I heard a news story on the radio Sunday that the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., had a transgender clergy officiate at their Sunday service for the first time. Someone (the newstory didn’t identify him) said that this showed that God loves LGBT people just the way they are. There’s an element of truth to this, but it actually distorts the Gospel.
God loves us while are are still sinners. Jesus died for all of us while we are still rebels. He reaches out to us and offers us reconciliation in our current stats as sinners. But once we are reconciled to God, He doesn’t leave us just as we are. He calls us out of sin and gives us the Holy Spirit to give us that power.
Jesus told the woman accused of adultery (John 8) that He didn’t condemn her in the judicial sense under the Mosaic Law. The required witnesses were there to give evidence. So Jesus told her He didn’t condemn her, but He told her to go and sin no more. He didn’t tell her He accepted her just as she was. He told her to leave her sinful ways.
He tells all of us that.
Psalm 51 gives us the prayer of a contrite heart. God hears our prayer as sinners, but we ask Him to cleanse our hearts because they’re full of sin. While He hears our prayers just as we are, He doesn’t leave us as we are.
The false message this person in the news story gave is that our sin doesn’t matter in our relationship to God.
The Gospel is not that God accepts us just as we are. The Gospel is that we’re sinners whom God loves and redeems, and gives us the Holy Spirit to live lives that glorify Him and leave sin behind.