I struggle to find the words to address an issue that is so very personal to me. For those who do not know, I was once gay, but through the saving grace of Jesus Christ I am now a new person. I am a recreation of my heavenly Father who showed me my sin, called me to be his child and deposited His righteousness to my account so that I might become like His son, Jesus. He freed me from my bondage to sin. He gave me a beautiful wife and blessed us both with a beautiful little boy (and soon a little girl). So, the headlines of late and the posts of Christian friends break my heart and motivate me to speak. My goal is to answer three questions: 1) Is Homosexuality wrong? 2) If so, why? and 3) What should be the response of those who have truly been saved by God’s grace through Jesus?
Number one – Is homosexuality wrong? The answer is more complex than the question.
Homosexuality as sexual orientation (temptation), though a product of sin in a fallen world, is not sin in and of itself. It is when one acts upon this temptation through lust, pornography, and/or adopting his homosexual orientation as his identity (gay) that he sins. That is why I say I used to be gay. Before coming to know Christ, even as a married man, I had accepted my homosexual orientation as my identity and actively sought to fulfill my homosexual desires. I was gay. Upon coming to Christ in faith I adopted a new identity as God’s son in Christ.
Number two – Why is it wrong for someone to pursue homosexual desires?
The immediate response for the Christian is that the Bible tells us it is wrong. We believe that the Bible IS the word of God. It doesn’t merely contain the words of God, it is the word of God. When we open its pages, God speaks to us directly, and as such, we can trust every letter in faith to teach us, to guide us, to change us and mold us into the people He desires us to be. When we look into HIS word, HE tells us EXPLICITLY in both the Old and New Testaments that homosexual behavior is wrong. Leviticus 20:13 says, “If a man sleeps with a man as with a woman, they have both committed a detestable thing. They must be put to death; their blood is on their own hands.” Many will say that homosexuality as sin is part of the Old Testament Law and as the Law “no longer applies,” then the ban on homosexuality has been lifted. There are two problems with this thought. First, Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-18, “Don’t assume that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For I assure you: Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass from the law until all things are accomplished.” So the Law stands. This verse also answers those who would claim that Jesus never addressed the sinfulness of homosexuality. HE says that the Law stands, and the law explicitly forbids homosexual behavior.
The other problem with this statement is that not only does Jesus forbid homosexual behavior in the gospel accounts but Paul and the apostles forbid it as well in the epistles. I Corinthians 6:9-10 says, “Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: no sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or anyone practicing homosexuality, no thieves, greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom.” I Timothy 1:10 echoes these sentiments, “We know that the law was not meant for the righteous person but for the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinful, for the unholy and irreverent, for those who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral and homosexuals, for kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and for whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching based on the glorious gospel…”
Of course the most explicit statement in all of scripture, arguably, is Paul’s statement to the Romans in chapter one of his epistle, “Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles. Therefore God delivered them over in the cravings of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves…This is why God delivered them over to degrading passions. For even their females exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. The males in the same way also left natural relations with females and were inflamed in their lust for one another. Males committed shameless acts with males and received in their own persons the appropriate penalty of their error.”
So let no one be mistaken. The bible clearly teaches that homosexua behavior is wrong. And we believe the Bible because it is God’s word. And we know it is God’s word because Jesus said so. And we believe Jesus, because he claimed to be God in the flesh. And He proved this when he rose from the dead and appeared to hundreds of eyewitnesses before rising into heaven. But is it enough to say that homosexual behavior is wrong because the Bible tells me so?
Consider three options: 1) If homosexual behavior is wrong ONLY because God says it’s wrong, then His decision is arbitrary. He could just as easily have said that it was ok. 2) If homosexual behavior is wrong in and of itself and God merely relays to us what already is, then the Law is elevated to a place above God which is impossible. By his very nature as God, nothing is higher. 3) God decrees homosexual behavior to be wrong, because it violates his very character. Sin is a violation not of God’s Law per se but a violation of God himself. Homosexuality, as a sin, violates the all supreme creator and God of the universe.
One final consideration must be made at this point. In the Bible, God instituted marriage between man and woman to illustrate the relationship He has with His bride, the church. The New Testament teaches that Christ is the bridegroom and the church (i.e. Christians) is His bride, and marriage is the purest symbolic portrayal of this relationship. Any other relationship, pedophilic, homosexual, beastial, adulterous, etc., is a distortion of this symbol and is therefore sinful by its very nature.
Number three – How should real Christians respond?
1) We should stand up for truth in the public square. I do not mean that we should boycott. For too long, Christians have fought to make the world behave like us without realizing that they are not a part of us. They are not God’s children, because they do not know Christ as Savior. Boycotting robs us of the opportunity to share the gospel with those who are lost, and we must refrain from alienating ourselves from the mission we have been given – to go and make disciples.
What I do mean is that we must protect the traditional definition of marriage in our constitutions and in our schools to protect the minds of our children and to slow down an ever-deepening moral decay that will have drastic consequences for their future and their freedom.
2) More than anything, we must learn to love homosexuals WITH THE GOSPEL. We must learn to differentiate between sin and sinner and share the love of Christ with the broken. It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance, and it is the love and sovereign grace of Jesus that will lead homosexuals to repentance and faith in Him. Let us fulfill our mission to go and to tell, IN LOVE, without words of hate. Let us wrap our arms around those who are not like us and share the truth IN LOVE. And let us PRAY … that God will convict them of their sin and shower His mercy and grace upon them and set them free in Christ so that they may glorify Him forever in His kingdom.