The Makers Instructions
King Alfred is perhaps best remembered for allowing cakes to become burnt, but he did something far more significant and of lasting value. He used ten commandments, given to the Jewish people centuries before, as the foundation of English law. He instinctively knew they contained the recipe for a safe and successful society.
The secret they all contain is respect. Respect for God first, for his uniqueness, his nature, his name, his special day; then respect for each other, our families, life itself, marriage, property and reputation.
Churches have urged members to memorise the Ten Commandments, along with the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles’ Creed, often putting all three up on the wall as summaries of the Christian faith and life, as well as using them in worship.
But how can principles laid down so long ago and so far away be relevant to contemporary society? Well, as one New Testament translator (J B Phillips) puts it: ‘By the straight edge of God’s law we find out how crooked we are.’ Only after this discovery are we ready to consider the gospel of Jesus.