The subject line on the email read, “I am a LGBT. Can I be saved?” Talk about grabbing attention in the first few words. I was locked into what she had to say. Here is what she wrote:
Hello. I am from _____ (a country in Asia).
I confess that I am gay.
My gay Christian life here is not easy. I change churches often. Some churches don’t welcome me. (Because I am gay.) Some churches require me to divorce and stop being a homosexual. Some pastors publicly shame me. Every pastor (Presbyterian, Southern Baptist, Evangelical, Lutheran, etc.) said that faith alone can save, but works are evidence of faith.
I always ask myself, “Am I saved?”
I was afraid to send an E-mail to you because I have experienced public shaming. But I need to know.
Can I be saved? If I’m still being gay? If I can’t divorce? If I can’t stop my homosexual life?
PS. I am a Lutheran. But when I read articles on your website, I desire to call myself a Free Grace Lutheran.
My partner is Independence Catholic.
Without Assurance in Assurance
I am so thankful for questions like this one. There are lots of struggling people out there who want to be saved, but do not know how to be saved.
I have several responses to Without Assurance in Assurance (WAA).
First, yes, you can be saved. The Lord Jesus said that “whoever believes in Him” will never perish, but has everlasting life that can never be lost (John 3:16; 4:10-26; 5:24; 6:47; 11:25-27). Whoever includes anyone. Whoever includes homosexuals. It includes heterosexuals who sleep around. It includes liars and cheaters. It includes alcoholics and murderers too. Whoever believes in Jesus for everlasting life has that life that can never be lost.
Second, homosexuality is not good for anyone. While one does not need to give it up to be born again and eternally saved, one does need to give it up if she wishes to glorify God with her life. I do not say this because I am a heterosexual. I say this because of what the Old Testament and New Testament say about sexual sins, including homosexuality.
Having said that, unless and until WAA comes to believe that homosexuality is not good for her, then she obviously will not turn from it. The fact that she has a partner makes it even harder. Ideally God will work in both of their lives so that they can both see that homosexuality is not God’s best.
Third, works are not the evidence of faith. If we look to our works for assurance, we will never have it. No pastor can have assurance by works. No one can. All of us fall short (present tense) of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). Works are evidence of the application of what we believe. Being born again does not mean that you believe that it is more blessed to give than receive, that you should love your neighbor as yourself, or that you should not lie, get drunk, or steal. In order to apply Scripture, we must know what the Scripture says. That means being a part of a solid Bible-teaching church. It does not sound like WAA has found such a church yet.
Assurance of our salvation is founded solely in the promise of life in the Bible. Do not ponder your feelings for assurance. Feelings are unreliable. Do not analyze your works to see if you are born again. Evaluation of works is subjective and flawed, and in any case, such evaluation can never produce certainty of one’s eternal destiny.
WAA does not say her age. It sounds like she is in her twenties. If I were her dad or granddad, I’d want her to marry a man and have children and raise them up to be godly adults. But those are not salvation issues. Those are fullness of life issues.
Fourth, I like the designation Free Grace Lutheran or Free Grace Baptist or Free Grace E-Free or Free Grace Plymouth Brethren or Free Grace Calvinist. In order to be Free Grace, WAA needs to renounce her works-salvation thinking. We are not saved by works (John 6:28-28; Eph 2:8-9; Rev 22:17). We are saved by God’s grace through faith in Christ, apart from works (Eph 2:8-9; 1 Tim 1:16).
Fifth, here is my suggestion for WAA and for anyone who wants to have assurance of everlasting life that can never be lost. Pray. Ask God to give you that certainty. And read the Gospel of John daily. I suggest a chapter a day. But even ten verses a day is fine. Read and see what the Lord Jesus says one must do to be born again. If you seek the truth, God will open your eyes.
If you wish to read more on this issue, see this 1988 article by me, this 2019 blog by me, and this recent podcast by Shawn and me.
Yes, LGBT people can be saved. All saved people are sinners saved by grace through faith and apart from works.