100 Answers in 100 Days

More questions answered on this blog:

Sharing answers to the various questions of faith I have faced, and which others have been challenged with also.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

#50: Can a Christian be a homosexual?

In today's post we'll be looking at a sensitive topic in this day and age. The gay community has historically been subject to vilification and violent hatred. Such behaviour towards a homosexual person, or towards any person at all, is completely anti-Christian, and any involvement in such behaviour that Christians have participated in is most regretful. But the gay community has done a lot to become acceptable in today’s culture; so much so that many feel that homosexuality should even be acceptable within Christianity. 

Let it first be said that no man decides what is right and what is wrong. Only God determines what is right and wrong. Man is so corrupted by sin so that we often call what is evil, “good”, and even what is good, “evil”. We have a sense of what is right and wrong, but sometimes we miss the mark. The Bible says “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.” (1 Corinthians 1:21) What this verse is telling us is that mankind cannot come to know God by thinking about it long enough and hard enough. Knowledge of God, (and of His salvation) comes through what the Bible says, for the Bible is the Word of God and the wisdom of God, even though it may sometimes seem foolish to us.

So what does the Bible clearly teach about homosexuality? … 

Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) 

Now, if you're reading this and you're a thief, then this verse would surely make you think “I better change my ways.... thieves don't inherit the kingdom of God!” Everybody agrees that thievery is a sin that people ought to repent of, along with adultery and idolatry and the other things listed. So why should we be unclear about homosexuality? Quite simply, homosexuality is a sin.

In the list above we read about sexual immorality and adultery. Under “sexual immorality” we might consider various sexual sins including promiscuity and the viewing of pornography. You see, homosexuality is a sexual sin; but so are all these things which heterosexuals commit as well. We shouldn't see the sins of a homosexual any differently than we see the sins of a heterosexual adulterer, or one who watches pornography. We should regard them both as sinners, and all sinners need to be loved with the love of Christ which draws all people into His kingdom. If I tell you that homosexuality is a sin, it's not for lack of love – it's because of love. 

Now many will say, “But homosexuality is hereditary... people are born that way, and they can't be heterosexual, any more than they could change their dark hair blonde through sheer will power!” Well, I personally think it's possible that homosexuality may indeed be hereditary; at least in some proportion of cases. But while there is a natural urge (whether it's actually genetic or not) for a gay man to desire other men, there is a natural urge in me to watch pornography, or to pursue women other than my wife. Am I excused of my adultery if I say “But it's natural”? No. The Bible says that as a result of sin entering the world, the whole of creation is corrupt – even physically where, for example, it tells us in Genesis 3 that child birth became painful for a woman and growing plants for food became difficult (Genesis 3:16-17). Apparently it was God's original intention that birth would not be painful, and farming would not be an intense labour. The Bible teaches that when Christ returns He will free creation from its curse and restore nature to the way God originally intended it. That means that things like homosexuality, as well as my own lustful desires which are not supposed to be natural, will be taken away. And as we have spoken of in earlier posts, when we accept Christ and we are born again, Christ begins to restore us to the way we ought to be right now in this life.  

Does this mean that a homosexual, once he becomes a Christian, could lose his homosexual desires? Yes, it does! And I know a gay man to whom this happened. He told me himself that while he was once exclusively gay, he no longer had those homosexual desires. How do we know he wasn't lying, perhaps just to fit in with his new Christian friends? Well, if he was lying he must have been fairly committed to the lie, since the man got married to a woman at his Church. But you know, I'm not that guy – I don't know what might be going on in his mind, whether or not he secretly lusts after men. I'm not gay, but as I have already said in this post, there isn't a lot of difference between homosexual sin and heterosexual sin. Of this I can testify – that before I became a Christian I would give in to my desire to watch pornography whenever I was so inclined. But as God as my witness, I'm telling the truth; since I became a Christian I have never again looked at pornographic images. So I can absolutely believe, based on my own experience, that my friend's testimony is true – that even his homosexual desires have been taken away, just as my desire for pornography was, and has not been a struggle for me in all these years. Oh, those desires aren't taken away altogether – we're not yet fully perfected. But when I have sensed that desire rising in me, I have never failed to be victorious over it. This is the victory we have in Christ. All of us must be prepared to give up our sin, whatever that sin may be, if we desire to come to Christ. 

Now to leave off this day, I'm going to reiterate the verse I quoted above. But this time I'm going to add the verse that comes next, because it shows that all of these sins, even homosexuality, can be overcome through Christ... 

Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you.[!] But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

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