Have you ever grabbed a hot potato chip (french fries) out of a fryer? That thing is so hot that you are unable to hold it. You quickly juggle it and hold it lightly for short bursts of time in fear of getting burnt. You don’t want to let it go, but one slip and it could disastrously fall to the floor.
I feel the same about the subject of homosexuality. I can barely get a hold on the subject as it seems just too hot to handle. Writing just one blog does not do it justice nor can it cover every aspect on this very sensitive and complicated issue.
However, it’s out of the fryer and I’m going to have a go at juggling it. I may drop it on the floor (I hope not) or I may pop it back in the fryer for awhile and have another attempt to juggle it, when I am a little more wiser.
First of all, let me say up front that I am not a homophobic and nor do I hate homosexuals. I have known many over the years and am happy to spend time with each and even call them a ‘friend’. In fact, I don’t even ‘label’ people anymore. I don’t say, “Oh, hello you…you, homosexual!” nor do I think of them first by such a description. My first thought of homosexuals is as a fellow human being. A person, just like me.
And to be really clear, I don’t really judge those who do not confess Jesus as Lord. I may not like what they do and I may be grieved, or don’t understand what they do at times, but I do not hate them. I have known plenty of drunks, self declared witches, idol worshipers, adulterers, violent and angry men, ambitious men climbing over whoever on their way up the corporate ladder, liars, cheats, etc. And before I’m castigated for lumping these together with homosexuals, understand that this is just an incomplete list that the Bible describes as, “acts of a sinful nature“:
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.
And I have been on that list too! I have a sinful nature.
However, I have become a Christian and have received the Holy Spirit.
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
So now, as I belong to Christ, I keep in step with the Holy Spirit by following the instruction not to do whatever I want. Having said that, it’s not easy. But, it is possible.
It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God…
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to us all. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13
As a Christian, I know God and submitting to Jesus Christ as Lord is not about following a set of religious rules, regulations or traditions. Making Jesus Christ as Lord is a matter of the heart.
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.
It begins as a simple internal submission of the heart. Genuine submission of the heart will eventually show itself externally through outward obedience.
When Jesus taught us to pray, He said:
“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Your kingdom come…here on earth…as it is in heaven. There are those who are ‘of this world‘ and those who belong to ‘the kingdom’. So if we want to inherit God’s kingdom here on earth, as it is in heaven, what’s stopping us? To me, God has made it clear:
…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 male prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 6:9,10
So, how should the Church treat Homosexuals?
The Church is made up of all ‘believers’, individuals, who are at various stages of working out how to live life the way God intends it. As such, not all Christians may reflect appropriately the Will of God towards homosexuals. This is not an excuse, just the reality.
For example, some will shun the homosexual community…but that’s not what God intends Christians to do:
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.
The “not at all meaning the people of this world” refers to those who are not Christians. Jesus set the example for us to follow here on earth:
As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.
Many may follow, but not all accept Jesus. There is a big difference between ‘followers’ of Jesus and ‘believers’. Even some of the religious leaders of the day, ‘followed’ Jesus, but were not ‘believers’.
Jesus associated with all men and women. He ate with them and chatted with them. He didn’t condemn them while here on earth. For example:
…and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Notice Jesus didn’t condemn her… but He also declared she was to leave her life of sin.
There is a time of judgment that will come:
Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him. “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.
Therefore, it is my belief that the Church, that’s the sum of all ‘believers’ in Christ Jesus, are to associate with those “who are the people of this world”. How else could the Good News about Jesus be shared?!
So, what happens if a Homosexual becomes a Christian?
Same as anyone who becomes a ‘believer’ – a Christian.
Firstly, it is important to understand clearly what Salvation, repentance and baptism is all about. We are all sinners (e.g sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, practicing homosexuals, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, slanderers, swindlers) with a sinful nature.
And that is what some of you were.
1 Corinthians 6:11
And here lies good news, understanding and wisdom for homosexuals, or anyone else, who become ‘believers’:
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. “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.”
The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute?
Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins people commit are outside their bodies, but those who sin sexually sin against their own bodies. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?
You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
1 Corinthians 6:11-20
The call is to “flee from sexual immorality” and “honour God with our bodies.”.
So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
You are not alone in this task. The Holy Spirit is the One who will help you.
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the worl d gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
So what if a Christian wants to continue being a Homosexual?
Now this is where it gets a little difficult. While we are to associate with “the people of this world” (i.e. those who are not Christians), it is a little different when one claims to be a fellow ‘believer’, a Christian, and declares that they will continue to deliberately sin. So as a new believer, what if I am still struggling with the desires of homosexuality?
It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-8
It is our responsibility “to control our own body”. Sanctification is the process of working this out. And if I call myself a Christian, but I refuse to control myself or I deliberately continue to sin, and remain unrepentant, then the instruction to the Church is clear:
But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with any who claim to be fellow believers but are sexually immoral or greedy, idolaters or slanderers, drunkards or swindlers. With such persons do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”
1 Corinthians 5:11-13
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for the Lord’s people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
The process of Sanctification is just that; a process. There is no time limit to it. We are all to strive, or work hard, at it. And we are not meant to be alone in doing that.
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
2 Corinthians 13:11
We are in a period of Grace. Grace prevails. Yes, but…
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? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
Rom 6:8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from deat
h to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.
For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!
Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slave
s to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, y ou were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
As a Christian, a ‘believer’, I will continue to associate and be a ‘friend’ of the homosexual community. I will continue to share the Good News of Jesus Christ to all people. I will help the community of ‘believers’, the Church, to…
Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.
1 Timothy 4:7-10
Like I said at the start, writing just one blog does not do it justice nor can it cover every aspect on this very delicate and complicated issue. My view maybe simplistic and possibly narrow. And I definitely do not have all the answers. There are just so many “what if” and complexities when addressing such a subject as this. However, I am open to listening to where I maybe off track, or incorrect in my interpretation to Scripture. I am not a perfect man, but I am striving to be the best I can.
Hopefully I haven’t burnt my hands or dropped the chip on the floor!