Is God anti-gay? Does the Bible condone or condemn homosexuality? All Christians and churches today face the dilemma to choose where they stand on this issue. This week the U.S. Supreme will announce its decision on legalizing same-sex marriage. It’s a really big deal. My sermon on Sunday will address this and I hope this blog post will be helpful as well.
This topic is extremely sensitive for some because they have family members or close friends who are gay or others who think homosexuality is sinful. Some are ridiculed by their friends because of their position to oppose the Bible or agree with it. Some don’t know exactly what the Bible says. What are Christian to think?
Here are some simple directives from the Bible to help. I hope to give more details in my Sunday message.
Christians should not be silent. We should look closely at the Scriptures, grasp what God clearly says, and spread that to the world. Jesus calls the church to be salt, flavoring the culture, and light, enlightening the culture, pointing people around us to God’s truth.
Love our neighbors as ourselves. One of the greatest things the LGBT community (and the whole world) needs from the church is genuine, Christ-like love. Specifically, Christians should not be silent about our love for people just like Jesus was not silent about His love for people. Jesus loved BOTH those who believed Him AND those who rejected Him. Jesus expressed genuine compassion for the young, wealthy guy who rejected Jesus to His face, the entire region full of righteous and wicked, and the city of Jerusalem full of people who killed God’s prophets (Mark 10:21, Matthew 9:35-36; 23:37). And Jesus commands His followers to love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Mark 12:31). That includes even our enemies and those who persecute us (Luke 6:27-28). We are to love them and do good to them.
Make God’s most important message the clearest. Yes, the Bible does address homosexuality clearly. But that is not the main thing it says. The central message of the Bible is this. God made humanity perfect with no trouble or sadness. But it is no longer that way. Sin, suffering and troubles are everywhere you look. But God did something about it. He sent His Son, Jesus into a sin-sickened world to rescue sin-sickened people who need a Savior. All of us have sinned against God and are helpless to make ourselves right with Him. But Jesus died in the sinner’s place to put an end forever to God’s anger and make the sinner right with Him. Homosexuals, heterosexuals, bisexuals, and the transgendered all need Jesus to rescue them from their sin, from lostness and make them right with God. All who will repent and believe the gospel will be made right with God.
Encourage Christians who have same sex attractions. Can a true Christian have homosexual feelings and failures? Yes. Just like a true convert can have lingering struggles with addiction, lying, or heterosexual lust, so can one also have lingering struggles with their old same-sex desires. All believers need to be surrounded by the body of Christ receiving encouragement and help to put their former desires behind them (Eph. 4:22-24). Christians should lovingly come to the aid of their brothers and sisters who struggle, not condemning them but restoring them gently (Gal. 6:1).
The Bible tells us exactly what God says. Homosexuality is a sin. It is very clear in Leviticus 18:22; 20:13, Romans 1:26-27, and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. No one can give these passages an honest reading and deny it. Attempts to twist these texts reversing their meaning all fail. The Bible says what it says. It is the unchangeable word of God. But it is important to point out that homosexuality is not the only sin named in the Bible. Nor is it an unpardonable sin! Furthermore, every single human is guilty of sinning in numerous ways. All of us are doomed to face God’s punishment for our sins unless we repent and trust the gospel.
Don’t be surprised when the world disagrees. We should not be surprised that the world disagrees with what God says in the Bible. It’s not surprising that the world will adopt views opposing God’s commands. When Christians love neighbors and enemies, doing good to them, showing them God’s grace, they will still be hated by non-Christ-followers. Jesus, Himself, the most loving, caring human being ever to live was hated by the world. They crucified Him! And He told us not to be surprised that when we obey Him and love our neighbors, we will be hated like He was (John 15:19-20) because the world does not agree with God and it never will.
Obey a higher authority. Homosexuality and same-sex marriage are on the path to complete acceptance in our society. Since God grants individuals the freedom to disobey Him and make their own laws as they wish, Christians should acknowledge that freedom within their society. They are called not only to love neighbors who disagree but also to be in subjection to and pray for governing authorities who disagree (Romans 13:1-7). However, Christians are called to obey God’s higher authority unswervingly. Loving God means obeying Him though it also means living at odds with the land that we love.
Here are some recommended books that are very helpful on this issue:
Is God anti-gay? By Sam Allberry
The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield
What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality by Kevin DeYoung