Recently I read a work of fiction. One line really captured my attention. A wife talked to her father (a preacher) about her husband. Fearful and concerned, she expressed her anxiety. Her father replied by saying, Just because God saved him does not mean God is not still performing surgery on him.
There is a tendency among too many to look at baptism as the completion of our covenant with God rather than the beginning of our covenant with God. We forget Paul wrote to Christians in Ephesians (Ephesians 1:1). So for Christians, Paul prayed that they would be filled up to all the fullness of God. Or, in Peters words, Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord (1 Peter 2:1-3).
At creation, people were sinless. They lived in purity and innocence with voice-to-voice contact with God (Genesis 3:8). As long as they were sinless, they were not terrified of direct contact with God. Only when the power of choice was used to rebel against Gods wishes and instructions were they terrified of God.
There again will come a situation in which people will live in Gods presence without terror--in Heaven. In a real way, existence in Heaven will only restore a relationship between God and people that existed when God created people.
However, the current reality: we all exist in a world of good and evil, living lives that are a strange mixture of good and evil. Only by Gods grace and mercy expressed in His forgiveness can we escape the consequences of our evil. Thus, from the time God was the All in All until the situation when He again is the All in All, God has much to do (with our cooperation).
In a real way, the immersion of a penitent believer is signing the consent form that knowingly, willingly permits God to do surgery as He cuts away the evil rebellion from our lives. God wants us to be all we can be spiritually. What we look like at baptism and what we look like after years of development in Christ scarcely resemble each other. Gods surgery makes us better. Only to a sinful world are we hideous.
As we exist in a world of good and evil, nothing Satan does destroys us. Causes us suffering? Yes! Destroys us? No! And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
Link to other Writings of David Chadwell