Saints' or Bible quotes about Believers being held to a higher standard?


I’m looking for any quotes from Saints or from the Bible that show that those who know Jesus/Gospels are held to a higher standard than those who are ignorant of them.


John 15:22 (NRSV)

If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.

John Chrysostom uses this verse after instructing his Catechumens that it was completely forbidden to swear oaths (Matthew 5:33-37 & James 5:12 [Today’s first reading]).

St. John Chrysostom, Tenth Baptismal Instruction (PK 2). Instruction 10:28-29

Source: Saint John Chrysostom, Baptismal Instructions, trans. Paul William Harkins p. 159. (Paulist Press, 1963).

  1. Where, now, are those who say: Suppose I swear justly? How is this just when the law is transgressed? How is this just when God forbids it, but you do it? But the fact is that you will bear with us later, when we bind up your wounds, for even the bandage is not without pain.

  2. The punishment both for swearing falsely and for swearing truly was severe even before I instructed you; now that I have instructed you, it is still more severe. Christ said:* If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin. But now they have no excuse for their sin.* In your case I can say this too, because in the future you will have no excuse for your transgressions. If baptism find oaths falsely or truly sworn, if it find fornication or adultery, if it find the fullness of evil, it carefully washes than away and makes the soul perfectly clean.


Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more. Luke 12:48 (ESV).


Lk. 12[48] But he who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, shall receive a light beating. Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more.

Matt.13[12] For to him who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

Luke.8[18] Take heed then how you hear; for to him who has will more be given, and from him who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away."

Just a few examples from a quick Scripture word search.


I’m partial to the story of St. Macarius and the Skull.

One day, as Macarius wandered among those ancient Egyptian tombs wherein he had made himself a dweling-place, he found the skull of a mummy, and, turning it over with his crutch, he inquired to whom it belonged; and it replied, “To a pagan.” And Macarius, looking into the empty eyes, said: “Where then is thy soul?” And the head replied: “In hell.” Macarius asked “How deep?” And the head replied, “The depth is greater than the distance from earth to heaven.” Then Macarius asked: “Are there any deeper than thou art?” The skull replied: “Yes, the Jews are deeper still.” And Macarius asked, “Are there any deeper than the Jews?” To which the head replied, “Yes, in sooth! for the Christians whom Jesus Christ hath redeemed, and who show in their actions that they despise his doctrine, are deeper still.”


Hi, Alex!

Here’s my most favorite two (the 3rd once has already been given St. Luke 12:48) when it comes to “us vs. them:”

20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. (St. Matthew 5:20)

3 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. (St. James 3:3)

Maran atha!



**3 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. (St. James 3:3) **

This is not too reassuring, it is basically warning people that even though they may consider themselves smart and intelligent people, more than likely they will not reach heaven due to this…?? Notice it is directed fellow believers too. GEEZ!


St. James is merely telling those who teach that they are responsible before God for what they teach and how they teach, since as teachers others will be influenced more by them than by their fellow Christians. It’s an admonition to keep their motives true, as well as their lives. But this holds true for all of us. We are all to be faithful in whatever vocation God places us, be it as married people, parents, religious or single. It’s just the level of responsibility also affects the level of judgment due to being a position of authority.


Hi, Mike!
This is a perfect demonstration where Scriptures reveal that those who are intimate with God will be called to answer at a high level of obedience and conduct than those who are merely muddling through.

Since we are all part of the Priestly kingdom (Apocalypse 1:6, 5:10) we are all called to Evangelize; some of us might consider ourselves able to bring others to the Faith–as teachers (even if it is just within our family circle) we may lead others to God or we may just serve as stumbling blocks… yet, once we make a conscious effort to “teach” (coincidentally, this is happening right here on this and other forums) come Judgment our Lord, Jesus Christ, will be more critical (He’ll hold us to a high standard!).

…so yeah, “GEEZ!” wont get us out of it! :juggle::juggle::juggle:

Maran atha!


closed #10

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit