In the previous post, I attempted to demonstrate that the Bible is clear in its assertion that homosexuality is sinful. But that leaves the question, “So what?” There are two levels on which I want to answer this question. The first is to ask what this means for homosexuals and the second is ask what this means in terms of how Christians should view/treat homosexuals.
Homosexuality is Evidence of God’s Present Judgment and Results in God’s Future Judgment.
Romans 1:18-32 makes it plain that homosexuality not only results (future tense) in God’s judgment, but is also a result (present tense) of God’s judgment. In other words, the Bible teaches that homosexuality not only leads to God’s judgment, but is also evidence that someone has all ready been judged by God in some capacity. Paul’s argument in Romans 1:18-32 is as follows:
a) God created the universe so that everyone knows that everything came into existence by the work of an incredibly powerful God (v.1:19-20).
b) We (people) have refused to properly worship the God who clearly revealed Himself (v.1:21).
c) Instead, we have chosen to worship the things God created (v.1:22, 25).
d) As a form of active, present judgment, God has allowed us to pursue our own wicked desires (v.1:24, 26a).
e) The pursuit of these wicked desires displays itself in, among other things (see point #4 in this section), homosexuality (v.1:26b-27).
f) Those who pursue their own wicked desires will incur God’s future judgment of wrath, fury and tribulation (v.2:8-9).
We see, then, in Paul’s own writing in Romans that homosexuality is, in fact, a sign of God’s present, less severe, judgment and a sign that God’s future, absolute, and most unbearable judgment is coming.
Faith in Christ Together with Repentance from Sin is the Only Hope for Homosexuals to be Spared of Eternal Suffering in a Real Place Called Hell.
Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the Gospel” (Mk. 1:15). In the first sentence, Jesus essentially says, “The long-awaited reign of the sovereign God on the earth has now begun.” And this coming requires a response from people: “Repent and believe the Gospel.” So, what did Jesus mean? I’ll explain the ideas of belief, or faith, and repentance in separate sections, and I’ll clarify the Gospel in both of these sections.
a) The Necessity and Meaning of Faith in the Work of Christ on the Cross.
Paul explains the Gospel, or Good News, in Romans 3:19-25a. We’ll begin by looking at the passage and then we’ll consider how belief relates to the Gospel:
“Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to itâ€”the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”
In other words, because God’s standard is absolute moral perfection, not doing more “good” than “bad” (I use quotes because these terms are most often understood not in relation to God, but in relation to the subjective human understanding of the terms), homosexuals are not able to repair their own condition, thereby making themselves acceptable to God (v3:19-20). As we saw earlier, the inescapable future reality for the homosexual is the judgment of God in a real place called hell.
But God has made a way for homosexuals, despite having broken God’s law by rebelling against and rejecting Him, to be treated as if they have perfectly worshipped God and obeyed all His commandments (v.3:21). Paul tells us that Jesus Christ is the sin-substitute for those who put their faith in the fact that Jesus paid the full penalty of all their sin on the cross and imputed (credited) to the sinner the very righteousness (moral perfection) of Christ Himself, so that the homosexual is treated by God as if he had never sinned.
Faith (trusting Jesus), not one’s own good works, is the only hope of escaping the judgment brought by the rebellion against and rejection of God, which, in the context of this essay, results in homosexuality.
b) The Necessity and Meaning of Repentance.
Jesus, preaching to the people of Galilee, said, “Repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mk. 1:15). Does this mean that belief and repentance are both necessary elements of salvation? Yes, it does. So, what is repentance? To quote Webster’s Dictionary, repentance is, “to turn from sin.” The word carries the idea of turning the other direction. To borrow military terminology, repentance is a spiritual about-face, “The act of pivoting to face in the opposite direction from the original,” where the person who once hated God and loved sin turns away from sin to love God. This means that saving faith is a repentant faith, and these two realities (faith and repentance) may not be separated.
Homosexuals Are Under No More or Less of Godâ€™s Judgment than Anyone Who Has Ever Sinned Against God in Any Way (i.e., Unrighteousness, Evil, Covetousness, Malice, Envy, Murder, Strife, Deceit, Maliciousness, Gossip, Slander, God-Hating, Insolence, Pride, Boastfulness, Inventing Evil, Disobedience to Parents, Foolishness, Faithlessness, Heartlessness, Ruthlessness, and Approval of Others Doing These Things).
Now, let’s the ask the above questions a bit differently: “Is only homosexuality sinful?” “Is it only homosexuality that evidences God’s present judgment and results in God’s future judgment?” “Is faith in Christ together with repentance from sin the lone hope only for homosexuals?” What I’m really asking is this: “Is homosexaulity more condemning, more damning, than other sins?”
For whatever reason, Christians sometimes treat homosexuality as if it were far more damning, far more heinous than, say, disobeying one’s parents or engaging in gossip. But such is foreign to Scripture, as is evidenced in the fact that disobedience to parents, gossip, and the host of other sins listed in Romans 1:18-32 (I quoted them all for you in the wording of #4) fit into the same category with homosexuality (Rom. 1:28-32). It seems crystal clear, then, that Paul did not believe homosexuality to be any more or less damning than slandering homosexuals or boasting in your heterosexuality.
A Look Ahead
Having considered whether the Bible teaches that homosexuality is sinful and how we should view homosexuality, we’ll look in the last post in this series at how the Gospel informs and transforms the way Christians treat homosexuals. I hope you’ll read and dialogue with me in the next post, too.
[…] but please stay with me. I want to invite you to hear me out as I complete my thoughts on this in part 2 and part 3 of this series. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you in the comments […]