Is Homosexuality a Sin?

Introduction

Few issues generate as many fireworks as the question of homosexuality. Steeped in stereotypes and prejudice, both sides of the issue typically have deep and strongly felt opinions. However, is our opinion the proper basis for answer? In answering this question, we manifest our core concern. Should our will, or the will of our Creator reign supreme in the judgment seat of our conscience? Does it matter what God wants? If you do not believe in God, or if you do not believe that the Bible is the divinely inspired record of His will for us, then this little article will contain no persuasive power for you. However, if your desire is to seek the true God and understand His desire for His people, then please thoughtfully consider the following passages.

God's Love for All Men

Hatred and the most bitter of feelings is almost always found, swirling around divisive issues. This question offers no exception. However, a good student of the inspired Scriptures will not forget that God loves all people, whether they are straight, gay, lesbian, homosexual, heterosexual - or anything else.

For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8)

Would you lay down your life for your best friend? ... Maybe ... But, what about your worst enemy? That is what God did for us. "Why?", you may ask. As the preceding verse explains, God loved us, even while we were all still sinners, spiritual enemies. Only transcendent, heavenly love could have cared so deeply to sacrifice so much.

Some may worry that God's love was not intended for them. Maybe some fear that they are too wicked, too sinful, too dirty, or too something else, such that God could not love them. My friend, if that is your worry, then you should know that is simply not the case.

... God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time ... (I Timothy 2:3-6)

Even though God loves us, He does not permit us to continue in our sins. In fact, that was the entire reason that Jesus gave His life for us on the cross - to be saved from both the consequences and bondage of sin. He wanted to save us from hell, but he also wants us to be transformed, pure, and holy - like Him.

Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways," says the Lord GOD. "Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies," says the Lord GOD. "Therefore turn and live!" (Ezekiel 18:30-32)

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11-14)

As obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy." And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear. (I Peter 1:14-17)

Clearly, God does not want any one to be lost. This was true in the Old Covenant (Ezekiel 18:30-32), as well as the New Covenant (II Peter 3:9). The offering of His Son's life demonstrates this to an infinite degree. However, as a loving Father, He cannot permit us to stay in our sins, because it is not in our best interest (Deuteronomy 6:24 - "for our good always"). He is transforming us to be like Him - holy. Is this really your desire? To be like Him? If that is the case, then let us continue studying God's Word to determine what our Creator and loving Father asks of us.

"How do you read?"

Long ago, when Jesus and His apostles were asked difficult questions, they often replied, "What says the Scriptures?", or "How do you read?". If their response was to look to the Scriptures for answers, should we not do the same? Let us see what the Scriptures say on the topic of homosexuality:

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:24-32)

The first few chapters of the letter to the Romans proves how both Jew and Gentile are sinners before God and in need of God's mercy (Romans 3:23). This first chapter of Romans describes the spiritual fall of the Gentiles. They lapsed into many forms of sins, into which God finally abandoned them, because "they did not like to retain God in their knowledge". One of the sins, which brought upon them the punishment of spiritual death (Romans 6:23), was the sin of homosexuality, vividly described. However, this is not the only passage that describes God's view of homosexuality:

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (I Corinthians 6:9-10)

Paul's warning is clear - "Do not be deceived!" There is a deceitful temptation that will lull us into believing that we can still make it to heaven, while maintaining our sinful ways, including homosexuality.

"God shows no partiality"

As was mentioned earlier, this question is often associated with both prejudice and hatred; however, "God shows no partiality" (Acts 10:34). Look at the preceding passages. Was homosexuality singled out as a special class of sin? In Romans 1:24-32, the sin of homosexuality is used as an indicator of the Gentiles' rebellion, but it is equally condemned with fornication, pride, violence, unloving, robbery, drunkenness, and a host of other sins. In God's eyes, they are all sins. Moreover, they are all sins that will equally prohibit us from going to heaven (I Corinthians 6:9). One is just as bad as the other, but I imagine that will offer little comfort to the inhabitants of hell, so please do not take comfort in God's lack of prejudice specifically against homosexuality. The fact is that He is prejudiced against all sins, not just homosexuality (I John 1:5-6).

Although God shows no partiality in condemning all sins, He also shows no partiality in offering the gospel invitation to be freed from those sins. Let us revisit a passage we previously considered:

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (I Corinthians 6:9-11)

The church in Corinth contained people, who used to be homosexuals! However, these people had been cleansed from their sins. They were "washed ... sanctified .. justified". God had accepted these people into His kingdom, just like He accepted the fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners, and all other forms of sinners. If you are a homosexual, you can be cleansed from your sins. You can be a Christian. You can be pure and holy, just like all other Christians, who were once sinners, including me.

"But, this is who I am!"

I have green eyes. If I lost them in a car accident, would I lose my identity? If a loved family member suffered a mastectomy because she had breast cancer, would that make her less of a woman? These things describe our physical bodies, but they are not who we are, unless we choose to make that our identity, by placing it above all else in our life.

Please consider the above passage from I Corinthians 6:9-11. Please notice that Paul says, "such were some of you"! Some of the Corinthians were once homosexuals, but they were no longer! Did they lose their identity? Well, actually, yes. Christianity is a conversion, a transformation. We should be growing closer to God each day, moving further away from our past, sinful life (Romans 12:1-2). In that sense, all Christians are giving up their identities as servers of self:

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

"But, I love this person!"

It cannot be denied that people involved in homosexual relationships, especially long term relationships, care deeply for their partners. If you find yourself in this difficult situation, you must ask yourself, "Do I really love this person?". If you do truly love them, then do you want them to be in danger of hell? You may be content to risk eternity in hell, but do you want the other person to be eternally lost? If you truly love someone, you will seek their best interest, not your own (I Corinthians 13:4-7). That which seeks the gratification of self is not love. That is something else. That is lust.

The fundamental Scriptural principle is that people involved in homosexual relationships do not have a right to each other, any more than people involved in an adulterous relationship. All such relationships must be ended, because in doing so, ones "leaves his place" and takes what is not his own ("against nature" - Romans 1:26-28; Jude 1:5-7). One cannot commit robbery, and seek forgiveness, but keep the plunder! The stolen goods must be released. It will be painful, but God's people have had to make similar sacrifices in the past (Ezra 9:1-10:44; Nehemiah 13:23-28).

Remember, true love is identified by seeking the eternal well-being of another. Moreover, no love is true that is not built on a central love in Jesus, who requires that we love Him first and foremost:

"If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14:26-27)

One who neither understands nor respects your spiritual obligations clearly does not love you. Again, that feeling is something else.

Conclusion

Homosexuality is a very addictive sin. Most consider it a lifestyle. However, the Bible clearly marks homosexuality as a sin, which will even prevent one from entering the kingdom of heaven, as will many other forms of sin (I Corinthians 6:9-10; Romans 1:24-32).

However, this is not the fate that God wants for you. He wants all to be saved (II Peter 3:9), so much so, that He gave His Son on the cross for you to be reconciled to Him (II Corinthians 5:14-12). As part of being a Christian, we must repent from all sins, including homosexuality ("such were some of you" - I Corinthians 6:9-11; Acts 2:37-38).

Such a conversion will change who we are. We will no longer be homosexuals, thieves, liars, murderers, adulterers, fornicators - sinners. We will be given a new identity with Christ, and that is infinitely more valuable than the brief satisfaction of a temporal lust, which only leads to an eternity of regret, isolation, and condemnation (Hebrews 11:24-26). Whose wishes will reign supreme in your life? Will you serve God or yourself? In the end, you are identified by this choice, and nothing else.

Relevant lectures:

Unless otherwise noted, all quotations are from the New King James Version, copyright © 1994 by Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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