Wow. Here's a way to guarantee that you're going to get hated by somebody. Probably better to just ignore it, and hope it goes awayor sit on the fence and hope Jesus understandswell, Jesus tells us that being lukewarm is pretty much the worst sin (Revelation 3:16), so we need to know what we believe about homosexuality, and not be ashamed to say it. There are a number of points to consider on this, and if we lose even one of these we'll be preaching our own message rather than God's, so see this out to the end.
Old Testament commandments
There are commands in the Old Testament not to practice homosexuality (like Leviticus 18:22), but these are often put in the same passage as commands not to do other things like eat shellfish, eat fruit from trees we planted less than five years ago, or shave. Using Old Testament commandments to instruct us how to live simply won't cut it.
New Testament commandments
New Testament commandments are a bit easier to run with. God is pretty explicit in terms of what his plan for homosexuality is: 'Do not be deceivedmen who practice homosexuality [will not] inherit the kingdom of God.' (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). In 1 Timothy 1 men who practice homosexuality are described as 'lawless and disobedient' along with murderers, liars, and 'those who strike their fathers and mothers'. Let's not pretend this isn't clear: Practicing homosexuality is a sin, end of story.
So gay people are sinners?
Ah, wait. That's not quite it. The sin is never described as 'being gay', it's always the action that's condemned. So, anyone who says 'gay people are born gay, how could God possibly create them to be something they shouldn't be' as if being gay is a spiritual disability is actually half right. Being born gay (whether or not you agree with that phrase) isn't condemned by the Bible as a sin in itself, providing the gay person is not actively practicing homosexuality.
So gay people aren't sinners?
Well, the Bible doesn't say that either. Jesus was pretty hard-line when he told his heterosexual crowd that even looking at a woman lustfully was considered adultery (Matthew 5:28), but in so doing he was effectively telling us that we're all sinners by nature and by choice. Whether you are naturally attracted to men, women, animals, children, or anything else for that matter, we have allsinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
So do gay people go to an eternity with Jesus, or to hell?
Our society has made us look at the wrong thing. Culture tells us to stare at our navel and become who God really wants us to be, to grab hold of God's best for you, to discover who you truly arebut that's not the Bible's focus. God would tell us to take our eyes off ourselves, and fix them on Jesus. If you repent of your sin and receive Jesus' forgiveness through his completed death and resurrection we will be with him forever!
Listen. Everyone struggles with some form of sin. For a gay person that might be that they're attracted to their own sex, but the only difference between them and a straight person is that a straight person might end up getting married. Society has blown sex up to be this enormous, life-defining activity, but it's really not! We should love people who are gay, we should preach the gospel of grace to them, and we should accept them into the church as they are. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone I find it disturbing that churches around the world are accepting of someone with an addiction to gambling, porn, alcohol, or pride providing they're straight, but that a gay person is immediately cast out.
Let's be like Jesus and aim to be ridiculed for the fact that we will eat with sinners. Let's take a radical stance in bringing people to repentance, but never look to point out the speck in others' eyes before removing our own plank.
Copyright Sam Isaacson 2013.
Sam is a reformed charismatic husband and father, working in technology risk in London and planting a church at the same time.
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