The Ethical Teachings of Jesus Essay

7863 Words Feb 16th, 2012 32 Pages
The Ethical Teachings of Jesus.
IT is a notable characteristic of Christianity that the ethical teachings of its Founder are inseparably connected with his religious teachings. "Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself" is not given by him as a separate and detached precept, but as one of two. "Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart; and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second like unto it is this, thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hangeth the whole law and the prophets." Observe that the two precepts are not simply placed side by side, they are united: "on these two.'" In like manner the first four of the Ten Commandments present duties
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He presents in his own character and life an inspiring example, satisfying our noblest ideal of morality, and yet conforming itself to the conditions of our own existence. He tells how we may obtain divine assistance in obeying his precepts. Many other teachers have given wholesome precepts, but left men to keep them in their unaided strength. Jesus tells of a divinely-wrought change so thorough as to be called a new birth, of a divine spiritual help which our heavenly Father will readily give. It is in this, and not simply in the great superiority of his precepts, that we find the unapproachable excellence of the Christian ethics.
In connection with this point we must remember that Jesus constantly pre-supposes the sinfulness of human nature. Many ethical precepts, and even whole systems of ethics, appear to assume that men have no particular bias toward evil. But it is far otherwise with him; and he meets the demands of the situation by providing atonement, renewal and divine sanctification.
Another thing quite without parallel is the unique authority which these ethical instructions derive from the faultless life and character of the Teacher himself. Every other instructor in morals comes manifestly short of his own standard, as indeed befalls the teacher in every other department of practical human exertion. Even the lessons given by the best parents to their children are subject to inevitable discount on

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