The title of this post, "Christ as Ethical Model" is in some sense deceiving. The reason for this is what Stanley Hauerwas argued many years ago, "The ethical significance of Jesus" suggests that it is possible to know Jesus apart from that significance (Hauerwas, The Peaceable Kingdom, p. 74). It's as if we can know Jesus and then speak about the moral implications of knowing Jesus. But, if I may state the matter again in Hauerwasian fashion, Jesus is not a proponent of an ethic; Jesus is an ethic. Seen in this way, it is impossible to separate the person and work of Jesus Christ from Christian ethics. Thus accounts of Christian ethics that are formed on abstract rules and principles fall short of the adjective "Christian." It is indeed the case that one may indeed promote principles such as "love one another," but what that means in Christian context can only be understood incarnationally. In other words, it is Christology that gives "flesh and bones" to what it means to love one another.
Christology is thus intrinsically central to Christian ethics. The church is a community of people who form their lives around their Christian convictions about Jesus, which means that Christology and ecclesiology are essentially related as well. Thus there should be no distinction between Christian ethics and Christian social ethics Every ethical issue is a social issue. Christian family practices in daily life and the pursuit of personal holiness fall under the category of Christian social ethics in the same way as poverty, ecology, and abortion are social concerns. The distinction between Christian personal ethics and Christian social ethics distorts the very nature of Christian convictions. While "personal" (I even hesitate to use the term in this way) morality may present a different mode of concern in some ways to the Christian church, it is no less a community concern than questions of justice. Indeed, such personal issues are also justice issues. Just because a particular matter is "personal" does not make it less social.