“When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” (Psalm 27:10)
The above verse of Scripture epitomizes biblical faith! Biblical faith is the firm belief, which is subsequently acted upon, that no matter what the sufferings, seen circumstances, sins, and betrayals in my life, I will cling to God and to His promises; love God; love others, even my enemies.
If anyone needs to understand biblical faith, it’s LGBT people, who have not only been demonized, but condemned by those who erroneously resort to the Bible to try to justify their ignorance and/or hatred. This is one reason why it’s so important for all Christians, particularly LGBT Christians, to understand biblical faith.
The word “faith,” as used in Scripture, is used both as a noun (pistis) and as a verb (pisteo). What is of interest here is that mere belief as denotes by the noun is not sufficient to tap into God’s grace, as the devil also believes in God.
What is imperative is that our faith-action follows our belief in God! This action requires courage and tenacity, particularly when times get tough, and sooner or later they always do get tough.
It’s easy to have and show faith when our lives are comfortable! It takes courage and tenacity to show our faith, pisteo, when seen circumstances in the natural scheme of things would seem to break us down.
In part, this is what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1Corinthians 1:18) “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1Corinthians 2:14)
If we are intent on staying in the “natural man” we only have faith in what is amenable to one or more of our natural senses. If we are in Christ, we recognize the truth of God’s promises to us, embodied in the verse of Scripture, “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” (2Corinthians 1:20)
So, when God promises to heal us we are confident of that spiritual fact, even though while on earth we may spend our lives in a wheelchair. We know that God doesn’t lie so we know that when we get to heaven there will be no more wheelchairs, or blindness, or mental illness, or any disease.
The write of Hebrews states, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) All of God’s heroes of faith, some of whom are mentioned in the eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews, were woefully inadequate in many ways, caught up in sin and frailty.
Yet they trusted God over and above the seen circumstances of their lives, even over and above their sins and sin-nature, and that is why they are God’s people. They stood in the gap for God. For example, Rahab was a prostitute, yet her faith in God saved her; David was a cowardly murderer and adulterer, yet he was also saved.
Our spirits are in Christ, yet our souls are housed in our “old man,” in Adam! Our sins and sin-nature do not determine the exercise of biblical faith! What exercises biblical faith is our tenacious recognition that God is sovereign in all things and people and we trust Him and His promises regardless of the ravages the world, the flesh, and the devil cause us to suffer. This recognition is a physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual acting out of love, compassion, mercy, and the embracing of our fellow man or woman; loving God by trusting Him and His sovereignty in all things in our lives and in this world as well as in the next world, the New Jerusalem.
The Apostle John wrote, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18) When John uses the term denoting faith the verb form is used. Although Paul uses both the noun and the verb forms for faith, he recognizes the importance of acting out our faith in manifesting “the fruit of the Spirit,” which is “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
The New Bible Dictionary (second edition) states, “Faith is clearly one of the most important concepts in the whole NT. Everywhere it is required and its importance insisted upon. Faith means abandoning all trust in one’s own resources. Faith means casting oneself unreservedly on the mercy of God in Christ, relying entirely on the finished work of Christ for salvation, and on the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God for daily strength. Faith implies complete reliance on God and full obedience to God.” (p. 368)
We are saved solely by God’s grace, mercy, that we appropriate through our unwavering faith (trust) in Him and in His many promises to us. He loves His LGBT children, just as much as he loves his Straight children, and there is nothing in Scripture that contradicts that assertion, that fact!
So many LGBT people have turned their backs on the Bible, on Christianity, and even on God because they have spent too much time listening to, and believing, the ignorant haters who happen to wear clerical collars. The Bible not only doesn’t justify such hatred, but also condemns it, and condemns all those who ‘bear false witness” (a violation of one of the Ten Commandments) against others.
Besides, if being LGBT was a considered a sin, don’t you think that it would have been mentioned in the Ten Commandments? Moreover, the prophets never talked about it, and Jesus never condemned it. If being LGBT was so important, it is inconceivable that it wouldn’t have been mentioned in at least one of these contexts.
Unlike the popular stereotype, Christians are not wimps! It takes guts to have faith in Someone we have never seen, Whose promises may not be realized while we inhabit the earth, particularly when much of the world views us as superstitious, weak fools. The only way we plug into God’s grace is through our acting out our love for Him by constantly trusting Him and His promises and showing forth our compassion to others, trusting that He will never leave us or forsake us. (Genesis 28:15; Hebrews 13:5)
It is a crying shame that more LGBT people don’t recognize the inestimable gift that God has given us, and it’s up to us, those who understand God’s grace, and the context of Scripture particularly as it applies to God’s LGBT children, to convey the truth to those who are ignorant of God’s inestimably wonderful gift to all those whom He has chosen from the foundation of the world. (Ephesians 1:4)
This trust in God’s grace; this faith in God’s love for LGBT and Straight people; this communication to LGBT and Straight people that being LGBT is definitely not a sin, and that God loves them, is a signal sign of faith without which is it impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6)
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.