Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | October 6, 2015

Your Resplendent Virtue

Do You Shine with a Virtue Resplendent?

I’m a fan of Gilbert and Sullivan and enjoy one of their lesser know works, “Trial by Jury.” This was their first truly successful collaboration and exhibits all of the sparkle and humor that was to characterize their later, better known, works.

The story centers on a trial in a British courtroom concerning a breach of promise of marriage and Gilbert, as was his way, fires literary arrows at the British judicial system as he later would at almost every other major British institution.

In one scene the all male jury, after hearing the defendant’s pleadings, expresses their collective opinion on the merits of his defense as they sing these words:

         Oh, I was like that when a lad!

               A shocking young scamp of a rover,

          I behaved like a regular cad;

               But that sort of thing is all over.

          I’m now a respectable chap

               And shine with a virtue resplendent

          And, therefore, I haven’t a scrap

               Of sympathy with the defendant!

                    He shall treat us with awe,

                    If there isn’t a flaw,

          Singing so merrily–Trial‑la‑law!

          Trial-la-law!  Trial-la-law!

          Singing so merrily–Trial‑la‑law!

In case you’re wondering it all ends well and once the trial is over everyone leaves happily.

Now Back to the Question

Do you shine with a virtue resplendent and if you believe you do then why and if you believe you don’t then why? I think it would be safe to say that all Christians would like to appear virtuous with the glow of the stained glass window falling across their faces, as the expression goes; we see a lot of that in church.

We have a problem though with our experience; we, better than any other person, know the depths of our depravity and the struggle we have with the various forms of personal sin. Generally we may feel rather tarnished and just hope no one notices, hence the piety pose that is so popular among Christians.

The Bible reinforces that concern where in 1 John 1:8-10 it is written:

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.”

On the other hand the Bible also offers wonderful reassurance when in Romans 8:1-5 it is written:

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.”

From these verses we see that “God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.” “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” Although we still commit sins, we are no longer judged for them because of Christ’s death on the cross. It would appear we are both resplendent and tarnished at the same time so how does that work?

The Duality of our Existence

Fortunately the Bible offers the explanation we need to resolve this question. Whereas we are finite creatures of beginnings and endings our creator is the omnipotent timeless God who sees the past, present, and the future with equal clarity.

All who have received Christ as Savior have a positional reality and an experiential reality at the same time. Positionally we are already blessed with eternal blessings that surpass our ability to even imagine. In Ephesians 2:4-7 we read:

“4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.”

We can only know this to be true by faith, not by feeling; God tells us this is our situation therefore we know it to be true! The truth of our positional reality can only be discerned by faith in God’s revelation to us in the Bible. This is something we know to be true even though we cannot feel it experientially.

When we are told to confess our sins to God, this has everything to do with our experiential reality and nothing to do with our positional reality. It is heresy to suggest we can lose our salvation if we commit personal sin; our salvation has been secured by Christ’s death on the cross and is not reversible.

Next time we will consider our experience as a temple of the Holy Spirit.


  1. Dear David,
    Thank you for this article. Truly we are saved by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The time of law is the time of punishment, but the time of grace is the time of forgiveness. The time of law is simply like when you violate the traffic laws, the police gives a ticket, but the time of grace is simply like the police who instead of giving you a ticket, he let you undergo a driving course so as not to repeat the mistakes you have committed. Jesus gives us the opportunity to have a salvation course by confessing our sins, repenting and accepting Him as Lord and Savior.
    Hanna Awwad


  2. David: great message…sharing with others.

    Bless you!


    Sent from my iPhone



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