Wheaton, Crossway, 2018
This is a book many will deeply appreciate. Recent years have seen the fear of legalism swing the pendulum too far the other way, as antinomianism casts its shadow over many churches. It is almost fifteen years since the Presbyterian Church of Victoria published that excellent little book Love Rules –The Ten Commandments for the 21st Century, and those years have proved how necessary it was, and shown the need for this, De Young’s recent work.
De Young writes with a pastor’s heart – that is evident as he addresses folk of various ages and situations, as appropriate. While not the first book compiled from a series of sermons or talks, it is eminently readable for that very reason. Directed to the heart of the reader, it hit mine, gently but firmly. Intellect and emotions are evoked – and truth imparted!
The introduction, a must-read, is entitled The Good News of Law, and De Young writes, ‘Studying the Ten Commandments reveals the very heart of human rebellion: we don’t like God telling us what we can and cannot do.’ Exactly! Here we meet the Ten Noncommandments of the atheists and find an accurate snapshot of the world today. He writes, ‘The way to find moral instruction is not by listening to your gut but by listening to God. If we want to know right from wrong, if we want to know how to live the good life, if we want to know how to live in a way that blesses our friends and neighbours, we’d be wise to do things God’s way, which means paying careful attention to the Ten Commandments.’
You have to love his chapter headings. For example, the one on the seventh commandment (adultery) is entitled An Affair of the Heart, while the chapter on the tenth (covetousness) is called The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment. The controversial fourth commandment (Sabbath) is Rest, Rejoice, Repeat, and the eighth is called Treasures in Heaven. In this last, the stated negatives are balanced with many implied positives, which may be confronting to some – but helpful.
Serious Bible readers know that these Commandments are, and always were, the required response of God’s people to His grace, so that they could visualise something like John 3:16 for Exodus 20:1 and 2. As western culture has lost its sense of the Bible as the Word of God, and the Commandments as its moral compass, we see the consequences, in our papers, and TV screens. They call it ‘news’ but it is not new at all, is it? This book could be a timely wake up call to the Lord’s people.
Buy it, read it, give it, recommend it – for God’s sake – and your blessing.