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I am a creature of habit—or maybe a creature of routine? And while that might sound odd for those of you who know me well, I can explain. I like to wake up, skip breakfast, have a mid-morning coffee, eat a late lunch (combined with a trip to the gym), then eat a big dinner. I like to do work in large chunks, not broken up over the course of the day. I like to complete projects as quickly and efficiently as possible. And, I don’t like it when my routine is thrown off. Of course, this is probably the same for many of you as well—in fact, this may be “normal.” But just because something is normal, it doesn’t mean its proper. Allow me to explain.

Just because something normally operates in a certain way, does not mean that it is the proper way for that “something” to function. A garage door that squeals like the melting witch from “The Wizard of Oz” at every opening and closing, while normal, does not mean it is functioning properly. While everyone setting their cruise control at 7MPH over the speed limit may be normal, its not proper. A two year old who steals a toy from another child at daycare is acting normal, but not proper. And it is in this last example where the we can really see the crux of the issue: lives of sin are normal, but not proper. 

When God created man in his own image, in his own likeness, and commanded him to rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and everything that walked or crawled upon the face of the earth. In other words, man was put in a position of authority over creation as God’s vice-regent. However, when the serpent arrives and tempts Adam and Eve into eating the forbidden fruit, the created order was reversed: No longer was man ruling over the animals, but he was obeying one of the animals. He no longer worshiped the Creator, but set himself in subjection to the creature. And this disobedience upended the roles and responsibilities of man as vice-regent of the Creator. 

The result, amongst many things, can be described with the phrase "proper function." Man’s function, his purpose, was to bring glory to God as the pinnacle of His creation. Instead, man disobeyed and brought sin into the world. Thus mankind will always struggle to function in his proper capacity—as righteous regents for their Creator. This means that mankind functions normally in sinful ways and capacities, but not necessarily properly. This may seem obvious, but I don’t believe it always is.

One of the oldest historical heresies of the church is what we call “Antinomianism,” which esentially means “no moral law.” This is the belief that Christians are released by grace from the obligation of observing the moral law. In other words, God’s grace and mercy, through the work of Jesus Christ, has freed the Christian from obeying God’s commands. But as Paul exclaims,“may this never be!” 

Unfortunately, many who claim Christ—while maybe not intellectually—practically live lives that hold to the Antinomian philosophical heresy. When this happens, they become content to function in this world normally—squealing hinges and all. But, the call of the Christian in this post-fall world is not to function normally, but properly. We are to be in the world, but not of it (John 17:16); not conformed to the worlds “normal,” but transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2); to have faith that bears fruit (James 2:17); and to be strangers to this world (1 Peter 2:11). In short, in the life of the Christian, what is normal is not proper, and what is proper will not be understood as normal. 

Church, resist the urge to live as is normal to this world--seek instead to live properly, as someone bought and redeemed by the blood of Christ, recipients of his righteousness, imitators of our Lord and Savior. While we will never be perfect, we are called to "function" as close to our created ideal as possible out of hearts of thanksgiving for God's mercy and grace!