Book Review | Ten Words to Live By

Over the past few years, Jen Wilkin has become one of my favorite writers. I’m so grateful for her heart for Scripture and her desire to keep the Word first in all things. There aren’t a lot of people who would dive eagerly into the Ten Commandments in a way that is so easy to apply. Ten Words to Live By is her latest book and it was a great read. She made several great points about how we aren’t under the law anymore…but how the law and understanding of grace and mercy can ultimately lead to true freedom.

I highlighted several things while reading and have posted those notes below…

  • 1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.  And his commandments are not burdensome. p. 11
  • His justice and compassion have always coexisted, and so have his law and his grace. p. 13
  • While legalism is a blight, lawfulness is a blessed virtue, as evidenced in the example of Christ. p. 14
  • I propose that we determine not to just remember the Ten Words, but to delight in them, to see beauty in them, to seek encouragement from them, and to live by them.  They stand ancient and timeless, as for ransomed Israel, so for us: a feast of righteousness spread in the wilderness, fortifying our hearts for the journey home. p. 19
  • I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God. Isaiah 45:5 p. 24
  • In Matthew 6:24, Jesus teaches us that “no one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”  We may think dual allegiances is desirable, but Jesus assures us it is not even possible.  We are created for single-minded allegiance.  We are designed for it.  We are made in the image of one God, to bear the image of one God.  We cannot conform to both the image of God and the image of an idol. p. 26
  • One day his kingdom will come in fullness, on earth as it is in heaven.  That day, single-minded and whole-hearted allegiance will be fully restored.  In the New Jerusalem, we will at last and once again have no other gods before him.  The apostle John describes for us what this final haven will look like:”The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass.  The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel…And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.” (Revelation 21:18-19, 23) p. 29
  • In order to preserve the reality of his perfections, God decrees that no human-contrived image of him shall be made, as any such image would only serve to cloud or diminish our understanding of what he is truly like. p. 36
  • Any time we take the attributes of the gods the world around us worships and apply them to God to make him more palatable and less threatening, more accommodating and less thunderous, we produce a graven image.  We whittle down his transcendence, we paint over his sovereignty, we chisel away his omnipotence until he is a pet-like version of the terrible pagan god we would never be so foolish as to bow down to. p. 39
  • The New Testament writers take care to grant our Lord and Savior the reverence he is due.  We should pay attention to this for the health of our souls.  We enjoy friendship and intimacy with Christ, but we do not share equality with him.  He is not our peer.  Recognizing that he sits even now at the right hand of God the Father means speaking of him and to him with respect, after the pattern of the Scriptures. p. 57
  • If formal language is formative, each time we utter a formal title for the Father, the Son, or the Spirit, we practice a small liturgy that is good for our souls. p. 57
  • Our patterns of work and rest reveal what we believe to be true about God and ourselves.  God alone requires no limits on his activity.  To rest is to acknowledge that we humans are limited by design. p. 64
  • The word shabat means “cease”.  To sabbath is to cease activity for the purpose of remembering God’s provision, that we might worship him as we ought. p. 65
  • One day Sabbath will descend in fullness.  All Sabbath now is a foretaste of Sabbath ever after.  When we cease our labors and sense the sweetness of that ceasing, we anticipate the day when we will enter fully into our rest. p. 71
  • Honor is an expression of rightly ordered love. p. 77
  • The church is the family your family of origin could not be. p. 79
  • Faithful, healthy marriages are not good just for the family; they are good for the community.  Marriage is the foundational relationship in the home from which all others proceed, and to which all others look for identity and stability. p. 100
  • Delight yourself in lawlessness, and your disordered desires will govern you.  Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you new desires. p. 109
  • Let your pockets turn loose of their earthly treasures, that all might have daily bread.  Your bread is to do the will of him who sent you.  He bids you to spread abundance. p. 122
  • “I tell you, on the day of judgement, people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37). p. 135
  • We will give an account for every word. p. 135
  • Nothing bears greater witness to the truth of our invisible God than our visible obedience to his commands.  Blessed are those who have not seen and yet obey (John 20:29).  Our actions are the incarnation of our belief. p. 135
  • The gap between our expectation and our reality is where discontentment and covetousness thrive. p. 143
  • How can we battle the false expectations raised by an ideal?  One key skill on the road to learning contentment is to limit our exposure to desire-enhancing sources. p. 146
  • In the new heavens and earth, we will cease our coveting.  We will not be tied to comparison, at last gazing unhindered on the one without compare.  We will have obtained fully the pearl of great price.  We will have unearthed completely the treasure hidden in a field.  We will be free of the suspicion that someone else has it better than we do.  We will know beyond a doubt that the greatest possession, the purest relationship, the highest circumstance is ours for eternity.  We will enjoy in full the great gain of godliness with contentment. p. 148
  • “…but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1:2 p. 151

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