"Grace Works For Us Too!"
By: Rev. Charles Burnett-Morrow
All I heard while growing up as a kid was that salvation was attained through faith in Jesus Christ. One must believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary and rose again on the third day so that we might be saved from sin. Apparently, this truth applies to all but the homosexual. In spite of the fact that many Gay-Lesbian people embrace this truth by faith, they remain lost, according to so many, because of the fact that they are Gay or Lesbian. If only they were or had been born heterosexual, THEN they could have easily been saved. Foolishness! I have believed this wonderful message since I was a child, and my being Gay has not changed that fact one bit! The same stands true for millions of Gay people the world over.
I have seen this absurd contradiction all my life. I remember, even as a young man, called to preach at the age of 8, that I had a problem with the notion that God’s simple plan of salvation applied to some but not to others. You see, the fundamental problem with this “selective salvation” teaching is that it assumes that one’s sexual orientation is enough an issue to prevent them access to God’s love and grace. It also assumes that believers are somehow made perfect, and somewhat extra-human, after they have been converted from unbelief to faith. This notion is erroneous and idiotic. Faith in Christ does not make one perfect, it puts us on the role so that one day we might be perfected!
I hate to see Gay-Lesbian people roped into the false notion that grace does not apply to them “as long as they remain in their sinful lifestyle.” The Lord Jesus Christ Himself clearly taught that divorce was a man-made device that had no part in God’s original plan for humanity, from the very beginning, yet what churches today tell divorced people that they cannot be saved as long as they have been divorced? EVERYONE alive remains in sin, so long as they have breath in their body and are subject to earth’s gravity. What we become immune to are the penalties and jurisdiction of sin, by faith in Christ. It’s not that we no longer live with sin, but like a foreign diplomat in his host country, we are not subject to the laws of that country, but rather to the laws of our own! That is a fact. Even the apostle Paul acknowledged this reality.
14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
If sin, according to the Bible, is defined as the “transgression of the law”
1 John 3:4
Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
...and for one to be guilty of one transgression of that law is the same as being guilty of transgressing all the law,
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
…then the sad reality is, we cannot ever fully satisfy the law in total, regardless of who we are or how holy we perceive ourselves. This then is why the Word of God clearly states that “all our righteousness is as filthy rags.” Our best efforts don’t even begin to amount to the least possible effort in the eyes of God.
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Many Christians have deceived themselves into believing that they are somehow perfect. They have allowed themselves to believe that their heterosexuality alone puts them in a better standing before the Lord then their Gay or Lesbian neighbor. This is nothing short of absolute deceit! No one stands before God perfect, before or after conversion! No one is capable of earning salvation, before or after conversion. No one is fully able to live above the influence of sin. It is not possible. But what faith and obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ does do for humanity is this - It allows us to stand perfect and holy before God today in anticipation of the day when we shall do so in reality, after our very nature has been changed and we appear before the Lord recreated in His likeness, according to man’s original design.
As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.
1 John 3:2
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
Thankfully, while we do not yet appear as we shall one day appear, our loving Heavenly Father looks upon us as though we did. He sees in us that which He Himself has promised to make us. Because His Word cannot possibly fail, and He has promised us, if we will walk in faith and obedience to His plan of salvation, that we shall one day be made to look just like Him. And today, because of our faith, He already sees us in that light and not in the context of the sinful, failing, frail human creatures that we are.
I know the struggle of going back-and-forth, trying to satisfy family and the church. I have been down that road where one tries so hard to not be Gay, even going so far as to marry a woman. But as I try to tell Gay-Lesbian believers all the time, “IF YOU THINK THAT YOUR BECOMING STRAIGHT IS SUDDENLY GOING TO THRUST YOU INTO THE REALMS OF PERFECTION, ACCEPTANCE, AND APPROVAL WITHIN THE CHRISTIAN WORLD - YOU ARE SO VERY WRONG!” The truth is, many Gay-Lesbian people try so hard to do this in an effort to win the church’s or their family’s approval, only to find in the end that the church still is not satisfied with them. The preacher is still preaching their unworthiness. The church is still inventing new rules, regulations, and standards that they must yet arise to meet. So in the end, they finally realize that their self-loathing and inability to understand and accept God’s grace for them as gay-lesbian believers is only a small part of the overall problem. That problem being, a failure on the part of God’s church to fully and truthfully understand and apply the truths of love and grace! Many will then become so discouraged and despondent that they will simply stop trying to even serve the Lord at all. But the sad part of this story is, it was not at all necessary that they even go down that road to begin with!
There is not a heterosexual Christian on this planet who does not recognize that they have sin and issues within their own lives which they cannot change, no matter how hard they try. And these same Christians will come to the place where they reconcile their faith with their humanity, and learn to accept the grace of God for themselves. But, they do not want to extend this same courtesy to the Gay-Lesbian believer! For one thing, looking at the issue of homosexuality as this huge sin and horrendous transgression helps to reduce the size and scope of their sin, at least in their own feeble eyes. The worse they allow Gay-Lesbian people to appear in their eyes, the better they appear in their own site, even with their faults, failures, weaknesses, and sins. So the Gay-Lesbian population becomes a tool whereby they are able to reduce their own failings and elevate themselves, by putting the other down!
Dear reader; the requirements for salvation are applicable to one and all. There are no exceptions. If you can believe the message of the Gospel and have the faith to obey it’s simple mandate, you can be saved. Who you are is not an issue with God. What you believe is!