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Questions and Answers | From the Palace to the Desert

If we are walking with the Lord faithfully, should we expect severe trials that might take a personal toll on us?

We live in a fallen world that brings with it suffering and trials for all people (Job 3:17; Isa. 65:20). Both the faithful and the unfaithful experience the consequences of sin and the flaming arrows of the Evil One (Eph. 6:10–16).

But Jesus told His followers to expect trouble and persecution, resulting from their decision to follow Him (John 15:18–20; 16:33). While this answer may disappoint, we do know that, as God’s children, we can experience His peace, hope, and joy, even when we walk through difficult circumstances. We are promised that God is near to us in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1; Heb. 4:16). We are promised an eternal future where there will be no more pain and no more sorrow (Rev. 21:4). Times of suffering and persecution encourage us to say, “He who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:23) and “Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).

If I was baptized as an infant by sprinkling, do I need to undergo baptism by immersion?

Baptism is a significant step in the life of a believer. Often it is a time celebrated by friends, immediate and extended family, and church members. But, as you’ve noted, baptism takes various forms in different faith traditions.

You say that you were baptized as an infant, which follows the tradition of paedobaptism. In Roman Catholic teaching, the baptism of an infant is believed to ensure the salvation of the child. In the Reformed tradition, infant baptism is a covenant sign, holding out the hope of the salvation of the child but not guaranteeing it. In both cases, paedobaptism occurs before the child has made a personal profession of faith.

In contrast, the tradition of credobaptism (or what many call believer’s baptism) is performed on those who have made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. It occurs after salvation and is not a part of salvation. Believer’s baptism usually occurs through immersion into water. This follows the type of baptism we see in the New Testament, when John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River (Matt. 3:13–17). Baptism by immersion portrays the mysterious union of the believer dying with Christ, being buried with Him, and rising with Him (Rom. 6:3–5).

The issue of whether or not you should be baptized as an adult by immersion depends upon your personal choice and the requirements of your church for membership. I would encourage you to consult with your pastor or elders as you decide whether or not to be baptized again as a professing follower of Jesus.

If the Lord dwells in an unapproachable light, how shall we see Him face to face?

Scripture teaches that God is invisible (1 Tim. 1:17), and that He “lives in unapproachable light” being One “whom no one has seen or can see” (1 Tim. 6:16). At the same time, we are told that “when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). This may seem confusing! Will we or will we not see God?

As believers, it is not surprising that we long to see the Lord face to face! Moses was not satisfied with his experiences at the burning bush or on Mt. Sinai, so he asked God, “Now show me your glory” (Ex. 33:18). Similarly, the Apostle Paul, an eyewitness to the resurrected Christ, looked forward to the day when he would see God face to face (1 Cor. 13:12).

But there is a clear distinction in Scripture between our ability to see God the Father and God the Son. Scripture carefully indicates that God the Son is the one we will see. In the Old Testament, each incident of seeing God face to face was with the Angel of the Lord, whom we now identify as the pre-incarnate Christ (whether the biblical writer states this explicitly or not). This was true for Jacob (Gen. 32:30), Moses (Ex. 33:11; Num. 12:8; Deut. 34:10), Israel (looking at the cloud resting on Mt. Sinai in Deut. 5:4), Gideon (Judg. 6:22), and Job (42:5). As John says, “No one has ever seen God [the Father], but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known” (John 1:18). And as Jesus says, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

Like Moses and Paul, we will not be satisfied in our understanding of the Lord until we see Him face to face. But we will find ourselves fully satisfied when we look at the face of Jesus.

BY Dr. Eric C. Redmond

Dr. Eric C. Redmond serves as a professor of Bible at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and as associate pastor of adult ministries at Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Ill. He is married to Pam and they have five children. He is the author of Say It!  Celebrating Expository Preaching in the African American Tradition (Moody Publishers), Where Are All the Brothers? Straight Answers to Men's’ Questions about the Church (Crossway), a commentary on Jonah in the Christ-Centered Exposition Series (B&H Publishers), and a study guide on Ephesians in the Knowing the Bible series (Crossway).

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