Tim Keller frequently refers Jonathan Edwards in his sermon especially the book, The Nature of True Virtue. It is little book, but hard to read. Here are a paraphrased version by Tim Keller. It is important to fully understand its message because what most Christians do as virtue could be not true virtue. It is also important for understanding the difference between religion and the gospel. I added some Korean version in order to check if I clearly understood the meaning of the writing. For last 15 years since I became Christian I never heard this kind of message from the sermon I heard. True virtue teaches me about what my true motivation is. Is it for God’s sake or for your sake? If you clearly understand this I believe there will be life changing effect.
There are two kinds of moral behaviors. The vast majority of people are honest out of fear or out of pride. For example, “be honest” then it pays or God will punish you. In other example, don’t be like those terrible dishonest people, you are not like that. If you do a virtue out of this kind of motivation this virtue is called “Common Virtue.” In common virtue you are not doing anything to root out the fundamental cause of evil, which is the radical self-centeredness of the heart. You have restrained the heart’s self-centeredness, but not changed it. ultimately, moral people who are being moral out of fear and pride are being moral for themselves.
착하게 살려고 노력하는 그 동기부여가 그렇지 않으면 벌을 받을까하는 두려움이거나 아니면 악하게 사는사람들보다 착하게 사는 사람이 더 우월하다고 생각하기 때문에 착하게 산다면 이런 미덕은 common virtue라고 한다. 이런 동기때문에 착한 행동을 한다면 이건 악을 행하고 싶은 욕망을 좀 억제하고 사는것 뿐이지 완전히 그 악 (self-centeredness)를 제거한것은 아니다. 이런 미덕으로는 인간의 근본적죄성을 없애지 못한다. 그렇기 때문에 아무리 많은 착한 행동을 해도, 아무리 많은 사람들이 착한 사람이라고 불러도 인간은 결국 깊은 죄성에서 벗어나지 못하는 것이다. 선을 행하는 이유가 그 선자체가 가치가 있기때문이 아니라 어떤 대가를 바라고 한는 모든 선은 common virture인것이다.
True Virtue is when you are honest not because it profits you or makes you feel better, but because you are smitten (강하게 한대 얻어맞다, 뭔가에 푹 빠져 있다) with the beauty of the God who is all truth and sincerity and faithfulness. it is when you come to love truth-telling not for your sake, but for God’s sake and its own sake. That kind of motivation can only grow in someone deeply touched by God’s grace.
True virtue comes when you see Christ dying for you, keeping a promise he made despite the infinite suffering it brought him. This will destroy your pride because he did it not because I am good enough, but because he loved us so much. This will also destroy fear because if he died for us, that means he values ours that much, and we know he would do that much in order to take care of us. So that we don’t have to worry about any little things in our lives. Consequently our hearts are not just restrained but changed. Our fundamental motivation is transformed.