“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
— Ephesians 2:8-9
The above two verses of Scripture make it crystal clear that our faith in Christ plugs us into God’s grace by which we are saved from the wrath of God. The blood of Jesus cleanses us of all past, present, and future sins and all we have to do to appropriate God’s unmerited favor to us is to implacably trust God.
Faith is not mere belief! Faith is hanging our very lives on God and God’s Word, despite seen circumstances. Hence, faith is an act of courage where the promises of God and God’s sovereignty trump life’s trials and the many seductions of this world.
Dr. Gene Scott has the best operational definition of faith that I have seen. He says that faith is action, based upon belief in God and the truth of God’s Word, sustained by confidence that when God promises something God will keep that promise. 2 Corinthians 1:20 says “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen unto the glory of God by us.” That is, every promise contained in Scripture is embodied in Jesus and through our implacable, moment-by-moment trust in Him we are free to appropriate all of those promises.
Faith is comprised by acting on God’s promises even when seen circumstances seem to refute those promises. For example, the father of our faith, Abraham, was promised the land of Canaan even when other peoples were occupying that land. God told him that he was to possess the land when seen circumstances refuted that promise.
Yet Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness. Abraham didn’t merely have an intellectual belief that the land was his, but acted on God’s promise by setting up altars to God and walking the length and breadth of that land. He trusted God and God’s Word more than what he saw!
The only action that is important in the life of the Christian is what we do for God! Sexual orientation is irrelevant in this matter unless it, like all seductions of this world, becomes one’s god. Do we worship the creature more than the Creator? That is the acid test of the Christian!
Faith that pleases God has God front and center in our lives, and everything else, such as family, friends, sexual orientation, power, prestige, wealth, and influence play second fiddle to God’s call on our lives. I believe that God has chosen God’s LGBT children to bring light to a corrupt world in a very unique way.
God is using God’s children to preach freedom and liberation from the stultifying aspects of much of the religious world that calls itself “Christian.” God’s LGBT children are forward observers in the battle for the heart and mind of the Church-the ecclesia, those called out by God to be God’s own possession.
Much of religion majors in the minors! By seeking to ferret out what some consider to be sin they omit Jesus’ admonition to not judge other people. Unfortunately, much of Christianity has been historically homophobic and has done much to create a climate of hate in secular society resulting in gay bashing and killing, and gay youth suicide, the rate of which is three times that of non-gay youth suicide. And all of this verbal gay bashing is done in the name of the Prince of Peace who is our Propitiatory, our Kinsman-Redeemer, the great Reconciler, who merely asks us to trust Him.
All of God’s children have been chosen by God before the worlds were formed (Ephesians 1:4); God knew what we would be like and who would be gay. As the old Sunday School theme says, “God doesn’t make junk.” The task of the GLBT Christian is to trust in God’s sovereign choice of him or her as God’s child and seek God’s call on his or her life and then act on that call.
Acting on that call, that ministry, that mission is biblical faith! It’s easy to become self-absorbed wondering whether God has chosen us. Suffice it to say, you wouldn’t be reading this on-line magazine if God didn’t call you out from the world to be God’s own possession. It shouldn’t be forgotten that Christianity is foolishness to much of the world!
Faith in God yields over time a transformation in our lives-a yieldedness and humility before God and forgiveness of others and ourselves for their “differentnesses.” LGBT people chosen by God to be members of God’s Church show forth the faith that pleases God by acting on the truism of the verses of Scripture that precede this article.
In God’s scheme of things our faith trumps our actions; our actions are mere outgrowths of God’s working in us to do God’s will on this earth to, in the words of St. Augustine, make earth a colony of heaven. I believe that the faith of LGBT Christians frequently exceed the faith of straight people in that God’s gay children still trust God despite the negative messages that have come from much of the Church world concerning homosexuality. To trust God despite these historically destructive messages is a sure sign that one has been chosen by God and no human being can shake him or her loose from the grip of the “hound of heaven.”
Every one of the heroes of faith in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews was fallible! Yet, what distinguished them from others was their trust in God’s call on their lives. They trusted God more than they trusted what they saw in this world. They acted on their faith by heeding God’s call and fulfilling their ministry to the frequently bitter end.
They were frequently called upon to suffer horribly for the faith, yet they persevered in trusting God over and above seen circumstances. LGBT people are to do no less even though they are persecuted by much of the Church world who parade their ignorance in the form of Godliness.
Scripture reminds us that it is only through faith that we can appropriate God’s grace (Romans 5:2) and that “faith” is the byword of the Christian life. Implacable trust in God, despite life-circumstances, sufferings, and the blandishments of this world is the faith that God demands of God’s children.
Without this kind of faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6) GLBT Christians put the lie to homophobic religion and show forth the face of Christ, an act of courageous faith, with which God is abundantly pleased.
Rev. Dr. Jerry S. Maneker, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at California State University, Chico, served as an ordained priest in the Congregational Catholic Church, a division of the Independent Catholic Churches International (ICCI). For many years he published a weekly column in the Sacramento Valley Mirror titled “Christianity and Society,” where he dealt with a variety of social issues from a biblical and sociological perspective. Maneker also published a blog called “A Christian Voice for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Rights” and the website Radical Christianity.