The norm is not this world. The norm is walking the path back toward Eden. The norm is still through Biblical Law, but in Christ we are granted self-death and faith before we start the long journey. That long journey must of necessity take us away from the things of this world, including all the culture and intellectual assumptions about reality. It means reshaping our assumptions about what is normal.
The Curse of the Fall is divine justice against our sinful nature. It is perfectly just that we be born into this fallen existence with all kinds of limitations, that we live a short miserable life, suffer a lingering painful and fearful death, and spend eternity under the wrath of our Creator. That some of this doesn’t happen to us may seem random, but it is mercy and God alone understands it. There is nothing about it that should make sense to us on a human level. We are cattle that God herds, clueless and lost.
We have within ourselves the capability of turning to a heart-led life. It is within reach of every human to do so, and it is demanded by God under every law covenant. For example, He says bluntly in the Law of Moses that He requires people to commit to Him from the heart. If someone does this, they are fully capable of reading between the lines of the law code to see the heart of God. Jesus said if you were committed to Him on that level, and committed to creating a genuine covenant atmosphere in your life among other humans, everything else in the Covenant was covered. This is the path back to Eden.
We are dealing with a paradox here. Western evangelicals in general, and American evangelicals in particular, have embraced the Pharisee’s logical trick of making the Spirit Realm spooky. By attempting to encompass all things under reason and logic, it destroys the mystical reverence that God demanded since ancient times. When the intellect attempts to analyze the Spirit Realm and pull it down into logic and reason, it destroys the power and beauty of divine justice. That sucks the life out of it. The mind regards the Spirit Realm is illogical and unreliable. It’s in our fallen nature to attempt reshaping things to make sense.
We then have this insane obsession among American evangelicals about “going to Heaven” and a perversion of what Christ meant by “born again.” It presumes upon God’s grace, as if a human method can obtain spiritual birth. This, when Paul has flatly said in Romans that this is not possible. Spiritual birth is entirely a matter of God’s initiative; we can’t even make ourselves want it.
There is no magic. The question of who gets to go to Heaven and live eternally is not really addressed in Scripture, except in veiled references. Understanding the Bible assumes you understand the mystical approach of ancient Hebrew thinking. The intellect cannot handle ultimate truth; only the heart can see such things. The heart can be at peace with God about eternity; the mind cannot. The fearful child’s voice of the flesh cannot be quieted, but the heart can reign in the human consciousness. The whole thing is handled in Scripture as a matter of seeking to be a child of God while in this fallen world, and stop worrying about something you can’t comprehend in the first place.
Otherwise, we have this holy fire insurance plan that excuses us from the labor of Biblical Law, the hard and narrow path of following Christ and digging into His covenant. That covenant says the only way you can find genuine peace with God is turning toward Him in your heart. It means embracing self-death and investing all your focus on pleasing Him. It doesn’t mean going on through your life merely as part of some religious cultural tribe and becoming yet another political pressure group.
The norm for Christians is accepting that the world is going to Hell and making no effort to save any part of it. Rather, we pursue an otherworldly agenda of connecting souls to eternity. In the process, we know that inevitably the Curse of the Fall will be ameliorated, because God promised such blessings. Sure, we can recommend that our human governments embrace the Covenant of Noah as a good starting place. We can recommend that human governments return to the tribal eastern feudal structure that is required in the law covenants. We can understand how all the law covenants in the Bible require we break up into small tribal communities. But we also know that God has warned us it won’t happen. So we are left to obey those expectations for ourselves in our churches, making sure they are organized like tiny tribal nations with feudal structures.
It’s normal to be at conflict with this world. It’s normal to turn away from what makes big money because no one wants to do business the way the Bible says it has to be done. The world will seldom make room for us to obey Christ when it blindly devises systems that ignore divine revelation. At the same time, we are called to infiltrate that world. So within our various individual divine callings, we each will compromise in ways that don’t contaminate our faith. We will recognize that certain issues simply don’t matter within our mission.
Unlike the Pharisees, we don’t measure God’s favor in terms of our material success in this infiltration. We aren’t at all surprised when the worldly system robs us of success. We aren’t looking for that kind of prosperity. Rather, it is normal when our prosperity comes from the natural world. Even if that fails, we don’t allow our minds to conclude that the heart-led way doesn’t work. Rather, the heart tells the mind that we have peace with God, we have been obedient, and that our adherence to the covenant is all the success we need.
We are in the world, not of it. We are here to shine eternal glory in how we win and lose, in what we pursue as important, and in how we face human losses as not that important.