Devotion: The Link Between Virtue and Public Welfare

Devotion: The Link Between Virtue and Public Welfare


“He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known” (Proverbs 10:12, NKJV).


It goes without saying that virtue and public welfare are inseparably linked. Human experience bears this out, as proven in the chronicles of world history. Whenever a society loses its virtue, it begins a downward slide into moral callousness, cultural pessimism, and political tyranny.

Why is virtue—and specifically, Christian virtue—so essential to any healthy and happy society? Virtue demands that a person look after the responsibilities he owes his family, his community, and his nation. The virtuous person seeks the welfare of his city, carrying out his duties as a citizen and encouraging public virtue through his endeavors. Most importantly, a virtuous person exercises his freedom responsibly in all areas of life.

President George Washington understood the connection between virtue and public welfare. While assisting with the establishment of his fledgling new nation, he frequently advised his contemporaries to never forget that God gives his blessings to people and nations marked by their virtue. As his presidential administration came to a close, Washington reiterated this axiomatic truth, asking rhetorically, “Can it be that Providence [God] has not connected the permanent felicity [happiness] of a nation with its virtue?”

Like George Washington, the founding generation assumed that the American experiment of constitutionally limited civil government would survive only if the people retained their Christian virtue. They understood that a debauched people would abuse their liberty as a license to sin, thereby destroying the moral order that operates as a prerequisite for human flourishing. Fundamentally, any nation that desires sustainable, ordered liberty must not only understand the God-designated limits of their freedom, but also properly balance God-given rights with God-given responsibilities.

John Adams, writing to the Massachusetts Militia, elaborated on this theme: “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion… Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

In the final analysis, the blessings of a free and prosperous civil society can be preserved only if the people maintain their virtue. Our collective happiness depends on Christian patriots advocating strong morals in the public square and imparting them to the rising generation. Let’s recommit ourselves to this critical task. Our national welfare demands it.


PRAYER: Lord, may we always remember that our rights are accompanied with responsibilities. Empower us, by your Holy Spirit, to use our liberty in such a way that does good and builds your kingdom. May we boldly advocate biblical truth in the public square, seeking the welfare of our communities as we work toward a restoration of public virtue. We pray in the name of Jesus, our Lord and King. Amen.


One Response

  1. Hi Blaine,
    I’m new to your blog, so have only perused your topics but regarding The Link between Virtue and Public Welfare, I read every word. I have been exploring the same concept only my thoughts regard the link between virtue and liberty, which you echo. Liberty stands on virtue, thus for liberty to exist or endure, a virtuous people is necessary. Liberty doesn’t license lasciviousness, though an unvirtuous segment of Idaho’s current population has attempted to redefine liberty as freedom and freedom as license and license as permission for public debauchery. And the public gatekeepers – political and religious leadership – have acceded to the trend by their silence. Virtue must find its voice, and soon.
    Thanks for writing. Thanks for listening.

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