|Can LGBTQ People be True Christians?
Today's blog is presented by NHE's Pastor-Teacher Ron Browning...
Let’s begin by asking a different question first. What makes any person a true Christian? Or we could ask it like this: How do sinners become saints (Christians)?
And the answer is: God rescues the sinner from their sins when the sinner obeys Jesus’ command to repent and believe (Mark 1:15). As Holy Spirit baths, all whom Father God has given to His Son, Jesus, in salvation (John 6:37), with a repentance that ignites the sinner’s heart with a Life of saving faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 11:18; Romans 1:17).
Pastor Paul wrote:
This gospel unveils a continual revelation of God’s righteousness—a perfect righteousness given to us when we believe. And it moves us from receiving Life through faith, to the power of living by faith (Romans 1:17, the Passion).
Pastor John wrote:
Whoever has the Son has eternal Life; whoever does not have the Son does not possess eternal Life.
And we know that the Son of God has made our understanding come alive so that we can know by experience the One who is true. And we are in Him who is true, God’s Son, Jesus Christ—the true God and eternal Life! So, little children, guard yourselves from worshiping anything but Him.
(1 John 5:12, 20-21 the Passion, emphasis mine).
WHAT IS CHRISTIANITY?
You see, Christianity isn’t just an intellectual decision. It’s a heart change, a passion (1 Peter 1:3-9). Requiring both God’s heart and ours (Philippians 2:13). It’s the exchange of one condition for another—our sin for God’s righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). God’s part. It’s a gift we could never earn or achieve (Ephesians 2:8-10). Because God’s gift of salvation can only be received (John 1:12) by faith, as God works repentance into our hearts. Our part. Consider—
I (Pastor Paul) refuse to be ashamed of the wonderful message (i.e., the Gospel)
of God’s liberating power unleashed in us through Christ!
For I am thrilled to preach that everyone who believes is saved…
This Gospel unveils a continual revelation of God’s righteousness—
a perfect righteousness given to us when we believe.
And it moves us from receiving Life through faith, to the power of living by faith.
This is what the Scripture means when it says: “We are right with God through Life-giving faith!”
(Romans 1:16-17, the Passion, emphasis mine)
When they heard this, their objections were put to rest
and they all glorified God, saying, “Look what God has done!
He’s giving the gift of repentance that leads to Life to people (everywhere).”
(Acts 11:18, the Passion, emphasis mine)
THE STRUGGLE OF SEXUAL BROKENNESS
Many people struggle with different types of sexual and relational brokennesses. The unsaved and the saved alike. Homosexuality being just one. But this struggle or behavior (i.e., tempting and/or acting out), doesn’t keep one from knowing Jesus and having eternal Life. For when a God-given repentance ignites the human heart with a Life of saving faith in Jesus Christ, that person is passed from death into Life (John 5:24). And that heart—spirit and soul—is saved, now and forever! Which means the body awaits its guaranteed salvation at Jesus’ Glorious Appearing (Romans 8:23). Maranatha! Lord, come quickly (Revelation 22:12).
True Christians eagerly await, with a faith working out God’s purpose in our lives (Philippians 1:6; 2:12-13). And since sexual brokenness (e.g., homosexuality) isn’t a part of His purpose—i.e., God’s created intent—it’s sinful. Holy Spirit is always working out Father God’s perfect design in us. How?
In and through a repentance that leads to Life lived by faith. In other words, we live repenting of (i.e., turning away from) sinning. Believing God and His Word. We trust and obey, exchanging the lies of sexual sin for true worship of Creator God. That’s what true Christians want to do. That’s what we are learning how to do.
So yes, CHRISTIANS MAY STRUGGLE with (and we may fall to) various sexual sins that have shattered our souls—i.e., disordered our thinking, destroyed our choices, and damaged our emotions with the brokennesses of heterosexuality, homosexuality, etc. Played out in sexting, SMS, one-night stands, affairs, etc. Including the desires for and the illegal acts of prostitution, pedophilia, hebephilia, ephebophilia, and gerontophilia, etc. Humanity (the unsaved and saved alike) struggles with porneia (i.e., sexual immorality).
But God has EXCHANGED OUR SIN FOR JESUS’ RIGHTEOUS LIFE—HIS PURE LIFE (1 John 3:1-3). So, we’re learning to live repenting of sins and sinning. Overcoming sin’s many hunts, haunts, and habits. By trusting God and His Word (1 John 2:12-14), pursuing the:
And we know that the Son of God has made our understanding come alive
So that we can know by experience the One who is true.
And we are in Him who is true, God’s Son, Jesus Christ—
the true God and eternal Life!
So, little children, guard yourselves from worshiping anything but Him.
(1 John 5:20-21, the Passion, emphasis mine).
Live Free coz' U r Free!
|An Invite To My Story
Today, I want to share my story. My journey out of the miseries of sexual and relational brokenness into the joys of living from God’s Life—Jesus' righteous Life of purity and faithfulness. Learning how to exchange both the pleasures and the pains of sexual and relational sinning—the selfish addictions of self-worship—the self-centered and self-absorbed mindset—the self-defeating and self-crushing emotions. Exchanging sin’s hunts, haunts, and habits for Jesus’ Life of grace and truth. Set free to trust and obey. Set free to worship the true and Eternal Life—Jesus Christ—instead of me, myself, and I.
Learning to embrace Jesus as my sovereign Lord, forgiving Lamb, and saving Life. Growing to experience Him as my rescuing Liberator, all-wise Leader, and Light-Source of Grace & Truth. So, I may enjoy Jesus as the perfect Lover of my Soul, now and forever!
I founded NewHeart Expressions as a platform to disciple broken men like myself. Those whom God has granted, is granting, or will grant a repentance that ignites a Life of saving faith within. Those who heart’s desire is for an alternative to porneia—to sexual immorality—to any and all types of sexual activity, outside God’s boundaries of covenant marriage between one man and one woman.
Over the last twenty plus years of living in freedom. Of learning to live from Jesus’ Life of purity and faithfulness within. God has granted me the wisdom needed to disciple other sexually and relationally broken men, with the grace and truth of God’s Word. FindTrueIdentity.com is designed to challenge you to discover your true identity and freedom in Christ, and the sexual and relational wholeness He brings to our lives. Why? We are broken people, in need of His help and healing.
It would be my privilege to share with you:
Born Gay or Not!?
a testimony of Jesus’ Life living in and through ron browning
Live Free coz’ U r Free!
|The Power of Living by Faith
In our first blog we asked: What is true freedom? What is significant and lasting freedom? What does it mean to Live Free coz’ U r Free? If you remember, a two-fold answer was given. One for the unsaved; another for the saved.
Clearly the unsaved cannot live in God’s freedom. No matter how good or how right they live their lives. It’s impossible for an unsaved person to live in true freedom. Why? Simple.
Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek him (Hebrews 11:6). For those of us who believe, faith activates the promise and we experience the realm of (God's) confident rest (true freedom)!
So, we see that a person who isn’t God’s child cannot please God, because of their lack of saving faith (Hebrews 3:19). Thus, they cannot experience true rest and freedom in Christ. Including rest and freedom from sexual sins and brokenness.
Knowing this, if you haven't heeded Jesus' invitation to repent and believe. I urge to do so NOW! For we begin to experience God's salvation when repentance ignites our hearts with a Life of saving faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 11:18).
The kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel (Mark 1:15)... In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it... (And) to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God... The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of Grace and Truth... For the law was given through Moses; Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:1-4, 12, 14, 17).
The Unsaved Experience
First, all people are born SIN, unrepentant and without saving faith. Born unsaved... into the fallen and broken condition of the human heart that plagues every one of us from birth.
There is no one who always does what is right, no, not even one! There is no one with true spiritual insight, and there is no one who seeks after God alone. All have deliberately wandered from God’s ways. All have become depraved and unfit. Kindness has disappeared from them all, not even one is good (Romans 3:13-9-12, CEV). The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9, ESV)...
Second, God identifies each unsaved person by our sins (e.g., as a liar, a thief, the sexually broken, etc.). Sins that consume our lives from the sinner’s deceitful and sin-sick heart, producing all kinds of sin-filled behaviors.
Their words are like an open pit, and their tongues are good only for telling lies. Each word is as deadly
as the fangs of a snake, and they say nothing but bitter curses. These people quickly become violent. Wherever they go, they leave ruin and destruction (Romans 3:13-16, CEV). Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, ESV)... and—
Third, the unsaved are destined to continue sinning all their days and throughout Eternity. With an eternal and unquenchable fire of passion for disobedience that hunts, haunts, and habits the unsaved forever.
They don’t know how to live in peace. They don’t even fear God (Romans 3:16-18, 23); ...mired in that old stagnant life of sin... (letting) the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell (us) how to live... (filling our) lungs with polluted unbelief, and then (exhaling) disobedience; ...all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat (Ephesians 2:1-3); ...stupid and stubborn, easy marks for sin, ordered every which way by our glands, going around with a chip on our shoulder, hated and hating back (Titus 3:3)... (so) it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment (Hebrews 9:27).
Unless… … …
The Saved Experience
Unless... God reaches down and captures a sinner by grace, and through faith that sinner is rescued from sin-and-death, from God’s wrath of sin, sins, and sinning. Made alive with Jesus’ righteous Life. Given a new and responsive heart to learn how to live by faith—saving faith—obedient faith.
Our Sovereign God says:
Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. AND I WILL GIVE YOU A NEW HEART, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you A TENDER, RESPONSIVE HEART. And I will put my Spirit in you SO THAT YOU WILL FOLLOW… AND BE CAREFUL TO OBEY... (Ezekiel 36:25-27, NLT, emphasis mine).
You see, the Christian Life isn’t just about escaping an eternal hell, though that is God’s glorious promise to all who repent and believe. Rather, the Christian Life is about relationship. A relationship with Jesus that produces a Life of obedient faith. A journey of getting to know and growing in intimacy with Jesus as our sovereign Lord, forgiving Lamb, and saving Life... as our rescuing Liberator, all-wise Leader, and Light-Source of Grace & Truth... as the perfect Lover of our souls!
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
When true repentance ignites our hearts with the saving faith of Jesus’ Life, we begin a journey of transformation that God promises to complete (Philippians 1:6). In Ephesians 1, Pastor Paul teaches us what this salvation looks like.
- Father God has saved us from sin, through the sacrifice of His Son. He CHOOSE us to be family, and GAVE us as family to His Son. That's God's exchanging our nature to sin for His Son's divine nature for right living (v3-6; 2 Peter 1:3-5; Rev. 19:7-9; 21:2)…
- Jesus, God’s Son, has saved us from our sins… the sins that once identified us… that’s God’s REDEMPTION—FORGIVENESS & LIFE (v7-12; Colossians 1:13-14; 2:13-14; 3:1-4)…and—
- Holy Spirit of God is saving us, day by day, from sinning… saving us from the sins we think, choose, and feel (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; Hebrews 4:12) …that’s God TRANSFORMATION—conforming us into the image of Jesus Christ (v13-14, 15-23; Romans 8-26-30) …
God’s great salvation of a NewHeart, of a New Life is received and lived by faith in and from Jesus' Life. And what does this faith look like?
The Bible provides the simplest definition in the first half of Romans 6. Pastor Paul begins with a practical view of faith. We are to KNOW (v6-7) God’s truth about God and others, about ourselves and our struggles. Then we are to RECKON (10)—i.e., take possession of—God’s truth as true about God and others, about ourselves and our struggles. Then once we know and reckon God’s truth as true, we are empowered to YIELD all our body parts—inside-and-out—to God’s truth; so, we can WALK out God’s truth in our day to day lives. In other words:
Faith thinks it, chooses it, and feels it; so we can live it.
The second half of Romans 6 describes this faith as the key to freedom and obedience. By comparing how non-Christians live under law and in the hell of disobedience, with how Christians live by faith in the freedoms and joys of right living. One writer put it like this: Obedience is the freedom to be creative under the protection of divinely appointed authority. So, consider:
- True biblical freedom is being captured by a creative obedience to Jesus.
- While biblical disobedience is being captured by sin’s hunts, haunts, and habits.
So, to live free coz’ U r free is a biblical idiom of Christian faith and obedience. 'Trust & Obey'.
This Gospel (Jesus’ Life) unveils a continual revelation of God’s righteousness—a perfect righteousness given to us when we believe. And it moves us from receiving Life through faith, to the power of living by faith. This is what the Scripture means when it says: “We are right with God through Life-giving faith!” (Romans 1:17, the Passion).
My friends, Live Free coz U r Free!
|Grammar of Galatians 2:20
Live Free coz' U r Free!
A practical perspective of:
'being moved from receiving Life through faith to the power of living by faith'
(Romans 1:17, the Passion)
Presented by Pastor Ron on Live Free coz U r Free
Last week Hope and I were in our discipleship group from Church. During our fellowship together we recognized one of our pastor’s strong faith in God. Faith that weathers every storm—heart attacks and bypass surgeries… and now cancer with all its treatment and struggles. As we went through the weekend, Pastor Dan's faith reminded me of the last words in Isaiah 40:31. …they shall run and not grow weary, walk and not faint. And I was praying ‘God I want to run and not grow weary! God, I want that kinda faith!'
As, I was working on my next blog post for: Live Free coz U r Free, I decided to share this desire with my readers. A post I’ve entitled: Grammar of Galatians 2:20. I know, Isaiah? Galatians? Which? Well, hopefully that will become clear.
The Galatians 2:20 Teaching is simply: my old life of sin is now dead and I’ve been raised to a new life—the crucified life, the surrendered life, the deeper life, the exchanged life. Jesus’ Life! An exchange of identity—mine for His. A Life empowered by Jesus’ righteous Life living within me. It’s a life of being instead of doing. Being so you can do. A life where I live out the faith of Jesus and live by faith in Jesus.
Which is it? Some translations read: ‘the life we now live, we live by faith of the Son of God’; others read: ‘the life we now live, we live by faith in the Son of God’. The latter seems to make more sense. But which is—of or in? The grammar seems to change the meaning drastically, doesn’t it?
But then I learned something I never knew. And that’s difficult for this damaged brain of mine. Learning new things isn’t my forte. So, it must be a God thing when I do.
Okay… it’s gonna get a little tedious. You know how grammar can be. So bare with me for a bit.
The Greek language has many strange grammar types. Subjective and objective sounds simple enough. But genitives or moods? And then there's the plenary genitive. A mood with plurality? But I should have been aware of the plurality concept. For God’s Word has many truths that seem to be contradictive. Yet we all know, there isn’t any contradictions in God or His Word. Simply put, there are many parallel truths in God’s Word that don’t seem to make any sense and are often beyond human understanding. So it seems, when we don't understand we tend to label as wrong. And we argue over what appears to be contradictive.
For example, we know that God has sovereign choice, and that humanity has freedom of choice. These are parallel truths in the Bible that can’t be denied. Both are true, but often they’re argued as contradictions. However, peace is gained when we simply accept both as true, whether we can reason through them or not. For me, I reason that my human freedom of choice begins and ends in God’s sovereign choice; for He is the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end. There my heart rests, and all arguments cease, even if I don't understand.
SO, WHAT ABOUT GALATIANS 2:20?
The Christian’s old sinner life—i.e., our lives born fallen into God’s wrath of sin, sins, and sinning—is now dead. And the new Life we live, is Jesus’ Life living in and through us. So as a Christian, I now live in and from God’s Life within. How? By faith of course.
But questions arise with translation. Do I live by faith of the Son of God or by faith in the Son of God? And I think the answer is simple. We live by the faith Jesus has given us (the subjective genitive or mood). And we live by faith in Jesus (the objective genitive or mood). Making the use of grammar in Galatians 220 a plenary genitive or mood. Both being true.
We also see this grammar gymnastics in the Galatians 2:20 Old Testament twin—Isaiah 40:31.
They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint (ESV).
Two verbs stand out: ‘wait’ and ‘renew’. The first verb, wait, is the Hebrew word for rope. So, we could read Isaiah’s words like this: they who braid themselves into or wrap themselves up in the Lord… or in southern slang, they who ‘hogtie’ themselves to Jesus… shall renew their strength.
The second verb/action is ‘renew’, which can also be translated as ‘exchange’. In other words, those of us who dive into and drown ourselves in the waters of Jesus’s Life, can exchange our strength for His. And here’s the EXCITING! part. As Christians, we can then live by faith of and in the Son of God, a faith that runs and never grows weary, walks and never faints. A faith that never fails us in times of trouble.
Lord, may that be true of me.
Live Free coz U r Free!