Going back to Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians! Looking at the more clearer translations and readability from New Living Translation Bible, I am just so relieved by what I am discovering and understanding. No matter how many times I have read or studied Scripture from a scholarly perspective, I never seemed to make any headway about the issues concerning homosexuality and gender-variance and what is expected of LGBT Christians.
You would get the impression that to be LGBT meant you couldn’t possibly be Christian… or vice versa, there was no way a Christian could remain Christian if he or she was a member of the LGBT community.
Well read on from the New Living Bible Translation:
Galatians 3:17-19 New Living Translation (NLT)
17 This is what I am trying to say: The agreement God made with Abraham could not be canceled 430 years later when God gave the law to Moses. God would be breaking his promise. 18 For if the inheritance could be received by keeping the law, then it would not be the result of accepting God’s promise. But God graciously gave it to Abraham as a promise.
19 Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised. God gave his law through angels to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people.
Galatians 3:21-28 New Living Translation (NLT)
21 Is there a conflict, then, between God’s law and God’s promises? Absolutely not! If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. 22 But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.
23 Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed.
24 Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. 25 And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian.
26 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.
FREEDOM IN CHRIST!
Galatians 5:1-6 New Living Translation (NLT)
5 So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
2 Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses. 4 For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.
5 But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. 6 For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.
What this means is, we are not bound any longer to the Leviticus quotes and Deuteronomy or the Old Testament laws and restrictions that once guided the 12 tribes of Israel as they journeyed through the Sinai wilderness from Egypt. We are not held by those restrictions or expectations of ritual purification either. This doesn’t mean we are free to go nuts and sin to our heart’s content with some kind of get out of jail free card. No, nothing like that. It is that we will not be condemned if we sin. We can be forgiven, we can be excused for not living up to perfection and Old Testament Orthodox Jewish standards. We do our best, have faith that Jesus will forgive us as we strive to be better people, but we are not asked or commanded to fundamentally stop being true to ourselves. In fact, truth and honesty would be desirable. Jesus wants us as we really are. Has he ever said otherwise?
Have faith brothers and sisters! Jesus is on our side!