Life in Christ: Becoming and Being a Disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ by Jeremy Walker
Following Christ, being found in Him, and living as a child of God are all requisite features of the Christian life. Yet, we often have shallow and dull affections for following Jesus. Pastor Jeremy Walker, in his new book, Life in Christ, reminds us of the radical change taking place as Christ changes our lives and leads us to follow him. The beautiful vision of this book is encapsulated in Jeremy’s ability to outline key teachings of the Christian faith and bring them to the foreground of today’s believer. Winsome, chalk full of wisdom, biblical, and faithful to a glorious Reformed vision, this book is one to be read and re-read again. The book begins with looking to Jesus and ends with a life in review that spans the space from receiving Christ and believing on Him to reviewing a full life of faithful living.
My two favorite chapters were chapters 4 & 5 that dealt with Sons of God and the Jewel of Assurance. These two themes are so important that they don’t want to be missed. Jeremy writes, “There has been a revolution in our whole humanity, and it has become our nature to do righteousness. Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, came to save us from our sins; the Spirit of God, who is holy, has renewed us and indwelt us; and now we are children of God, doing His works, following His will, walking in His ways, showing true and growing godliness.” (60-61) We are no longer chained under the dominion of sin but have been changed. Righteousness is our goal and our status has been transformed. Jeremy is quick to point out that there is now no shame upon us from the Father, Son, and Spirit. Not only this, but our affections change from being anchored to the whims of our callous hearts to the desire to follow another, namely Jesus Christ. This chapter is so important it reminds us of the love God has for his children, a love that put God’s Son on the cross for our sins.
The Jewel of Assurance, chapter 5 was also very illuminating. Jeremy brings out a definition of assurance that is worth repeating, he writes, “In short, assurance is the well-grounded conviction of true believers that they are in possession of everlasting life; a conviction that rests on faith but is distinct from it and not always present with it.” (69) Assurance is altogether definable, desirable, and possible in this life as Jeremy reminds. Assurance is a bulwark against assailing doubts and twisted thoughts that seek to bring down the scaffolding of a sure peace. Jeremy writes, “Lack of assurance does not rob a saint of his life but rather of his peace and joy in having life.” (72) Eventually we will reach the safe harbor that God has laid out for us, even though we persist today through storms and winds with great force. Though we may at times feel like our assurance is in question, our feelings are not the final word concerning our relationship with Jesus Christ. We would do well to read and meditate on those passages that speak to our having everlasting life and the way in which this truth should guide our thoughts.
This is a wonderful book about following Christ, founding our hope in Him, and reminding us that our assurance is found in his mighty work on our behalf than our fluctuating feelings. One quick minor criticism of the book was that at times the abundant use of Scripture was overwhelming. Explaining carefully a few Scriptures helps me see the connection between the theme and message. But, this was only a minor point of criticism in an otherwise wonderful book.
Thanks to Cross Focused Reviews and Reformation Heritage Books for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.