The radical teachings of Jesus Christ
Atheists often claim that Jesus Christ taught nothing unique that cannot be found in the other religions of the world. However, the truth is that Jesus' message is radically different from that of every other religion. This page examines some of the unique teachings of the founder of Christianity.
Righteousness - not just actions
In many of His sermons, Jesus said that righteousness was more than not acting on one's evil desires. In other words, it is not enough to just act righteously - one must also think righteously. Desiring to do evil in your mind makes you guilty of that very same act before a holy God. This is why all people have sinned and fall short of God's holy standard (see God Tests the Heart of People). The table below lists some examples of these principles that Jesus taught in His sermon on the Mount of Olives. I encourage you to take a look at what Jesus said, and see if you measure up to the standards of God. If you are honest, you will soon realize that you aren't going to make the grade on your own.
|The World Says||Jesus Christ Says||Bible Verse|
|If someone does something to make you angry, it is okay to respond by telling him off.||Being angry and calling someone names can land you in hell.||Matthew 5:21-221|
|It is okay to look at a good looking woman when you are married as long as you don't act upon your desires.||Looking with lust at a woman makes you guilty of adultery.||Matthew 5:27-282|
|Divorce is okay if you are not compatible with your spouse.||Divorce (except in the case of adultery) makes you and your spouse guilty of adultery.||Matthew 5:31-323|
|If circumstances beyond your control prevent you from carrying out your vows, it is okay.||Do not make vows at all, but do as you say.||Matthew 5:33-374|
|You shouldn't let people take advantage of you.||Do not resist evil, but return good for evil.||Matthew 5:38-415|
|It is okay to hate people who are enemies to you.||You are to love all people and pray for those who hate you.||Matthew 5:446|
|It is okay to get your name on a hospital wing or other worthy cause when you donate money.||Give in secret, so that nobody knows what you have done.||Matthew 6:1-47|
|Praying in public is a good way to witness.||Pray in secret to God with sincerity.||Matthew 6:5-68|
|If people do evil things to you, it is okay to get even.||Forgive all who sin against you.||Matthew 6:14-159|
|Eat, drink and be merry! "He who dies with the most things wins."||Do not accumulate things just because you have extra money. Use your resources for eternal purposes.||Matthew 6:19-2110|
|Always try to get rich. Money will make you happy.||A person cannot serve God and money at the same time. Make choices that have eternal impact.||Matthew 6:2411|
|Shop 'till you drop. She who has the most clothes wins.||Do not worry about your clothing or your food, but trust in God for your needs.||Matthew 6:25-3312|
|If you are worried, take a little pill and relax.||Don't worry about tomorrow. There is enough to do today.||Matthew 6:33-3413|
|Did you read about the latest gossip about that movie star?||Do not judge others. Examine your own behavior.||Matthew 7:1-514|
Many atheists claim that the golden rule is a part of virtually every religion, and that it was taught by many before Jesus was born. This is false, since the "golden rule" taught in other religions is not the same as that taught by Jesus. Here is what Jesus said:
In comparison, here is the "golden rule" given by Confucius:
Tsze-kung asked, saying, "Is there one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one's life?" The Master said, "Is not RECIPROCITY such a word? What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others." (The Analects Book 15:24)
There is a huge difference between the two. Confucius merely phrased it in the negative. Don't do what you would not want others to do to you. In addition, Confucius phrased the philosophy in terms of reciprocity - expecting something back in return. However, Jesus said:
"But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. (Luke 6:35)
In addition, Jesus phrased the rule in the positive, which is quite different. Jesus recognized the problem with the "golden rule" that was prevalent at the time. Not doing evil is not the same as doing good for everyone. After giving the golden rule in his sermon on the Mount of Olives, He made the following statement:
"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. (Luke 6:32)
The real golden rule requires you to love everyone, even those who mistreat you or use you for their own gain. Is it possible to love everyone? If you try to do it by your own power, you will fail. For more information on how you can love everyone, see The New Commandment That is Old
The greatest love
Jesus taught that those who were His followers would be known by their love.16 The love of God overflows through those who love Him, such that they are willing to even give up their lives to save another.
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)
The message of Jesus Christ is unique among all the world's religions. This uniqueness is one of the main reasons why I came to faith in Jesus Christ. It is not enough to act righteously, you must be completely righteous. What will you say when you stand in the presence of the Holy God. Do you think that He will buy your excuses? You need a Savior, which is why Jesus came to Earth. If you have not come to the same conclusion, do some more research. If the claims of Jesus Christ are true, what you decide to do with Him is the most important question you will ever face.
- Is Christianity and the Bible Too Old-Fashioned to be Relevant in Today's Society?
- Prophecies of Jesus Christ as Messiah
- Going to Heaven Are We?
- What is Love as Defined by the Bible?
- The New Commandment That is Old
- God Tests the Heart of People
- The Greatest Love Of All
- "You have heard that the ancients were told, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.' But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever shall say to his brother, 'Raca,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever shall say, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell." (Matthew 5:21-22)
- "You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY'; but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart." (Matthew 5:27-28)
- "And it was said, 'WHOEVER SENDS HIS WIFE AWAY, LET HIM GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE'; but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the cause of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery." (Matthew 5:31-32)
- "Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, 'YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWS, BUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD.' But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING. Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your statement be, 'Yes, yes' or 'No, no'; and anything beyond these is of evil." (Matthew 5:33-37)
- "You have heard that it was said, 'AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.' But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone wants to sue you, and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. And whoever shall force you to go one mile, go with him two." (Matthew 5:38-41)
- "You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR, and hate your enemy.' "But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you." (Matthew 5:44)
- "Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. "When therefore you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. "But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you. (Matthew 6:1-4)
- "And when you pray, you are not to be as the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners, in order to be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will repay you. (Matthew 6:5-6)
- "For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. "But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. (Matthew 6:14-15)
- "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)
- "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. (Matthew 6:24)
- "For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing? "Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? "And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life's span? "And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. "But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? "Do not be anxious then, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'With what shall we clothe ourselves?' "For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:25-33)
- "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. "Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:33-34)
- "Do not judge lest you be judged. "For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. "And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. (Matthew 7:1-5)
- Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:31)
- "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35)
Last Modified April 14, 2006