Romans 5: Paul is moving on from the fundamental truths of what happens in and to the Believer to the question of what happens next, how we grow and mature. The question is whether this whole way of living simply by faith will work. There are two ways of being hit in the head, with not much difference in the result. We either see it coming and wince, or we are sucker-punched.
We immediately have peace with God, access to God and the hope of glory. These fit us for heaven but it is our duty and calling to live the Christian way on earth.
The use of hardship as a tool to the Christian is much like war to a soldier. From reading a stack of books over a long period of time I know that professional soldiers are not war-junkies. Their eyes are fully open to the horrors of war and what it can do to themselves and their brothers and yet they are alive with excitement when they’re called upon to deploy.
Every soldier engages with discipline to prepare himself and the only way he can know if he is what he thinks he is, is to test himself in combat. Will he pass the test? Will he thrive as a soldier in battle? It’s the same for the Believer.
I realise the implications of what I’m saying: People have been hammered by circumstances, some are going through a spiritual battle even now. I do not relish the idea of hardship, which I suppose makes me a below-par Christian. I was thinking a lot about the thesis in the Marvel Cinematic Universe about the baddie, Thanos, and his Malthusian notion that the universe is overpopulated and needs culling. To achieve the balance, he sets out to acquire the infinity gauntlet with the applicable stones and snap half the universe out of existence. Our heavenly Father has created and refuses to uncreate. Nobody is phased out of existence and His goal is not balance (which is sufficient as a comic-book level motivation but that’s about all) but salvation and thereafter maturity.
For all men to be saved.
For all saved men to be mature.
And it’s in the service of both of these outcomes that God uses suffering. I wish there were another way, but it’s His wisdom, His prerogative and the best that I can do is let my wounds make me a better soldier, a sharper instrument.
“Cling to Him
Even if He allowed you to be wounded
Even if He wounded you”