On Behalf Of
Gay & Lesbian Christians
By: Rev. Charles Burnett-Morrow
For centuries organized religious institutions claiming to represent the Gospel of Jesus Christ have condemned, persecuted, and excluded Gay and Lesbian individuals from their ranks claiming that the Scriptures emphatically condemn homosexuality and those who practice it. There has been little movement on this position since the time of Christ to present. It matters little to most so called Christian theologians that in thirty three and a half years of life and three and a half years of carefully documented public ministry Jesus Christ himself never spoke a single word of condemnation for homosexuality or those within it's number.
Interestingly enough, the issue of divorce and remarriage found a clear voice in the Lord and in spite of His emphatic declarations relative to this matter, most churches have embraced hypocrisy and now fully receive into their membership and ministry men and women who have been divorced and remarried. The comments made by the Lord, which might be considered closest to any reference to homosexuality at all, were those in which He compared the fate or judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah to that of the religious hypocrite or hard hearted unbeliever. Those whom the Lord has most clearly condemned for their hypocritical nature have stood precariously in judgment over those whom the Lord Himself has said would have a better fate in the end than they.
HOMOSEXUALITY & THE LAW
There can be little doubt that certain homosexual activity was condemned within the framework of the Old Testament Leviticus or Mosaic law. Generally, however, the acts which were condemned under the law were specifically related to idolatry and pagan rituals relative to the worship of false gods and idols. Of course, along side this issue were many words of condemnation for a variety of heterosexual acts, as well as such acts as defrauding one’s neighbor in business, eating shell fish or scavenger fowl, and doing any form of labor on the Sabbath. The law was given by God to Moses for a singular purpose. Most religious zealots have ignored that purpose and leaped right into the very thing the law was trying to prevent - religiosity. The law was given so that man might fully examine himself in it's reflection and see that outside of divine intervention, in the form of a Savior, man was entirely incapable of living so perfect and sinless a life as to satisfy God's stringent standard for human perfection. The law was meant merely to humble us and cause us to look for a Savior. One who could accomplish for us what we were incapable of accomplishing. One whose substitutionary death would serve as the once and for all sacrifice that would fully satisfy God’s requirement for the shedding of blood that sin might be remitted.
The Jewish men of olden days mistook the purpose of the law and took it to be a book of rules and regulations that must be stringently followed if a man was to stand before God at all. When the Lord came, He brought to light the simple fact that for all their efforts, these religious men were, at best, only able to make themselves perfect in the sight of men, not God. While their external appearances were holy and sanctified, their inward parts resembled a dump swarming with flies and stinking with that acrid odor that can only be created by combining discarded human waste and the vicious heat of the middle east’s’ dessert sun. So, the spirit of religiosity has found a place in the hearts and lives of Christians even today as it has for centuries. Religion satisfies man’s penchant for rules and regulations in his never ending search for ways to make himself perfect and holy before God, without grace.
THE TRUTH ABOUT GRACE
When we fully come to understand the true purpose of the law, it is much easier to completely grasp the wonderful message and meaning of grace, which is the cornerstone of the Christian Gospel. God sent the man Jesus Christ forth into the world to live a life that we could never live, to die a death that we would never wish to experience, and to miraculously raise again from the dead so that we might stand before Him perfect- in spite of our human imperfections and frailties. Jesus Christ came to do that which we could not do. We can do nothing to earn this
wonderful New Testament salvation. God sent this Gospel to us in love. We cannot do anything to merit it’s coming our way, before or after we have been converted from unbelief to belief.
After conversion we are not somehow translated into a new world of sinless ness, but rather our once unbelieving heart is changed and our new motivation in life is faith in the Master governed by love and a desire to walk in His will. Hence, we strive to do good as a Christian because we have come to a place where we fully believe that God is real, Jesus Christ has become our salvation, and our love for God in response to all that He has done for us motivates us to reach out to a lost world with love and compassion emulating the very divine love that we have come to experience and know.
IS PERFECTION POSSIBLE?
Some might suggest at this point that I am trying to suggest that Christians then live in absence of any standards and that holy perfection is an abstract that will never be truly realized. Neither of these statements is true.
Christians most certainly do live by a godly standard. The Word of God teaches us that there are many wonderful attributes, which manifest themselves in the lives of Spirit-filled believers. These attributes manifest themselves in our lives in the form of godly fruit. The Bible says that saints will love. Love in our hearts for one another and the world around us then moves us to reach out with caring and compassion when we see another hurting, in distress, or in danger. Fruit is the byproduct of spiritual growth. No adherence to any system of religious rules and regulations can produce true righteousness and godly fruit. Only one’s attaining, retaining, and maintaining a consistent relationship with the Lord attain spirituality. If we become cut off from Him, we lose our ability to grow and become fruitless. God detests religiosity, but He loves spirituality.
The deeper the roots of a tree grow, the higher its branches will reach toward the heavens. Religion attempts to nurture the seedling upward so as to create a plant that is visually impressive. Spirituality is more concerned with the health of the seedling. It may remain visually small for quite some time, but that is far less important than whether or not its roots are still tunneling deep below the service so as to find and tap into a steady and nutritious water supply. Once the sapling has established a sufficient root system, you can bet it will grow high upward for the entire world to see.
The most common mistakes Christians make relative to the concept of Godly perfection pertain to these two areas;
1) When does God require it of us? 2) When will we actually arrive at that place where we will have achieved it? Firstly. Many people have run themselves spiritually ragged trying to pursue the proverbial "red herring” often referred to as "perfection” or "holiness." I have known individuals to commit suicide because they felt they were incapable of getting to where they had been told that God wanted them to be. The sad reality is they, like so many others in Christian circles today, were buying into a satanic ploy. The enemy loves for you to think that God requires so much of you that you can’t possibly do all He would ask. Millions of souls over the past millennium have given up their participation in the race out of frustration and discouragement. If only they had realized: 1) The Lord knows fully who you are and He knows every incident, every influence, and every physiological element that makes you who you are. 2) God only asks us to do the very best we can. And when our best isn’t quite good enough and we fall short in some way that is where His grace steps in and fills the gap. Three times the apostle Paul prayed that a "thorn in the flesh” might be removed from his life. The Lord’s final answer to Paul being what? "Paul, my grace is sufficient." In other words, even if there is an area in your life where the enemy thinks he has you fettered, if you’ll just continue in the faith and keep your fellowship with the Master, the grace of God will see you through in the end.
Secondly, the Bible teaches that the Holy Ghost is given to believers as a down payment (so to speak) on our salvation. We, as born again children of God, are put on "Lay-A-Way." Our hope and joy is in the knowledge that one day Jesus Christ will come to redeem us from this sinful old world where Satan rules and sin dominates. It is at that moment in time when all of God’s people will suddenly be changed from flesh and blood, sin susceptible creatures to glorified new creations, recreated in the very image of our glorified Savior. The issues relative to humanity as flesh and blood creatures will no longer bear any importance at all. Sexuality will not be an issue in heaven. Nor will starvation. Nor will sickness. Nor will pain. And no one will ever die there. The only thing separating those of us here on planet earth who will one day enjoy the pleasures of living there and those who will not is faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to His gospel.
Sin is something all human beings will live with throughout their lifetimes confined here to planet earth. BELIEVING and OBEYING the Gospel of Jesus Christ attain salvation. Straight or Gay, Lesbian, or Transgender, Black or White, Male or Female, Rich or poor - ANYONE who will believe this wonderful Gospel message can and will be saved. You needn’t be perfect for God to save you. You needn’t be perfect for Him to love you, commune with you, and desire for you to serve Him. You simply need to believe.