March 27, 2013
As I write this article, the internet is abuzz over the U.S. Supreme Court’s possible ruling on the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage. It seems like everyone has something to say about the issue – some are right, some are wrong. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I know God does. What does His Word have to say the issue?
Everyone Is Tempted With Sin
There are countless kinds of temptation, and everyone struggles with temptation in one form or another. Some wrestle with alcoholism. Some struggle with gossip or lying. Some fight an exhausting battle against pornography and lust. Likewise, some people struggle with homosexual feelings and urges, making them no different than the rest of us.
Everyone faces temptation (cf. 1 Cor. 10:13; Heb. 4:15). Temptation by itself is not a sin, but giving in to temptation is (cf. Jas. 1:13-15). Wrestling with temptation is a good thing (Jas. 1:12). It is when we stop wrestling against temptation (and give in) that we sin.
When we encounter someone who legitimately struggles with homosexuality, we need to encourage that person as he/she tries to overcome temptation. Christians, as we walk in the light (cf. 1 John 1:5-7), need to be sympathetic to other Christians who are also trying to walk in the light. Yet, if they stop trying to walk in the light, and instead embrace their homosexual urges, we need to avoid them (cf. 1 Cor. 5:9-13). There is a world of difference between penitent people and impenitent people.
Sin Is Sin
Homosexuality is a sin (Gen. 19:4-11, 23-29; Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Jude 7). Yet, it is no greater or lesser a sin than any other sin. All sin will keep a person out of heaven (cf. 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21, etc.).
The remedy to sin is the blood of Jesus Christ. One must initially “repent and be baptized for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38; cf. Acts 22:16; Rom. 6:4) to be cleansed. To “repent” means to ‘change’ or ‘turn away from sin.’ One cannot continue in sin and expect God’s Grace to save him (Rom. 6:1-2). A practicing homosexual cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven so long as he is practicing and embracing homosexuality.
No One Is Born A Homosexual
God never created a ‘gay’ baby. Since homosexuality is a sin (see above), it would be contradictory to God’s nature to cause someone to be born with that sexual orientation (cf. Jas. 1:13). The Bible describes homosexuality as “changing the natural use into that which is against nature” (Rom. 1:26-27). Indeed, no one is born a homosexual.
That does not mean that people cannot be conditioned to feel homosexual urges. There are people who legitimately wrestle with such feelings, and I sympathize and feel compassion for those people. Yet, people experience homosexual feelings because of sin (cf. Rom. 1:24-27), either because of their own sin or the sin of others. Perhaps they were abused as children. Perhaps they had a dad who did not demonstrate fatherly affection. Perhaps they grew up in a one-parent home, or a homosexual home. Perhaps they were made to think they were homosexual because of peer pressure at school. Or maybe they made a conscious decision to experiment with homosexuality.
Jesus Taught That Marriage Is Between A Man And A Woman
One sometimes hears the objection, “Jesus never talked about homosexuality.” Actually, He did when He defined a God-approved marriage as being between a man and a woman. Consider His words,
[Jesus] answered, “And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:4-6)
If God’s Son defines marriage as between a male and a female, all other combinations or alterations are implicitly prohibited.
When the apostles and disciples later specifically condemned homosexuality (i.e. Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Jude 7), they were speaking with Christ’s authority. Jesus told His disciples that whatever He did not tell them in His earthly lifetime, His Holy Spirit would tell them later (John 16:12-13). Undeniably, “all scripture is given by the inspiration of God” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Jesus did condemn homosexuality in His New Testament.
God’s Law Trumps Man’s Law
As I am writing this post, people are awaiting what the Supreme Court will say about the 1996 Defense Of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8. What will the justices decide? Will they dismiss it outright? Will they declare this a ‘states’ rights issue? Will they make sweeping changes to how the laws of the land view marriage? I don’t know. But in reality, it doesn’t matter. God has already settled the issue. The practice of homosexuality is an abomination. It will always be “vile affection.”
Man can legalize any sin he wants. Since Satan is deeply in involved with the affairs of this world (cf. 2 Cor. 4:4), you can expect sin to become increasingly rampant. Yet just because some forms of murder (abortion), drug use, drinking, and homosexuality are legal does not make them right. Undoubtedly, “we ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
To Approve Of Homosexuality Is To Be Guilty Of Homosexuality
It is very upsetting to see people who wear Christ’s name come out in support of so-called “marriage equality.” What they are saying, in essence, is, “It is okay to embrace your homosexual desires. You don’t have to fight temptation anymore. Don’t pay any attention to what the Bible says. It is outdated and irrelevant to today’s culture anyway.”
First, the Bible is not a ‘living document’ in that it changes with culture. It never becomes ‘outdated.’ Jesus Christ and His New Testament are just as relevant today as they were 2,000 years ago. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). The Bible is God’s Word (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:21). How can our Almighty Creator take a back seat to our petty human culture?
Second, to approve of homosexuality is to be guilty of the sin itself. “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Rom. 1:32; cf. 2:1-5). How can I say I love God while telling people it is okay to disregard His Word?
True Hatred Is Refusing To Confront Sin
People wearing Christ’s name who disgracefully support and encourage legalized homosexual marriages justify their apostasy under the guise of ‘love’ or ‘tolerance.’
My question is this: Is it really ‘love’ to encourage someone to live in sin? I believe tolerance of sin is the true essence of hatred. How much do you really have to hate someone to say, “I’m okay with the fact that your soul is lost”?
There were some Christians in Corinth who were formerly practicing homosexuals (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Yet when they became Christians, they were told to stop. I have an obligation – if I truly do love my fellow man – to tell him that he cannot be pleasing to God while approving of and practicing homosexuality.
Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins (Jas. 5:19-20)
Christians Need To Approach Homosexuals With The Spirit of Christ
I’ve met a lot of ‘mean’ Christians. Some seem bent on antagonizing people who really just need our support and encouragement. Should Christians ever be defined as “hostile” or “mean”?
Whenever we meet someone who wrestles with homosexuality, we need to respond to him or her as Jesus would. When the crowd came to Jesus, Matthew reports that He reacted with “compassion for them” (Matt. 9:35-38). Is that how you first respond to people who have a sin problem? Do you feel compassion? When the rich young ruler came to Him (and Jesus knew the man had a spiritual heart problem), Jesus “looked at him and loved him” (Mark 10:21). Do you love people who have a heart problem in relation to homosexuality?
Let’s treat homosexuality like Jesus did:
- Let’s hate sin.
- Let’s be compassionate toward people who are living in sin.
- Let’s encourage people who are fighting sin.
- Let’s love people enough to expose sin.
- Let’s rescue people from the bondage of sin and lead them to the loving arms of Christ.