12 Quotes From “Keeping The Ten Commandments”

Keeping The Ten CommandmentsJ.I. Packer wrote a very readable, but scholarly, book examining how 21st-century people should live out the biblical Ten Commandments. You can read my full book review by clicking here, but I’m sharing some of my favorite quotes below.

“God’s love gave us the law just as His love gave us the gospel, and as there is no spiritual life for us save through the gospel, which points us to Jesus Christ the Savior, so there is no spiritual health for us save as we seek in Christ’s strength to keep the law and practice the love of God and neighbor for which it calls.”

“Where the law’s moral absolutes are not respected, people cease to respect either themselves or each other; humanity is deformed, and society slides into the killing decadence of mutual exploitation and self-indulgence.”

“The negative form of the Commandments has positive implications. ‘Where a sin is forbidden, the contrary duty is commanded’ (Westminster Larger Catechism, Question 99). The negative form was needed at Sinai (as in the West today) to curb current lawlessness that threatened both godliness and national life.” 

“Moral permissiveness, supposedly so liberating and fulfilling, is actually wounding and destructive: not only of society (which God’s law protects), but also of the lawless individual, who gets coarsened and reduced as a person every time.”

“Law-keeping is that life for which we were fitted by nature, unfitted by sin, and refitted by grace, the life God loves to see and reward; and for that life liberty is the proper name.”

“The Bible, however, takes promises very seriously; God demands full faithfulness of our vows. Why? Partly because trustworthiness is part of His image, which He wants to see in us; partly because without it society falls apart.”

“We honor God by respecting His image in each other, which means consistently preserving life and furthering each other’s welfare in all possible ways.”

“We have in us capacities for fury, fear, envy, greed, conceit, callousness, and hate that, given the right provocation, could make killers out of us all. … When the fathomless wells of rage and hatred in the normal human heart are tapped, the results are fearful.”

“When you lie to put someone down, it is malice; when you lie to impress, move, and use him, and to keep him from seeing you in a bad light, it is pride.”

“Reformed theologians said that God’s law has three uses or functions: first, to maintain order in society; second, to convince us of sin and drive us to Christ for life; third, to spur us on in obedience, by means of its standards and its sanctions, all of which express God’s own nature.”

“What is God’s ideal? A God-fearing community, marked by common worship (commandments 1, 2, 3) and an accepted rhythm of work and rest (commandment 4), plus an unqualified respect for marriage and the family (commandments 5, 7), for property and owner’s rights (commandments 8, 10), for human life and each man’s claim on our protection (commandment 6), and for truth and honesty in all relationships (commandment 9).”

“When God’s values are ignored, and the only community ideal is permissiveness, where will moral capital come from once the Christian legacy is spent? How can national policy ever rise above material self-interest, pragmatic and unprincipled? How can internal collapse be avoided as sectional interests, unrestrained by any sense of national responsibility, cut each other down? How can an overall reduction, indeed destruction, of happiness be avoided when the revealed way of happiness, the ‘God first, others next, self last’ of the Commandments, is rejected? The prospects are ominous. May God bring us back to Himself and to the social wisdom of His Commandments before it is too late.”

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