When I initially wrote this post, Apple CEO Tim Cook had recently made headlines by publicly announcing that he was gay.
For a variety of reasons, I previously had not written much on the subject of homosexuality here at chasingalion.com. Primarily, I felt that issues pertaining to homosexuality are clear, black-and-white matters in Scripture where there is very little need for debate.
Yet, at the time of my writing, perhaps no subject is more central to moral issues here in the United States, and maybe even across the entire world. So I felt it was time to address a handful of the most important questions related to the subject of homosexuality.
Is it a sin to be gay?
I'll be very direct here. The Bible plainly states that the practice of homosexuality is a sin.
Here are just three New Testament Scriptures which speak to the issue:
8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
(1 Tim. 1:8-11 NIV)
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
(Rom. 1:18-27 NIV)
9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. 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 Cor. 6:9-11 NIV)
Despite the Bible's explicit condemnation of homosexual behavior, in recent times, many who profess to be Christians have begun to waffle or even openly embrace homosexuality.
When we look at history, sadly, this trend really isn't surprising.
The popular views of Christendom often trail that of society by less than one generation. In societies where Christianity is more popular, the culture typically has more impact upon the masses who call themselves Christians than the other way around.
But as one who is actively trying to obey Jesus, my logic goes like this:
- Is the Bible the inspired Word of GOD? If it isn't, why should any person trust any part of it? But if our Scriptures are indeed divinely inspired—and I'm convinced that they are—then we have no room to disbelieve any part of them, regardless of society's popular opinion. (What is popular is almost always incorrect, by the way.)
- Jesus has all authority on heaven and earth. Jesus obeyed, referenced and taught from the Old Testament Scriptures, thereby implicitly demonstrating His approval of them—including the statements condemning homosexuality. Similarly, Jesus gave His apostles authority to spread the gospel to all nations and peoples, offering salvation freely to Jew and Gentile alike. As evidence of GOD's (and Jesus') approval of these men, they were given the ability to perform amazing miracles.
- Although the apostles were imperfect sinners as we are, they and certain other coworkers were inspired by the Spirit of GOD to write additional Scriptures, the collection of which we refer to as the New Testament. Recognizing GOD's obvious approval of these men, as Christians we ought to give equal attention and respect to these writings as we do to Jesus' own words. Both originate from the same Father and Spirit, as evidenced by their perfect harmony, regardless of which man penned the words.
- So, while we do not have a written record of Jesus Himself specifically condemning homosexuality as sinful, the men He commissioned as His ambassadors—men who obviously had His approval—certainly did, and this must be respected.
While we have no record of Jesus personally condemning homosexuality, the men He commissioned as His ambassadors—men who obviously had His approval—certainly did, and this must be respected. Click to Tweet
While the honest seeker must admit that the Bible plainly condemns homosexual behavior, we must also acknowledge that homosexual desires are a temptation that many people face.
And it is not a sin for anyone to be tempted (see Jam. 1:14-15).
Jesus was tempted in every way as we are, yet He did not sin (see Heb. 4:15).
Therefore, while it is a sin to engage in homosexuality, it is not a sin to be tempted by homosexual desires.
This is a truth that Christians need to be more vocal about in these conversations.
Instead of shunning and scaring off people who struggle with homosexual desires, we need to create a relationship and atmosphere (individually, and as the church) where people with this temptation can open up and confess their struggles without feeling belittled or demeaned. In this regard, homosexual temptations are no different than stealing, lying or murder.