The Heart Posture of the Pilgrim

In the last post I mentioned that the title of my blog: “tolerated sojourner” makes for some great heart-ink. A kind of pilgrim heart-tattoo, so to speak; something that helps me to remember (and to keep remembering). But why would I want to continually remember this expression? Well, for one thing, as I’ve already mentioned, it serves as theological shorthand for one of the most important applications of the covenant doctrine. Covenant theology itself is something to which I ascribe the highest level of importance. Added to the clarity that it brings as I seek to understand and interpret the scripture, its application in the covenant pilgrimage has always had a deep effect on the posture of my heart. So, as I bring this series of posts to a close, allow me to wax eloquent for a second, as I try to explain this to you in the most personal and poetic language that I can muster.

Confessing that I am a tolerated sojourner means that I remind myself of the great pursuit of this life: I journey to the land of the Great King. But it also reminds me that I pursue this kingdom in weakness and not strength. At no point can I ever take my eye off of that fiery cloud and pillar. Ever singing the heart-refrain, “I need Thee, oh I need Thee”,  I call forth to the Strong Deliver to lead and protect me, until this journey is through. As a New Covenant pilgrim, I have no earthly weapons of warfare, and find no support in the strength of the horse. I seek no collision with the powers that be, but restfully know of their ultimate subordination to the God who directs my every weary step. My triumph is all in the Saviour. I find an oasis only where he is preached and his presence is administered. For the moment then, I have a land to aim for, a dusty road to walk, common-mercy to enjoy, and oases of gospel-refreshment to discover and experience. But my eye is always set on Canaan, and my hope is always this: one day Jesus will return, and I will see him in the flesh. Then, everything will be different, and all will be as it should be. 

A Tolerated What Now?

“Tolerated Sojourner”. Granted, it’s a bit of a weird title the first time you read it. Tolerated? Really? Why would any sojourner mention that he was only tolerated? Moreover, why would he/she glory in this fact (and even make mention of it in a blog-title)?

Well, put as simply as possible, I’ve given the blog this title because the expression (and the theology behind it) will have a major effect on every single post that I write, no matter what I write about.

The reason for this is that these two words are absolutely packed with rich and profound biblical-theological meaning. In fact, I first came across the phrase in the writings of Meredith Kline (a man whom I would, without hesitation, deem ‘the king of biblical theology’). Now, the reality is that Kline has many important summary expressions, all of which pack the power of a theological atom-bomb. In my opinion, however, the expression “tolerated sojourner” is among the most powerful (and personally meaningful) of these.

In the following posts, I’ll tell you why I feel this way.