Such is the title of a brand new book published by Reformation Heritage Books, which was sent to me for review. The author is Jeremy Walker, pastor of Maidenbower Baptist Church in Crawley, England, who also authored the popular book A Portrait of Paul: Identifying a True Minister of Christ.
In Passing Through, Walker attempts to answer the question of the Christian’s relationship to the world. After establishing the significance of the question and the contemporary danger of worldliness, he points out that we can be guided by Christ’s prayer in John 17:14-19 (which see here). As he opens up this passage, he starts by making this important point:
Here in John 17 the Lord speaks of Christians as those who, having been given His world, now sustain a relationship to the world that is conditioned by their likeness to and connection with Him: ‘They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.’ But notice further that the Lord does not pray that the world would be taken away or that we would be taken out of the world. Instead He pleads that we would be protected and preserved from the evil one as we make our way in the world. Our relationship to the world is conditioned by and patterned after His own. So the Savior prays that we would be holy in this world – living distinctively and increasingly as those who belong to and are set apart by and for God – under the influence of the truth of God. He desires that we should conduct ourselves in accordance with the purposes for which we have been sent in just the same way that the Son was sent by the Father. To this end and for this purpose, on our behalf the Son sanctified Himself: He consecrated Himself entirely and without reserve, committing Himself entirely to His duty before God in such a way as to secure the same end for His people (p.3).
I have been doing some more reading in the book and am being edified by Walker’s presentation of the life of the Christin as a pilgrim. By the way, Walker derives his title from a poem by Scottish pastor Horatius Bonar (1808-1889), which I also post here:
I walk as one who knows that he is treading
A stranger soil;
As one round whom a serpent-world is spreading
Its subtle coil.
I walk as one but yesterday delivered
From a sharp chain;
Who trembles lest the bond so newly severed
Be bound again.
I walk as one who feels that he is breathing
For whom as wiles, the tempter still is wreathing
The bright and fair.
My steps, I know, are on the plains of danger,
For sin is near;
But looking up, I pass along, a stranger,
In haste and fear.
This earth has lost its power to drag me downward;
Its spell is gone;
My course is now right upward, and right onward,
To yonder throne.
Hour after hour of time’s dark night is stealing
In gloom away;
Speed thy fair dawn of light, and joy, and healing,
Thou Star of day!
For thee its God, its King, the long-rejected,
Earth groans and cries;
For thee the long-beloved, the long-expected,
Thy bride still sighs!
On the RHB website is posted the Table of contents, which I give you here so that you can see how Walker handles the subject.
Table of Contents:
- A Way in the World
- Strangers and Pilgrims
- Understand the Environment
- Know the Enemy
- Fight the Battles
- Pursue the Mission
- Respect the Authorities
- Alleviate the Suffering
- Appreciate the Beauty
- Anticipate the Destiny
- Cultivate the Identity
- Serve the King
If any of our readers wish to review the book in more detail for the Standard Bearer, contact me and the book is yours.