The New Testament on Homosexuality, II
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What does the New Testament Say?
Can a true believer fall into these types of sins? Yes, a true believer can fall into any kind of sin. David fell into adultery and murder. However, those two incidents stand out in his life. He was not continually practicing adultery and murder, then trying to defend it by twisting Scripture to fit his needs. These actions were out of character for King David. He recognized his rebellion to God and repented of his sin. This is how a true believer reacts when he is confronted by the truth of Scripture. David didn’t whine and complain. He didn’t say, “This isn’t fair. I love Bathsheba. Surely God will take that into consideration. Uriah’s murder was an accident. Surely God understands my situation. I mean, the law was written years ago. It is time for God to update His Word.” David didn’t do any of these things. Instead, after he was confronted with his sin he said, “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Samuel 12:13) and repented of his sinful activity.
This raises a serious question concerning the spiritual condition of those who continue to live a homosexual lifestyle while claiming to be believers in Jesus Christ. As we come to the Word of God, we are warned not to be deceived. God has no place in His kingdom for people who reject the truth of His Word. Who am I to judge? I am no one, but the Almighty God determines who enters His kingdom. His Word says those whose lives are characterized by the behaviors listed in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (everyone who has not come to trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ for salvation) will not enter heaven. This includes homosexuals. Can a homosexual who denies God’s Word time after time, and continues to live a gay lifestyle be a true Christian? According to 1 Corinthians 6, the answer is “no.”
Recently, I read an article in which a pastor of a church on the West Coast allowed a young man to be a member of his church while still practicing homosexuality. The young man died of AIDS. Previously the pastor had told him he could not be in leadership in the church, but he could attend the church and still be involved in homosexual activity. In other words, the man was told he could be a Christian and still practice homosexuality. As the Church, how far are we to let that go? We must rely only on Scripture. For example, how much homosexual behavior did Paul allow in the church at Corinth? According to 1 Corinthians, the answer is “none.”
So, what are we to do? Society says, “People are born homosexual. They can’t help who they are.” What is the correct answer? In 1 Corinthians 6:11 Paul writes, “And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.” Praise the Lord. He has given us the answer. Jesus Christ came to earth to wash sinners, to sanctify us, to set us apart for God so we might be declared righteous. Scripture does not say Christ died so we may continue to live in sin, and anyone who says so is in direct opposition to the Word of the Living God.
Don’t miss the beautiful promise in 1 Corinthians 6:11. Paul, writing under divine inspiration said, “Such were some of you.” Were is in the imperfect tense, which indicates a continuous action that occurred in the past. Paul is saying, “some of you lived a life of fornication, adultery, homosexuality, covetousness and drunkenness, but now you are believers in the person and work of Jesus Christ. He has cleansed you of your sin, and you are no longer the sinful person you used to be.” This is why it is an error for someone to say “I’m a homosexual Christian.” That statement is a contradiction in terms. God says when someone becomes a Christian, he is a new person (2 Corinthians 5:17). His homosexual behavior was characteristic of his former lifestyle.
People ask, “But isn’t the issue that we should not practice sin? Does it really matter if someone claims to be a homosexual as long as they are not practicing?” According to Scripture, it does matter. Isn’t this the whole argument of Romans 1? Practice flows out of who you are. When people reject God, activities such as homosexuality flow out of them. God says this type of behavior is an identifying characteristic of those who stand in rebellion to Him and His Word. When a Christian says “I’m a homosexual,” he is actually saying, “I claim to be a person whose normal activity is openly rebellious against God and His Word, but that’s okay because I don’t practice those activities anymore.” If that person is really a Christian, that statement is right. He doesn’t practice that type of activity anymore. However, according to 1 Corinthians 6:11, he can no longer call himself a homosexual. That was his title in the past. Someone who committed murder before he became a believer doesn’t say, “I’m a Christian murderer,” because that’s what he was in the past. His life has been changed. The same is true for all sinful behavior, including homosexuality.
Salvation has been reduced to the point that it is only a word. People say, “that’s great you’re saved, but you’re still a homosexual,” or “that’s great you’re saved, but you’re still an alcoholic.” Statements like these are not found in Scripture. Romans 6:6, 7 identifies what happens when a sinner is saved: “Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.” When we believe in the person and work of Jesus Christ, all that we were before is nailed to the cross at Calvary, along with our old body. We are no longer enslaved to sin. Paul continues in Romans 6:17, 18:”But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”
There are times, however, when our old sin lifestyle tries to rear its ugly head. We have all had this experience. However, the promise God gives us as believers is that we are no longer enslaved to sin. We are enslaved to righteousness. The power of sin to rule our lives has been broken. Sometimes the struggle seems almost too much to bear. As Paul said, “For that which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate” (Romans 7:15). Sometimes our bodies would like to indulge in the sins of the past and taste the sweetness of forbidden waters. Why does a man abandon a lovely wife and have a sexual relationship with another woman? As Proverbs 9:17 declares, “bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
The Puritans called these our “bosom sins.” These are sins that have a special appeal to us. It is much easier, of course, for me to see your bosom sins than it is for me to see mine. We need to be careful that we don’t begin to feel comfortable with our own bosom sins, while we openly attack the bosom sins of others. That does not mean that we are not to take a strong stance against sinful behavior such as homosexuality, but we need to have as much disdain for our own sin as the sins of others.
Paul emphasizes the provision that has been made for our sin in Romans 7. A believer in Jesus Christ has been set free from the power and authority of sin in his life. If that sin is homosexuality, he will be able, by the grace of God, to live a normal, righteous life. This is the reason God makes us “new creatures” in Him. His intention is that we are able to serve Him in righteousness.
How does God allow us to overcome the power of sin? Are we, like the popular television ad says, to “just do it?” In Romans 8:1, 2 Paul says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” The law demanded righteousness, but it could not enable anyone to become righteous. Therefore, the law served to condemn everyone without providing an answer to that condemnation. When Christ died on the cross He provided freedom from that condemnation.
Paul went on to say, “For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:5, 6). The Spirit of God is the power of God given to all believers to live righteously in our earthly bodies. Notice the end of Romans 8:6. Paul said that the mind of the flesh is “death,” while the mind filled with the Spirit is “life and peace.”
The battle between the flesh and the Spirit that we examined at the end of Romans 7 is resolved in Romans 8. God says that the Spirit brings “peace.” Paul continued in Romans 8:8-11, “And those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.”
It should be clear now why it is impossible for someone to say, “I am a Christian homosexual.” A believer is freed from the power of the flesh. If you are not freed from the power of the flesh, that is an indication that the Spirit of God is not in you. If the Spirit of God is not in you, you are not a true believer.
That is the reason homosexuality must be dealt with just as Scripture addresses it-as sin. When we begin saying it is a genetic condition, or a result of the way our parents treated us, we have denied the Word of God. Homosexuality is a sin that is the result of the fallen condition of mankind, but Christ died so that we can have life. We can bow before Him, turn from our sin and cast ourselves on His mercy. He promises that when this happens He will wash us and cleanse us of all our sin. He will remove the power of sin from our lives, even the sin of homosexuality.
By: Pastor Gil Rugh http://www.ihcc.org/
Retrieved from: Bible Bulletin Board http://www.biblebb.com/