What the Bible Says about Homosexuality May Surprise You
Does the Bible encourage hatred toward homosexuals? Much of the problem people have with the Bible on this issue is not what the Bible says, but what people think it says. What the Bible says about homosexuality may surprise you.
I. Homosexuality is not the worst sin
While homosexuality is sin, the Bible does not say it is the worst sin. For some reason, many Christians and churches act as if the sin of homosexuality is the one sin that cannot be forgiven. But the Bible simply lists it along with many other sins. For example, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 lists these sins: “No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or anyone practicing homosexuality, no thieves, greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom.”
Homosexuality is just one of many sins in this list, right alongside thieves, greedy people, drunkards and verbally abusive people, etc. If you cheat on your income taxes, you are just as much a sinner as a homosexual. If you have a drinking problem, you are just as much a sinner as a homosexual. If you yell and scream at your family all the time, you are just as much a sinner as a homosexual.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not denying that homosexuality is a sin. The Bible is very clear on that. From the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19 to the law against sex with the same sex in Leviticus 18:22, to Jesus’ affirmation that sex is supposed to be between a man and a woman in Matthew 19:4-6, to Paul’s lengthy passage in Romans 1:24-27 about how unnatural it is for men to be with men and women with women, as well as 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10, it is clear that the Bible says homosexuality is a sin.
However, nowhere does the Bible say that homosexuality is the worst sin or the unpardonable sin.
If there is any sin that can be called the worst, it would be blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which is a denial of the Spirit’s call to follow Christ, according to Mark 3:29-30.
II. Homosexual feelings are not sinful
Many people with homosexual attractions have felt excluded from the church, instead of helped by the church. But the Bible does not say homosexual feelings are sinful. Feelings are feelings. The sin is in how we act on those feelings. For example, Psalm 4:4 says, “Be angry and do not sin.” Ephesians 4:26 quotes this psalm, again saying, “Be angry and do not sin.” The sin is not the feeling of anger, the sin is what you do with the feeling. Likewise, if a person has homosexual urges and feelings, but decides to abstain from homosexual acts, he has not sinned.
Notice at the end of 1 Corinthians 6:9, it names the sin this way: “anyone practicing homosexuality.” It does not say “anyone with homosexual feelings.” The original Greek refers specifically to partners in the act of homosexual behavior.
This is a very important distinction that has often been overlooked in conservative, Bible-believing churches today. Missing this point has caused many people who struggle with homosexual attractions to assume that they cannot come to faith in Christ. If you are struggling with same-sex attractions right now, please hear me. You can come to Christ. All of us must come to Christ just as we are, and allow God to make us into what He wants us to be.
Conversion to Christ does not mean that homosexual urges will immediately vanish, any more than other immoral sexual urges will vanish when a heterosexual is converted, but it does mean that the homosexual, just like the heterosexual, is called to abstain from sexual relations that are not between a man and a woman married to one another.
III. Homosexuals can change!
Our culture constantly says that homosexuals are born that way. They say that the homosexual did not choose to be that way. They say that it is simply genetic. Is that really true? If all homosexuals were born that way, then shouldn’t nearly all identical twins have the same sexual orientation, since they have the same genetic makeup? Yet research shows that only about half of the time when homosexuals have an identical twin is that twin also homosexual (exodus-international.org/exodus_faqs.shtml).
First Corinthians 6:9-11 lists “practicing homosexuality” as one of the sins that do not inherit the kingdom of God. But the passage also says that homosexuals can change. Notice that verse 11 says, “And some of you used to be like this. 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.” Did you hear that? Paul said, “Some of you used to be like this.” But they had changed! Some of them used to be thieves, but they stopped stealing. Some of them used to be verbally abusive, but they quit yelling at their wives. And some of them used to engage in homosexual acts, but they stopped!
A female Christian counselor I know in Macon, Georgia, shared with me how she talked to a young lady recently who was struggling with same-sex attractions, and the counselor saw God completely and radically transform her. Asked how this happened, the counselor simply said, “by taking her by the hand and walking her to the Redeemer.”
A male Christian counselor I know in the Florida panhandle told me that he has counseled many homosexual men, and he begins by letting them know that he loves them, not in a sexual way, but just wants them to know that he loves them. He says many of them have never had an appropriate love shown to them by a father or another man. He helps them see that our Heavenly Father loves them, and can change them, and he often sees men break down and weep in his office, desiring a change.
If you would like help with same-sex attractions, visit the website of the Restored Hope Network: http://www.restoredhopenetwork.org/.
I knew a man who lost his job and lost his family because he was caught in a homosexual act. He was a believer in Jesus Christ, but he struggled with the gay lifestyle. We had a mutual friend who referred him to me, not so much for counseling as for accountability. He wanted to change, but he needed a healthy relationship with a male friend to encourage him in that direction. So we would meet for breakfast or lunch, and talk, and talk on the phone sometimes. It was hard for him, because he found that the people who accepted him the most were homosexuals, when he needed Christians to accept him and help him to change! Although it was hard, he managed to abstain from the gay lifestyle, got another job, and began to rebuild his life. When he got a better job that required him to move out of state, he brought me a plaque with a rope on it, and said, “Thanks for being there for me when I was at the end of my rope.”
If you are at the end of your rope, the Bible has good news for you. Hang on. Jesus is ready to help you when you are at the end of your rope, if you will trust your life to Him.
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Posted on July 9, 2012, in Apologetics, Books and tagged Bible, emotion, emotions, faith, feeling, feelings, gay, gay rights, homophobia, homophobic, homosexuality, lesbian, lesbianism, religion, sin. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.
Good article brother bob. This is an extremely important topic as our society moves closer and closer to an accepting view of homosexuality, or any ther sin, as normal. The church needs to find a way to address this topic.
Hey Bob, You confirmed many of the beliefs I’ve had on the subject. I’ve been taught by SS teachers that any sin is still a sin. However, when I read how severely God dealt with homosexuality, I wonder if God doesn’t rank it right behind blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Wes
Wesley, I have similar feelings as you when it comes to degress of sin. There are degrees of punishment in hell and rewards in heaven. Grace saves. Sin condemns. Yet, even in our own legal system we recognize degrees of punishment for different crimes. One sin can send a person to hell. One act of faith can result in heaven (Luke 23:42). And to say sin is sin can miss the point. There is sin that leads to being given over by God to a reprobate mind. One can understand if a man steals to provide food for his family. Is this just as bad sexual abuse, rape or murder or the murder of masses? Is it just as bad as stealing a childs’ sucker? Why is it that some say it is? Jesus highly condemned those who might offend little children. Teaching evolution is one of the most wicked things we can do to a child. Are we trying buddy up to every sinner? Are we trying to say, “I’m just bad as you are in the eyes of God?” I do not believe we can justify this by the scripture. I may be just as lost but I may be a worse sinner. Cornelius was a sinner but his righteous acts came to God’s attention. In the same way Moses was forbidden entrance into the promise land. There is no doubt that Jesus can save the worst of sinners and not save the best those with a civic righteousness. That is not the question. Is all sin the same? No I do not believe you can justify that from scripture. But some sins that we deem not so bad may be more highly frowned upon by God. Grace and Peace!
Wesley, I understand your point, as homosexuality is called “detestable” in Leviticus 18:22, but Leviticus 18:24-25 looks back on the sins of incest, pedophilia, an polygamy that are forbidden in that chapter and says that all of those sins have defiled the land, not just homosexuality. Jeremiah 2:11-12 refers to the sin of idolatry as horrifying and shocking, so there are numerous sins that God considers repulsive. The bottom line is that if we commit only one sin, we are guilty before a holy God. James 2:10 says, “But whoever keeps the entire law, yet fails in one point, is guilty of breaking it all.” That is why we must have God’s grace to be saved (Ephesians 2:8-9).
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