Adam and the 10 Commandments

Law, Quote, Theology

forbidden-treeTo understand the fall of creation, and specifically what Adam did in the garden to bring all of creation into a state of sin and misery, we must identify what law(s) Adam actually broke. Was it just that God told Adam to not eat of the fruit, but he did, and therefore all of creation fell? To be sure, that’s enough – but it’s much more than that. In Edward Fisher’s classic work The Marrow of Modern Divinity he identifies through the interlocutor Evangelista how Adam broke all 10 commandments (which he was obligated to obey in the Covenant of Works):

1. He chose himself another god when he followed the devil.

2. He idolized and defied his own belly as the apostle’s phrase is, ‘He made his belly his god.’

3. He took the name of God in vain, when he believed him not.

4. He kept not the rest and estate wherein God had set him.

5. He dishonored his Father who was in heaven; and therefore his days were not prolonged in that land which the Lord his God had given him.

6. He massacred himself and all his posterity.

7. From Eve he was a virgin, but in eyes and mind he committed spiritual fornication.

8. He stole, like Achan, that which God had set aside not to be meddled with; and this his stealth is that which troubles all Israel – the whole world.

9. He bare witness against God, when he believed the witness of the devil before him.

10. He coveted an evil covetousness, like Amnon, which cost him his life (2 Sam. 13), and all his progeny.

The 10 commandments/Moral Law of God did not begin in Exodus 20. The Moral Law of God was written on the hearts of Adam and Eve and in full effect, rendering an obligation upon them to keep God’s Law perfectly lest they die.

Want more? Check out what I consider one of the most important books for Christians to read. The Marrow of Modern Divinity by Edward Fisher (Marginal notes from puritan Thomas Boston).

(By: Nick Kennicott)

Augustine on Peer-Pressure


On page 34 of the Oxford World Classics translation of Augustine’s Confessions the following turn of phrase perfectly captures the way that peer-pressure so easily can induce us to sin-

As soon as the words are spoken ‘Let us go and do it’, one is ashamed not to be shameless.

It’s amazing how the Fall has flipped things so upside-down: we are ashamed not to be shameless.  Thank God that Jesus came to put the world back on its feet (Acts 17:6).

By the way, I almost called this post “Augustine on Pear-Pressure”- which is probably funny if you’ve read his Confessions.  If you haven’t, it’s probably not.

(By: Nicolas Alford)

Reading Secular Literature

Ministry, Quote

oldbooksI came across this interesting exhortation in the Bern Synod of 1532:

Chapter forty: Moderation in reading secular literature

Indeed worldly books, such as histories, may also be read, but with careful discrimination and critical judgment, and with the intention that they be sued to train the intellect and to inform about the nature of the flesh. But fundamentally they serve neither for the improvement of our hearts, nor for the assistance of the congregation. Therefore, all doctrine, admonition, reproof, and correction should come from the Spirit of Christ and divine Scripture, though it may also happen that sometimes with brief words a pagan history might be cited to the congregation, and this we do not refuse. Out hope is that each will remember that he is a steward of the mysteries of Christ, and a servant of His Spirit, and accordingly will make more use of spiritual writings than of carnal. The ministers of the canton are sadly not all too industrious, yet we view this caution as not without cause.

What do you think? What is the place in the Christian life for “worldly books” or “pagan history”? How should we think about fiction? Is it profitable, harmful, or just a waste of time?

Quote from: compiled with introductions by James T. Dennison, Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation: Volume I, 1523-1552 (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2008), 271.

(By: Nick Kennicott)

Calvin on the 3rd Use of the Law

Law, Quote

Calvin’s catechism, Instruction In Faith, of 1537 offers a fantastic section (17) on what is most often referred to as the 3rd use of the Law (Sanctification):

Just as Christ by means of his righteousness intercedes for us with the Father in order that (he being as our guarantor) we may be considered as righteous, so by making us participants in his spirit, he sanctifies us unto all purity and innocence. For the spirit of the Lord has reposed on Christ without measure – the spirit (I say) of wisdom, of intelligence, of counsel, of strength, of knowledge and reverential fear of the Lord – in order that we all may draw from his fullness and receive grace through the grace that has been given to Christ. As a result, those who boast of having the faith of Christ and are completely destitute of sanctification by his spirit deceive themselves. For the Scripture teaches that Christ has been made for us not only righteousness but also sanctification. Hence, we cannot receive through faith his righteousness without embracing at the same time that sanctification, because the Lord is one same alliance, which he has made with us in Christ, promises that he will be propitious toward our iniquities and will write his Law in our hearts (Jer. 31:33; Heb. 8:10; 10:16).

Observance of the Law, therefore, is not a work that our power can accomplish, but it is a work of a spiritual power. Through this spiritual power it is brought about that our hearts are cleansed from their corruption and are softened to obey unto righteousness. Now the function of the Law is for Christians quite different from what it may be without faith; for, when and where the Lord has engraved in our hearts the love for his righteousness, the external teaching of the Law (which before was only charging us with weakness and transgression) is now a lamp to guide our feet, to the end that we may not deviate from the right path. It is now our wisdom through which we are formed, instructed, and encouraged to all integrity; it is our discipline which does not suffer us to be dissolute through evil licentiousness.

(By: Nick Kennicott)

Talking Arrant Nonsense

Culture, Quote

When someone declares that they ‘just know in their heart’ that the latest boy band is the greatest phenomenon of Western musical culture since Bach left the organ loft for the last time, you may know that they are talking arrant nonsense, but there is no way that you can refute this person’s claim because it is not a claim expressed using public criteria commonly known as words and logic. It is a purely personal, subjective judgment; and, in its claim to truth, it makes truth something mystical, something to be experienced, not something subject to normal criteria of public evaluation.

-Carl Trueman, The Creedal Imperative

P.S. You should really read this book!

(By: Nick Kennicott)