What does the Bible actually say about Homosexuality?
There are many hot topics within culture that find their way into the church in today’s society. Some of these include mental health, immigration, politics, injustices, and equal rights. Although many of these topics stem from a broken world, it’s important that the church responds and takes a charge on bringing light to these societal issues. The subject of homosexuality is very relevant in today’s society and even today’s church. Can you be living as a homosexual and still be a Christian living for Jesus? As we dive into these hard questions and what the Bible has to say about it, I will proceed to answer from a theological standpoint.
Approximately 326 million people reside in the United States alone, and about 3.8% of them, or 12,388,000 people identify as homosexual (Gallup). In my opinion, many of these people will identify as Christians and claim that homosexuality is a sin that is covered by grace through Jesus. Although Jesus came to fulfill the law, he is very direct in explaining obedience to God.
Starting in Genesis we can see the intentions that God has for creation when it comes the union between man and woman. God created two genders, that when brought together through sexual intercourse, will produce new life by conception. This model cannot be recreated as it is the only way to reproduce life that God has always used and continues to use as a continuation of His creation biologically. The simple fact that only one man and one woman can physically reproduce to form a child shows us the intention of heterosexuality from God. Without this, human life would have ceased to grow and exist.
We can see that God clearly intended on one male and one female being the only way of sexual reproduction, but what does God say specifically about homosexuality? Matthew 19:4-6 contains a statement made by Jesus which says, “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (ESV, Mat. 19.4-6) Although Jesus isn’t specifically mentioning homosexuality, He is defining God’s vision for marriage by saying a man and woman become one in flesh. Notice that He doesn’t say a man and a man, or a woman and a woman. If God had any other intention rather than heterosexuality, wouldn’t He have mentioned it?
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 clearly lays out an address to homosexuality and many other sins by saying, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (ESV, 1 Cor. 6.9-10). Paul makes it very clear when he says that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God, and then goes on to list a criteria for the unrighteous. It’s important to remember that this is after Jesus, which means this verse debunks the ideology that homosexuality isn’t addressed in the New Testament, or the Bible for that matter.
Focus on the Family wrote an article on homosexuality and made a wonderful statement about the dangers of rewriting scripture, they said, “One of the marks of a Christian is his or her desire to be obedient to Christ’s teaching. Certainly most of us would like to rewrite the scriptures to make life easier. For example, I would change where Christ says that lust is the same as doing the deed. Christianity is a demanding faith. The scriptures define and change us, not the other way around. A biblical sexual ethic does not, indeed cannot, change with the times.” (10 Things Everyone Should Know About A Christian View Of Homosexuality) This article is very accurate in defining the dangers that we face when adjusting the scripture to meet our sins. That mentality is unbiblical, dangerous, and inaccurate.
Jesus came into the picture to do what we cannot do, live a perfect life as the ultimate sacrifice. Through His death and resurrection we have new life, freedom from sin, and can receive His grace, mercy, and forgiveness. This forgiveness covers all our sins, and we have established homosexuality to fall under the category as such. However, does that mean a Christian can remain in sin and not be punished? No, and we see this by Pauls address in Romans 1:26-27 which says, “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.” (ESV). Notice in verse 27 Paul says “receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error,” which clearly proclaims that there will be punishment for those actions.
Ultimately as a Christ follower we are being sanctified into our holiness through the grace of Jesus Christ. Sanctification is a process and part of this process is the Holy Spirit building discernment within us, guiding us to stay away from sin. Choosing to live in any sin as a Christian is not a representation of the sanctification process. This doesn’t mean that Christians won’t stumble, but there is a difference in sinning and trying to justify an action or sin so that you may continue engaging in it. For these reasons, I would question someone’s true salvation if they are satisfied with living in sin through homosexuality. Or any other sin for that matter. After salvation our desire for sin declines and our desire for God increases. Living in homosexuality would go against the very thing Christ died for, and if our love for Christ is true, we should desire to honor Him.
Overall this is a sensitive subject. As Christians we are called to truly love our neighbors whether they are gay or straight, however we cannot teach that homosexuality isn’t wrong as ambassadors for Christ. God is clear on this issue, and we must allow our actions and opinions represent our love for Him.
If homosexuality is a sin in the eyes of God, now what?
Angela Calabrese, Executive Director of Forever Changed Ministries adds to the above article written by Stephen Dennis. She addresses some practical questions if you yourself are struggling with this sin or you have a loved one struggling.
I think Stephen did a great job of bringing up some scriptures that allow us to understand God’s heart toward homosexuality. God wants us to be in heterosexual relationships. Period. End of story. We can’t change the Bible based on our current realities. Some existing realties may be; culture saying “it’s not a sin, it’s love and it’s right”, or you yourself are “in-love” with an individual of the same-sex, or perhaps a close family member or friend identifies as a homosexual. These examples of currently common situations do not give us a free pass to re-write scripture. Now that we understand what God has to say about it, two questions I would like to try and further address are:
1. How does God call us to live if we ourselves are currently in this struggle?
2. How does God call us to respond if we are walking alongside one who struggles?
Before diving in, it’s incredibly important to remember that as Christ-Followers, our ultimate identity is found in Him. We are not defined by being heterosexual or homosexual. For the Christian, our identity is found solely in Jesus Christ.
Let me address the first question. What if your a Christian but have homosexual desires? Now what? I think this is a very important question to answer. Many Christians understand it is an unholy desire. However, many Christians do not know what to do or say if they themselves or a loved one are continuously having these homosexual feelings, thoughts, and attractions. Having had a struggle with same-sex attraction myself, hopefully I can shed some light from one who has walked in those shoes and some practical advice on how to move forward as a Christian.
As a true Christian, we have a desire to please God. But what if our natural thought pattern does not line up with the Word of God? Well, that is the battle for all of us as Christians since the fall in the garden. Homosexuality, I feel, sometimes is singled-out as one of those “extreme sins”. I think so much attention is brought to this sin because of the current events of today. For instance, you don’t have many people trying to normalize greed, excessive anger, or adultery. But you do have many passionate advocates trying to normalize homosexuality.
The fact of the matter is a homosexual thought, an adulterous thought, a greedy thought, a jealous thought, an idolatrous thought, a deceptive thought, an unholy hateful thought, a worrisome faithless thought, a selfish thought, a prideful thought are all contrary to the way God calls us to think, and ultimately act. We all have the duty of taking control of our thoughts and not letting them run wild on us.
How does God want us to think? Let’s look at a few scriptures together on the mindset we as Christ Followers ought to have:
- Set your minds on things above, not earthly things. (Col. 3-2)
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. (Prov. 3:5)
- Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable,- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy— think about such things. (Phil. 4:8)
- They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph. 4:19-24)
- We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5)
- And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you. (Rom. 12:2)
- Be still and know that I am God. (Ps. 46:20)
We can consciously direct our sinful and toxic thought patterns toward wholesome healthy thoughts that please God. We have all heard the saying, “whatever you feed grows.” This is true with any sinful thoughts listed previously. Therefore, in regards to sexually impure thoughts, if you look at porn, if you fantasize about someone who isn’t your spouse, or if you sexually think of someone of the same sex continuously, it will take over your mind. It will take over your life. Dwelling on these thoughts will eventually become a habit that seems uncontrollable because the sinful desire that was originally a “passing thought”, was nurtured and fed. This impure sexual thought has now become a debilitating secret thought-life that consumes every ounce of you. However, if you resist these thoughts, renewing your mind according to scripture, you will be tempted less and less. I promise you that. I am a living testimony of God’s healing power over sin. My sinful thoughts do not control my life anymore. A sinful homosexual thought may enter my mind from time to time, but I now have the strength in Christ to quickly dismiss the thought and refocus on Him and all that He has generously poured out onto me. The thoughts rarely emerge and victory in Christ has become the new anthem of my life.
Capturing your thoughts requires stillness. It requires prayer. It requires a heart focused on songs of praise. Renewing your mind requires in-depth scripture reading and memorization. Who is God? Who does God say I am in Christ as His new creation? What is the calling on my life? You can spend your entire life diving into scripture answering these questions that will feed your soul and give you all that you need to live this life victoriously and abundantly in Christ. (John 10:10)
You may struggle with homosexual thoughts all your life but choose to never act on them while living a life of singleness and abstinence. Or like me, you may have a desire for a marriage that God intends. If that’s the case, my biggest recommendation is do not follow your “feelings”. Do not believe what the world tells you love is. Most “love” the world is drawing our attention to is simply sexual arousal. But God defines love much more deeply and calls you to that love. Because even in a heterosexual relationship, sexual arousal comes and goes. It is part of it, but it is not the only defining aspect of a marriage. Dig into scripture on what God says love is. Lead your heart and mind intentionally, and your feelings will catch up. In case you’re wondering, I have an ever-growing love toward my husband Rob and enjoy sex with him. It wasn’t always this way, but God is faithful and blesses obedience.
Oh, and don’t think I forgot the second question:
How does God call us to respond if we are walking alongside the one who struggles?
Well, the answer is right there in scripture:
1. LOVE THEM WITH GRACE & TRUTH (Jn 15:12, 1 Jn 4: 19-20, Rm. 12:10, Gal. 5:14, 1 Cor. 13:4-7)
2. STAY IN PRAYER FOR THEM AND BELIEVE IN GOD’s POWER (Mt. 7:7-12, Jm 5:16, 1 Tim. 2:1, Phil. 4:6, Rm. 8:32)
3. REMEMBER YOUR OWN SIN AND HAVE COMPASSION (Eph. 4:32, Mt. 7:1-6, 1 Pt. 5:5)
I hope this helped you or a loved one. I’ve prayed for everyone who has read this blog and has a heart to please God with their life. I prayed for your healing and victory over sin. I hope you continue to cherish Christ above all and experience great manifestations of His Presence and love for you.
You can also see my video testimony in Season 4 Episode 1.https://christiantestimoniesfcm.com/video-testimonies/am-i-gay-struggling-w-homosexuality-and-near-death-experience-s4e1/