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In the end, I suppose, when it comes to ethics, believers must summarise true and full life not as a life that is upright and pursues righteous principles but one that is lived out in the image of God (see Ephesians 5:1-3, for example). Iím speaking of course of those who have been confronted with Jesus Christ who is Godís full self-disclosure as a human. I know there are those who have not been given the gospel but by Godís grace live exemplary lives. Still, we canít settle for less than the highest we know and the highest, a Christian would rightly say, is Jesus Christ.
And while a Christian canít profess to be morally superior to the rest of his fellows he can do nothing less than insist that Jesus Christ is and was. The Christianís faith in Christ is a glad confession that Jesus is Lord of all and it doesnít matter ultimately that he, the Christian, is impressive in virtue just so long as he genuinely insists that Jesus is and that he seeks Christ's likeness. So that the Christianís ethical life is the imitation of Christ and so it is ďgospelingĒ as well as ethics.
In a world filled with sin, injustice, oppression, cruelty, immorality and greed it isnít hard to feel weary; to be the underdog and to see your loving purposes stymied. The recognition that for all our own personal growth in the moral realm we seem barely better than when we first began the struggle can be a burden hard to bear. To act in righteousness now and then is one thing but to remain always righteous is beyond us; because we are what we are. God doesnít expect sinlessness of us but he does call us to keep our commitment to and faith in Jesus Christ and see it through for that is what God is like. G. S Kennedy, WWI chaplain, reminded us of that when he had a rough-spoken soldier say of Christ in prayer at
And the answer [that] came to the
prayers he prayed
Was his power to see it through;
To see it through to the bitter end,
And to die like a God at the last,
In a glory of light that were dawning bright
With the sorrow of death all past.
And the Christ who was hung on the cross is
True God for me and you,
For the only God that a true man trusts
Is the God that sees it through.