We were privileged to celebrate and witness the baptism of a very special little girl on Sunday. The minister was careful to note that baptism doesn’t guarantee she’ll grow into a Christian. And I can agree with that — there are plenty of very faithful parents who, despite their best efforts and prayerfulness, face the heartbreak of children who grow up to deny their Lord.
But it got me thinking… is it any more impossible for an adult to come to faith than it is for a little child? Is the miracle he works in an adult any less remarkable than if he saved an infant at baptism?
The minister also noted that this baptism was a sign of hope. But the hope we have is not a ‘maybe she’ll be saved’ kind of hope. We have a God who loves to save and I wonder if sometimes we are a little too ready to doubt just how secure our living hope really is.
‘Israel and Jesus’ has become something of a catch cry in post-liberal theology. I appreciate how it pushes back against the way much contemporary evangelicalism pits law and gospel against each other — which results in our difficulty knowing what significance to give God’s dealings with Israel (except as a foil for His unique achievement in Jesus).
The River Jordan where Jesus was baptised as the true Israelite (posted by amanderson2, on Flickr)
It can swing too far the other way though — sometimes the ‘and’ in Jesus and Israel is taken to imply so much continuity between the two that there’s little room left for Jesus to fulfil God’s promises to (and through) Israel.
In The Mediation of Christ (p 29), T. F. Torrance tries to capture the appropriate relationship between Israel and Jesus:
In this Jesus … the Jew in whom the Creator Word and man the creature, the God of the covenant and man the covenanted partner, are brought together, all the interaction of God with Israel throughout their history, and all the intensifying conflict of Israel with God, are brought to their supreme culmination, so that from the moment of his birth at Bethlehem the road ran straight to the crucifixion.
What do you reckon?