Can a gay person be Christian? How about a transgender, or anyone else drawn to or identifying with a non traditional gender? Questions like these are some of today’s lightning rod issues, frequently alienating younger generations who see rigid interpretations as exclusionary and unyielding. Yet what God says is so much more than the binary interpretation we tend to attribute to Him, so understanding God’s heart—and vision on this matter—is essential if we want to be whole.
“There is no judgment against anyone who believes in Him. But anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:18 NLT)
God—not Christianity, but God Himself—divides humanity into two camps: those who believe what He says and trust in Him explicitly, and those who doubt. Doubt what? Any of a number of things—that He exists, that He is who He reveals Himself to be, that He is capable of bringing about whatever He chooses, that He loved humanity so much as to live and die for us so we can be in right standing before Him. Most of all, that He is fully capable of taking me—with whatever misery, disfunction and pain I have—and healing me; making me forgiven, accepted, and complete as a human being, in Christ. How? Through the activity of the Holy Spirit in us as we trust less in ourselves and more in Him and His ability to accomplish His plan in and through us. But we have to believe Him; we have to trust Him explicitly.
“But without faith no one can please God. We must believe that God is real and rewards everyone who searches for him.” (Hebrews 11:6 CEV)
So these questions are a red herring; they distract and divide. The question is not, “Does God accept me?” It is, “Do I accept Him?” More specifically, do I believe that He is who He says He is and really has the power to do everything He says He will? Because it is my response to God that places me in one camp or the other. God does not exclude anyone; He accepts all who do not reject Him—who believe Him:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:16-18 NIV)
And: “…God our Savior…wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3-4 NIV)
And if I believe He exists, that He is who He says He is, that He is powerful enough to heal me, and that He loves me enough to do so—then I will remain in Him; I’ll keep close to Him and others who believe Him so I can learn and grow and become the man or woman God means me to be.
So, can a gay person be a Christian? Can they come to Christ? How about a transgender, or anyone else drawn to or identifying with a non traditional gender? Yes, they can, but the real question is what is more important to you—Christ in you, the hope of glory, or anything else; any other identification that conflicts with God’s work in you and threatens to become an idol in your life—because we must not only trust Him; we must trust Him completely. God accepts us, but we have to continue to trust Him, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6 NIV)
Where God is concerned, there are two groups of people, but it isn’t straight people whom He loves, and gay and trans people whom He hates; it is those who believe God—that He’s everything He says He is and is fully capable of accomplishing everything in us He promises—and those who don’t believe Him. It’s not something we cannot change or are born into; it’s something we make a conscious decision about, by choosing to trust the goodness of God through Jesus—by believing.
Without Him, we’re all broken and damaged and forever remain so because we can’t self-generate our own healing. Jesus, however, is life; He is healing; He is goodness and love and ultimate acceptance. He restores us to a position of living with God in this life and after it; He gives us an existence that transcends death!
“After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.’”) John 17:1-5 NIV) (prayed right before Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion)
Dear Lord Jesus; my Lord and my God; Heal me! Amen.