Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Can you be gay and Christian?
Over the past several years the issue of homosexuality has been on the forefront of the list of cultural controversies. In America, where the majority of people are professing Christians, the question of "can you be gay and Christian" has become more and more common every day. In order to rightly answer this question a few terms need to be defined first. Some people may define their terms a bit differently than me but for the purpose of this article I want to explain how I define them so that people can have clarity. I want to make it clear that my defining of terms is based upon a Biblical worldview and you will find numerous scripture references throughout this article.
1.) Gay = Somebody who lives a consistent lifestyle of homosexual behavior.
2.) Christian = Somebody who has had their life transformed by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ and the Bible is the final authority of their life and conduct.
Gay does not mean: Same sex attraction, being tempted with homosexual desires, having committed homosexual acts but repented afterward, speaking with a soft voice (I am referring to men), or loving someone of the same sex (in a godly manner).
Christian does not mean: Claiming to believe in Jesus, being a member of a church, having parents who are Christian, being baptized as a baby, being part of a youth group, being an American, believing in a Higher Power/God, believing Jesus was a real person, someone who has prayed to God. To sum it up the Bible says that only people who truly know Jesus Christ, which means they leave their lifestyle of sin and follow Him are really Christians (Matt. 16:24).
First of I all I want to be clear that God sincerely loves gay people, even to the point that He was willing to die on the cross to save them from their sins. We all lived a lifestyle of sin before coming to know Christ, so we must be very careful about exhibiting a judgmental and hateful attitude towards gay people. Homosexuality is just as sinful as any other sin that we commit, and that being said we need to realize that Jesus died to save us from it, not to leave us in it.
The Bible identifies homosexual behavior as sinful just as it does many other sins in both the Old and New Testament:
Leviticus 20:13 -"If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them."
Romans 1:26-28- "For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done."
There are many additional verses dealing with the fact that homosexuality is a sin but for the sake of simplicity I will only use the two above because they clearly make the point. Now that we know that homosexuality is a sin the question becomes, should Christians live a lifestyle of sin? Scripture gives us an absolute no in this regard:
1 John 3:9-"No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God."
Romans 6:1-2-"What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?"
1 Corinthians 6:9-10-"Or 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 effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."
So within these scriptures we find a few of the following truths:
1.) A person who is born of God and has the seed of God within them does not sin habitually and characteristically. Therefore a born again Christian cannot live a willful continuous homosexual lifestyle. We do know that Christians are able to be ensnared by sin, and we should be careful to make a distinction between the two (1 John 3:9) (Galatians 6:1).
2.) Christians have died to sin through baptism so they shouldn't live in it any longer (Romans 6:1-2).
3.) People who live a willful continuous homosexual lifestyle will not inherit the kingdom of God (this also includes many other kinds of willful continuous sinful lifestyles), Christians are to be delivered from such lifestyles. People can claim to believe in Christ, but if that belief does not lead to a certain level of transformation, they quite possibly have believed in vain (1 Corinthians 15:2).
Now, with all of that being said I want to answer a couple of common questions that are asked in response to the conclusion that you cannot be gay and Christian.
Question: Can a Christian commit a homosexual act and still be saved?
Answer: Yes, the Bible tells us that we will still struggle with sin even after we are saved (Hebrews 12:4), but we will not LIVE in it any longer (Romans 6:1-2). We may have seasons in which we let sin get the best of us (Galatians 6:1), but God has promised to bring to a completion the good work that He began in us (Phil. 1:6). God will discipline us when we sin in order to get us back on track as His beloved children, and we need to be responsive when He does discipline us (Hebrews 12:6).
The Bible speaks of a situation that can happen with some believers. This situation describes a Christian who after coming to know the Lord becomes entangled in sin (Galatians 6:1) to the extent that it fully tarnishes their good testimony before men. In this rare case, it becomes a pattern of sin that leads to death (1 John 5:16). In certain cases like this, God will take the life of a believer who perpetually becomes caught in sin (when a person is caught that means they are trapped in something that they ultimately want to be free of, with unbelievers they love their sin and do not perceive it as a trap but rather a part of who they are). This doesn't mean that the entangled believer will lose their salvation, but it could lead to premature death and a loss of reward in the life to come (1 Cor. 3:15). This is why we MUST take sin seriously as believers, and if we love sin more than God we may need to reconsider if we are even in the faith at all (with the Holy Spirit's help)! Either scenario calls for repentance, and there is no condemnation after we receive the grace of Christ by faith. All we need to do is repent and trust God to empower us for newness of life!
Question: Can a Christian have an attraction to a person of the same sex?
Answer: Yes, the Bible tells us that every person is tempted in a variety of ways , some of those temptations include homosexual desire (1 Corinthians 10:13). Scripture tells us that if we want to follow Christ we must take up our cross and follow Him (Matt. 16:24), this means we must be willing to resist and battle the temptations of our flesh (which has been corrupted by sin) by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:13).
Question: Can a person be born gay?
Answer: Every person is born into sin because we descended from Adam and we have inherited his fallen nature (Psalm 51:5). Therefore, people can be born with a propensity to sin in a homosexual way, just as some people are born with a propensity for alcoholism, etc. However, God commands us to avoid all sin and be led by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16). This does not mean we will never make a mistake, but we must strive to grow mature in our relationship with God (James 1:4). Even though we are sinful by nature God in His love has extended us a hand of grace in Christ, and by following Him we find our true purpose (Colossians 3:3). Being born with a propensity for a certain sin does not give us an excuse to commit that sin (Romans 1:20).
Question: If someone who has a same sex attraction becomes a Christian does that mean they must become celibate (exercise lifelong abstinence)?
Answer: The goal of serving Christ is not to learn how to be attracted to the opposite sex, serving Christ is something we do in response to understanding His great love for us through dying on the cross in our place for our sins. However, there are thousands of former homosexuals who have become Christians and are now happily married to a person of the opposite sex. Becoming celibate is not necessary, if we delight ourselves in the Lord He will cause our desires to be godly and He will bless us in response to those godly desires (Psalm 37:4). God is a good God and He provides everything we need according to His glorious riches in Christ (Phil. 4:19), we have to take a step of faith for that to happen though (Hebrews 11:6).
So having uncovered what scripture says regarding homosexuality I want to make two final points. Number one, any person living in a continuous lifestyle of sin will not inherit the kingdom of God whether it be homosexual sin, greed, pride, fornication, adultery, thievery, deceptive behavior, etc. So before we begin to point our finger at homosexuals and make accusations let us take a look at our own lives. Number two, if you are a homosexual or a non-believer and you are reading this article I want you to know that God loves you with an everlasting love. He died the death that we all deserve for sinning in the sight of a Holy and Perfect God. He offers us forgiveness and a new life in Christ, but this offer requires that we repent and turn from sin to God. I was addicted to drugs and many other sins before I came to Christ, I have also been tempted with perverse sexual desires before. God required that I repent and believe the Gospel before I could be saved, and in His great love He received me when I turned to Him. I still struggle with sin to this day but by the grace of God I am a new man. I invite you to take a step of faith and leave behind all the sins that so easily entangle us, spend your life for Christ, He spent His life for you! God bless and may God's mercy and love be extended to you in a powerful way through this article.
God's Simple Plan of Salvation:
Admit that you have disobeyed God.
Believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead to save you from your sins.
Confess Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior (Lord means He is your final authority for life and conduct, Savior means He will save you from your sins. Confessing this involves repentance and a turning to God from sin, trusting Him to lead you down the path of righteous living and love).
Romans 10:13- "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
If you followed God's simple plan of salvation I want to congratulate you! The Bible says that all of Heaven rejoices when one sinner repents. The first step of obedience as a new Christian is to be baptized and get involved at a local church. Please email me if you need help finding a good church in your area, God bless: email@example.com
Written by: Kyle Bailey, M.Th.
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