First Thoughts

Author: Richard Lucas

Is God in Control of Suffering?

When suffering comes into our lives, whatever form it takes, we can often respond by wondering, “where is God?” We often question that if God is good, why does he allow this difficulty to come into our lives? Or we respond the other way; we question if our good God is really in control. If God was in control, there’s no way that he would permit painful suffering in our lives. In our last post, we saw two truths about suffering from the opening chapters of the book of Job. Those chapters teach that even though suffering is Satan’s attempt to destroy our faith in God, we also learn that this same suffering is also God’s purpose to strengthen our faith in God. Satan uses suffering for his evil purposes, but God uses suffering for His good purposes in our lives. In order for us to trust God...

Continue reading

Trusting God Through Suffering

Suffering comes into our lives in many different forms. The difficult loss of a loved one, especially a spouse or child. Debilitating and chronic physical pain. Financial strain from losing a job, bankrupting a business, or making a terrible investment. Relational strain from an estranged family member or former friend. We also face cancer diagnoses and natural disasters, not to mention any hostility or outright persecution for simply being a Christian. Suffering is inescapable this side of heaven. The goal is not to avoid all suffering (as if that was possible) but to be prepared for suffering. The Bible calls us to trust God through our suffering and provides us the message of Job to help teach us that lesson. Job’s Suffering The opening two chapters of the book of Job describe the horrible...

Continue reading

Why Do Baptists Baptize? (Part 2)

Baptists are thankful for our rich and deep heritage. But sometimes, even in Baptist churches, people can be confused as to why we baptize. In this post, I am describing three reasons that people often think are the reasons that Baptists baptize but are actually not. 1. Not Because Baptism Is Required for Salvation  This is a vitally important clarification to make. Baptists obviously think that baptism is very important; it’s in our name, after all. However, we want to be crystal clear that we do not believe that baptism is required for salvation. Sadly, many even in Baptist churches are confused about this. I do not think it’s because they were directly taught it, but somehow they have picked up this doctrinal confusion. I have interacted with many children who have expressed a desire...

Continue reading

Why Do Baptists Baptize? (Part 1)

Christ has given to his church two ordinances to be continually practiced by his people in the church, baptism and the Lord’s Supper. In some cases, these ordinances have become traditions, rites, and ceremonial practices that we might have forgotten the reason why we do them. In this first post, I will share three positive reasons to answer the question, why do Baptists baptize? For these three reasons, I want to discuss how baptism should be done, who should get baptized, and what baptism is. These will address the mode, subjects, and meaning of baptism for Baptists. 1. Because Baptism Means Immersion This first reason gets at the mode of baptism; that is how we baptize. Why do we baptize the way that we baptize? In the Gospels, we can look at the baptisms performed by John the Baptist...

Continue reading