The Virtuous Life

Immediately after Jesus’ baptism he was driven into the wilderness by the Spirit to be temtped by the devil (Matt. 4:1). We must be ready and expect the same. If our Lord was not exempt from testing and temptation, we will not be either. We will be tempted to think, say, and do the wrong thing. And sometimes we will give in to those temptations.



Image result for gregory of nyssa stained glass


God remains merciful and loving when we fall. And yet, we are expected to rise again even if we are to fall once more. However, the virtuous life is more than just the absence of sin. Jesus’ own sinlessness is more than saying no to the devil’s temptations.

Jesus’ sinlessness is best understood as his unbrokn faithfulness to his calling, a faithfulness identical with his reality as the second identity of God.

– Robert Jenson

The virtuous life, then, is one lived in submission to the vocation to which God has called you. God has called each of us to different vocations and yet with the same end: friendship with God. Gregory of Nyssa says it well:

“This is true perfection: not to avoid a wicked life because like slaves we servilely fear punishment, nor to do good because we hope for rewards, as if cashing in on the virtuous life by some business-like arrangement. On the contrary, disregarding all those things for which we hope and which have been reserved by promise, we regard falling from God’s friendship as the only thing dreadful and we consider becoming God’s friend the only thing worthy of honor and desire. This, as I have said, is the perfection of life.”