No, this isn't about Faith Doctrine, but rather, about divine virtue in our lives. It's been a regular theme with me lately, and I'm still wrestling with it. I believe that God's virtue flows through men when they respond to His word, saved or not. Cornelius was a good man, even before he became a Christian. He must've gotten his virtue from God's word--from obeying God's word.

In Deuteronomy we read that God's word was "near Israel to perform it." That means God's word is near to men to enable them to do with that word says. So what is the difference between Christians and non-Christians, if both can do good and be virtuous?

I believe that God's word would have us to not just be good, but to also shun evil completely by choosing to live in relationship with God. The ultimate evil, in this sense, is in shunning a relationship with God. It is insulting to God, I believe, to just want to do good and to shun a relationship with the One who directs His word towards us! If we don't live in relationship with God, we are rejecting the good regularly, and only doing the good occasionally. We are basically living life independent of God, and only doing good when it is convenient for us.

So what does virtue look like in the Christian, as opposed to the non-Christian? We know the non-Christian can do good, but what does he or she look like when they live independent of God and shun a relationship with God?

I believe that the Christian, in choosing to live in relationship with God, and in regular submission to God, actually comes to look like a child of God. In choosing this covenant relationship with God, God adopts us as His people and as His children. We are given to demonstrate ownership over the inheritance of God, and may demonstrate His virtues as a part of our regular lives.

On the other hand, the non-Christian, who chooses to shun a relationship with God, also chooses to reject this on-demand feature of God's covenant, and can only do good occasionally, appearing to be ungodly and flawed the rest of the time. Even Christians, who are flawed, can demonstrate divine ownership, and appear as God's children, all of the time. Even in our flaws we demonstrate a continuing relationship with God, and thus always show the attributes of God's children.

Rom 8.1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.