defeat this massive army? Would Gideon continue to receive courage and power from God to lead his men? What would God do?

Revealed in Nature

Great Egret

How does the great egret keep its feathers so brilliantly white? The secret lies in its downy feathers, which flake off to produce a continual supply of powdery dust. This dust adheres to dirt, oil, and other impurities. As the egret brushes the dust from its feathers, it removes the impurities as well.

For Kids

Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum

The Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum uses examples from the lives of Bible men and women whose walk with God resulted in good character or whose lack of faith produced poor character. Through this study, children are encouraged to obey God's Word so their lives will shine as lights in this dark world.

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Free Resources for Virtue

Enjoy these selections from the Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum that are fun and memorable!

Bible Story Coloring Page
Verse & Definition Word Search
Related Hymn Sheet Music
Virtue is the power of the Holy Spirit energizing the lives of those touched by it.

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