[July 23]-- Straight Talk On Homosexuality, Part Four

1 Cor. 6:9-11

            Today we’re discussing the issue of  homosexuality in the light of what I consider to be the most definitive word on the subject. There’s so much we can talk about concerning this, but I think this short passage encapsulates it perfectly, and it really is a great prĂ©cis on our response to the world.
            Paul was addressing the Corinthian church here, and if you think Vegas deserves the name “Sin City,” it has nothing on Corinth. This was a city filled with sexual immorality, idolatry, crime, and a general “party atmosphere.” For most Corinthians, the word “worship” would be associated with temple prostitution. That’s why Paul’s 1st letter to them talks so much about sex, because there were few members in that church who didn’t come out of a background of that mess, at least all the non-Jewish ones.
            And as you might expect, a lot of believers coming out of that background didn’t come out of it completely successfully. There was actually a member in good standing at their church who was living with his (probably Step-) mother.
            And then we come to today’s passage. Paul tells us straight up: Homosexual behavior is not compatible with being a follower of Jesus. He says that anyone who practices this lifestyle will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
            But. . .

  • He also lists some others sins here: adultery (in other words, heterosexual sin), idolatry, theft, drunkenness, slander, or swindling. Is there anyone who can claim they’re completely innocent of the rest of these? If you’re a guy and give into lust, Jesus says you’re an adulterer in your heart. Yes, an unrepentant homosexual is going to Hell. So are unrepentant liars.
           But you say, “But Keith! Romans one seems to single out homosexuality as particularly heinous. Well, it is singled out. But it’s singled out as a sign of a God-abandoning society and lifestyle. Look carefully at it again and examine the process he describes. Once human society abandoned God and didn’t give him what he deserved, he gave them over to “shameful lusts.” But in vs. 28 he continues and says “Furthermore. . .” they went further and further down this downward spiral, and he then lists a whole host of sins, such as slander or disobeying one’s parents. So the idea that homosexual behavior is somehow more egregious than other sins, particularly other forms of sexual immorality, isn’t in the Bible. Just a reminder: God’s standard is to confine any sexual behavior to marriage between one man and one woman united for life. Anything else is unacceptable to him.

            Now for my next caveat. . .

  • No matter why someone is what they are, they don’t have to stay that way. Apparently some of the believers in the Corinthian church had been involved in that lifestyle. “But [they] were washed, [they] were sanctified, [they] were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” Jesus’ blood covered their sin, both sexual and non-sexual. And not only that, he’d pulled them out of that lifestyle (“And that is what some of you were”). I’ve never been tempted in the area of homosexual attraction, but I have my own transgressions for which God has forgiven me, and I’m still a work in progress. Just when I think I have a sin “handled,” I discover how far I really fall short of where I’m supposed to be. I’m not where I’m supposed to be, but thank the Lord I’m not what I once was, and I’m not what I will be.
          I think the above point needs some clarification as well. Same-sex attraction--in and of itself--is evidence that something has gone seriously wrong with a person's sexual makeup. That means that the temptations attendant to that lifestyle might not go away overnight. Christ can completely and radically change a person at the moment of salvation so that they're never tempted to indulge in a sinful lifestyle ever again. Sometimes he does that. But with most of us, it's an ongoing process with setbacks and occasional failures, no matter what type of baggage we brought with us. 
          Here’s our message to the homosexual, in a nutshell: 1) Homosexual behavior is a sin, and like every other sin, you can’t hold onto it and place your faith in Christ. Believing in him and repentance (resolving to doing things God’s way instead of your way) are two sides of the same coin. Believing in Jesus and being an unrepentant homosexual are incompatible. 2) No matter what you’ve done, Jesus died for that sin, and stands ready to forgive. I deserve Hell as much as you do. My sins cost Jesus his blood, just like yours did. 3) In Christ, using what he's given us, real change is possible. 
          But just like with Alcoholics Anonymous, it all starts with admitting we have a problem. 
          Per usual, the genius over at Adam4D puts it sooooo much better than I can. If I could have 5 minutes to address every gay out there, this would be exactly what I'd like to say
Father God, I deserve nothing from you but judgment, and you’ve given me nothing but love, mercy, grace, and blessing. When I see someone in front of me who’s fallen into a sin to which I’m not tempted, please root out any pride or self-righteousness, as ruthlessly as you need to. 

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