I have no business discussing dancing, floors, or even dance floors. I’m an expert in none of those categories. I am not a dancer. When I try to dance, I end up looking like a contortionist being hit with a taser. When I try to dance I appear to be about as graceful as a pirouette-ing stick figure. When I try to dance . . . get the point? However, in a recent study on 1 Peter, I was intrigued by a greek word that has to do with, of all things, dancing. We will get to the dancing in a moment, but first . . .
2 Peter 1:5 instructs us, “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue [. . .]” It then continues on to speak of the other virtues to be added to our spiritual life: knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity. We are to give all diligence to add to our faith–which must be the bedrock of the Christian’s life–virtue. Now virtue is a word that has sort of fallen by the wayside and we have a very poor understanding of it. So, I’d like to distinguish between virtue and virtues. Some word-pictures to help illustrate this point:
–Virtue is the fuse which detonates the force of virtues.
–Virtue is the spokes of the wheel which drives the cart full of virtues forward.
–Virtue is the greenhouse in which virtues can be cultivated.
–Virtue is an eyeglass that fixes our sight problem, enabling us to have clarity of focus upon what virtues actually are.
Apart from virtue (which I would define as the “oomph,” muscle, or ability to do a task) we are unable to see what bearing virtues should have upon us. A man that is a scallawag might see an act of kindness, charity, courage, valor or generosity, but he is incapable of performing such an act himself, for he has no inner strength (virtue) to compel him towards virtues. Therefore, a man without virtue will not have virtues. A man with virtue will have virtues. Put another way, a man without virtue (i.e. without the oomph, or strength, of the indwelling and Almighty Spirit of Christ, given to us by faith) is a man that will be unable to truly have virtues; for all his attempt at virtues will be weakened by his lack of virtue.
As Christians, by faith in our Lord Jesus we are given the empowering grace of the indwelling Spirit of Christ, enabling us to perform the task of exhibiting the nature of Christ (which I would define as “the virtues”). If you consult with your flesh and feelings to see how they feel about being godly, humble, kind, charitable, etc., you will find that in and of yourself you have no “oomph” (or even desire) to perform these virtues which reflect Christ’s nature.
First you need faith. You must be fully trusting in Christ’s oomph, and not your own. But in believing upon Christ, the Scriptures teach us that faith plugs us into the power-plant of God’s efficacy and might (2 Pet. 1:3, a few verses before this verse tell us as much). You must add to your faith virtue, i.e. spiritual muscle to perform the task of demonstrating virtues. The problem is, self cannot perform even the simple task of adding virtue to faith.
Here’s where dancing comes in. There is a greek word khoros, and it meant a group of dancers and singers. They were given a piece of music, they were instructed in which steps to make, and they were well-trained to perfectly, flawlessly, effectively and beautifully perform this song and dance. However, there was another word I discovered, which was similar to khoros, and it was “khoregos;” which was a wealthy benefactor who provided both a location and funding for the performance. It doesn’t matter if you have a great troop of singers and dancers with a performance ready to roll, if they have no stage upon which to perform. Thus, the khoregos either prepares or purchases a space for the performance to take place.
Now, Peter uses a word very similar to these two when he tells us to “add” to our faith virtue. The word for add is the greek word “epichorēgeō/ἐπιχορηγέω.” This is a verb that implies a few things; one, that you are the one that must do the verb, two this is not optional, it emphatically must be done. The verb epichorēgeō, then, means that you must supply a space for the song and dance to be performed.
God has called you to a life of “glory and virtue (2 Pet. 1:3).” You cannot demonstrate this glory nor these virtues on your own. However, by believing upon the Lord Jesus, there is a covenantal exchange. You get His life, and He gets yours. You need spiritual “oomph” and the Spirit of God alone has the strength to enable you to demonstrate His nature and character. Thus, when we “epichorēgeō” we are essentially declaring to God that we understand that He is the “khoros (the performer),” we gladly become the “khoregos (the one providing the place for the performer to perform).” God has a song and dance, it is called the good news; however, where once it was the land of Israel in which He demonstrated His mighty redemptive purposes, and revealed His glory, He now aims to demonstrate it in and through the stage–or we could say–the dance floor of our lives.
Would you add to your faith virtue? It will not happen by merely working harder to show off virtues. Rather, recognize that faith has made all of grace available unto you, in the Third Person of the Trinity, to allow Him to show HIS virtues in YOU. The song and dance of salvation is a glorious one, an eternal one, and it is a robustly foot stompin‘ tune; I say we ought to make our life a dance floor where God may, metaphorically speaking, bust a move, cut a rug, throw down, et cetera.