Friday, February 24, 2006

Homosexuality, Repentance, Change and Love

If we are convinced that the Bible is right in condemning homosexuality but we struggle with it, then what must we do?

A history of homosexual activity does not prevent a person from coming to Christ and being saved. Yet homosexual behaviour must not continue for the person converted to Christ. Take it from Paul: 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. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

But how are we to repent, endure and change?

Ability to Change
First of all, no one should expect that changing one's sexual desires is an easy matter. All humans should understand, from experience, that sexuality is a deeply-rooted part of the human person, including dimensions and desires that are both conscious and unconscious, voluntary and involuntary, chosen and discovered. Sin has corrupted human sexuality just as the Fall corrupted every other aspect of our being. And everyone's sexuality is fallen - not just that of homosexuals.

Every person, as he grows into adulthood, comes to discover and know a personal sexual profile that includes everything from arousal to activity. At some level, it remains a mystery to us all how we acquired this profile. Those who come to perceive either heterosexual or homosexual desires almost surely did not ask for that pattern of sexual interest, though it may have well been fuelled by early experiences or the surrounding environment.

It is often argued that pre-dating and trumping these early experiences and environmental factors, sexual orientation is fixed, genetically set at birth, and not subject to change. Therefore, forcing homosexuals to change is a form of abuse, flying in the face of and unchangeable fact of their own nature. So when society forced Jack and Ennis in Brokeback Mountain into sham and tragic heterosexual marriages, it simply compounded the problem and spread the pain.

This secular description of homosexual sin is a good reminder not just of the entrenchment of homosexual sin in our lives (if that is an area we struggle with) but the entrenchment of all kinds of other sins in our lives, whether we are heterosexual or homosexual. Sin is deceitful (Hebrews 3:13) and sin has the ability to imprison us. Before we came to Christ, we were indeed slaves of Sin (Romans 6).

We are not to underestimate the power of sexual sin or any other sins. As part of our repentance of our sin and rebellion against God, we are to acknowledge the incredible power of these enslavements and desires, so that we cannot escape from them. However at the same time, we acknowledge one greater power: the redeeming and transforming grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, if we believe in the gospel, we really do believe that it can and will completely transform us sinners, and that the Holy Spirit can and will perform His work of sanctification within the life of the believer. This means that practising homosexuals can really come out of the sin of homosexuality by God's power, like heterosexuals and homosexuals alike can come out of their other sins.

Paul does not consider homosexual activity or any other sin so ingrained in a person's behaviour that there is no escape. The triune God is able to wash, sanctify and justify in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of God. There is a way out from the judgement on all who continue in their sin in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. "That is what some of you were", Paul reminds the Corinthians (1 Cor 6:11). The homosexual and other sinners, by God's grace, can be set free from their sin and sanctified in the name of the Lord Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit. There is hope for those who love and depend on God and seek to keep his commandments.

This does not mean that they will be free from all temptations and will not struggle with homosexual desires. The same is also true for those who come out of other patterns of bondage to sin. But we can all be made whole in Christ.

Opportunity to Change
If the repenting homosexual practitioner is not free from all temptation, will he not be set back by his inclinations to revert to homosexual conduct? What hope does he have? Do not worry, says Paul, As in all cases of temptation to sins, "no temptation has overtaken us that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let us be tempted beyond our ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that we may be able to endure it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Temptation is Not Sin
Temptation, it should be noted, is not the same as sin. Even if homosexual acts are wrong in God's eyes, it is not sinful to be tempted to make love to someone of your own sex – unless, of course, you go on to perform the act mentally (see Matthew 5:27-28 where Jesus has heterosexuals in his sights).

Love Not Ostracism
If we are heterosexual Christians and we ostracise our homosexual neighbours simply because of the pattern of temptations they experience, then we are very confused and very wrong. (David Field)

Like all other sinners who have been saved by grace, those who once indulged in homosexual behaviour but have since repented of it are to be welcomed as part of the body of Christ (Rom 15:7, 2 Cor 2:5-11).

We all share in the fallenness of this present world order because of our rebellion against God. For that reason, homosexual behaviour is not more heinous than other sins (though it may hurt the sinner himself/herself more because it is done to the body), which reflect the world in opposition to God. Accordingly, there is no justification for the persecution of such persons who still bear the image of God, despite their sinful behaviour.

As Helmut Thielicke so long ago observed:
The predisposition itself, the homosexual potentiality as such, dare not be any more strongly depreciated than the status of existence which we all share as men in the disordered creation that exists since the Fall. Consequently, there is not the slightest excuse for maligning the constitutional homosexual morally or theologically. We are all under the same condemnation and each of us has received his "share" of it. In any case, from this point of view the homosexual share of that condemnation has no greater gravity which would justify any Pharisaic feelings of self-righteousness and integrity on the part of us "normal" persons.
Love Not Universal Acceptance
Some Christians have swung to the exact opposite error of not speaking of homosexuality as a sin at all, for fear of offending those who struggle with it. Since we all fall short of the glory of God, let us not speak of sin, they say. Who are we to judge right and wrong? The church is to be a place of love and peace.

Suffice to say, there is no scriptural basis for this action neglect. Instead, we know right and wrong from what is written in the Scriptures, and we are to rebuke and correct one another, so that we do not fall prey to false teaching (Titus 1, 2 Timothy 4) so as to present each other perfect in Christ on the Last Day (Colossians 1:28). To ignore each other's sin under the banner of false love would be equivalent to neglecting to alert our neighbour that enemy hordes have marched up to his gate at night and are scaling rope ladders thrown over his parapet, all in the name of letting him have a good night's sleep. How heinous a crime that would be!

Christians will never be free from sin in this world. Occasions of homosexual behaviour, do not therefore, exclude one from the kingdom of God any than occasions of theft or murder. What is imperative for Christians, however, is the acknowledgment that such acts are sinful and deserve God's judgment. Unless we repent of all sinful activity, we will be excluded from the kingdom of God. God's grace is sufficient to renew and sanctify all who turn to Christ, even those who fall into sin, time and time again. However, for those who choose to disobey God's commandments wilfully and deliberately, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins (Heb 10:26).

************

I. Project Shop Blood Brothers Cafe The Bible On Homosexuality (Blood Café and Whether Homosexuality is Wrong)
II. merge lane Beyond Proof Texts, Sex, God's Sex Manual and Homosexuality
III. Pancakes - side view The Turquiose Room, Mardi Gras, Shrove Tuesday and Arguments for Homosexuality
IV. Homosexuality, Repentance, Change and Love

4 Comments:

At February 28, 2006 9:40 am , Anonymous Pancake lover said...

How does this work out in practice? I know the bible tells us certain things are wrong. Sorry to sound rude, but these things are easier said than done. How I wish if I said to a sin "be gone!" it would just go away!

p.s. Happy Pancake Day!

 
At March 01, 2006 1:27 pm , Blogger sherry40 said...

In another forum the issue of homosexuality came up. This was my answer and feel free to disagree with me.

My Father who lives in Heaven, My Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit who live in me does not share the same blind hatered that many have of those who are different.

one person mentioned a couple of verses that have clearly been taken out of context. you mentioned Galatians 5:19-21 and Corinthians 6:9-10. In both examples paul is talking about the differents of the sinful nature vs the spiritual nature. He calls upon us to put to death all of the deeds of the body not just a select few. Now if homosexuals were first on his list of people not getting into heaven then why does it say

John 3:16-18 (NIV)

16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[c] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.[d]

In these verses it clearly states that all who believe shall be saved not just the ones who were good enough or who some how managed to stay sexually pure.

In Galatians it lists sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. So in Gods eyes rage, envy drunkeness along with sexual immorality is just as bad as homosexuality.

In 1 Corinthians 6 it states :

9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And that is what some of you were. 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.

Again drunks, slanderers or swindler are listed along with homosexual offenders. And it also goes on to state that some of them were like that but that they were justified and sanctified in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you see a pattern here as I surely do. God hates all sin, all of the deeds of the human nature the same.

To single out one sin and put it above the rest creates a situation where Gays and Lesbians feel singled out by us and creates a situation where they feel hatered from us and therefore are not going to listen to any one because of it.

Do you want their blood on your hands because of your blind hatered? I don't. You can't reach people who you hate and we are told to love all equally.

Concerning the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah Their sin was so much more than homosexuality as indicated in Romans 1:21-25 and Jeremiah 23:13-14. They neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, They prophesied by Baal and led Israel astray and they committed adultery and lived a lie and They strengthen the hands of evildoers,so that no one turns from his wickedness.

Would Jesus approve of all of your actions and hatered of these people? If Jesus was around us today who would He be having supper with? Read the verses below and reconsider the errors of your ways.

Job 38:2

"Who is this that darkens my counsel
with words without knowledge?

John 8 (NIV)

1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them.
3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group
4 and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.
5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?"
6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.
7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."
8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 t this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.
10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
11 "No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

and again

Mark 2 (NIV)

15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.
16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the "sinners" and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: "Why does he eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"
17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.

Refrences to original verses:

Galatians 5:15-30 (NIV)

15 If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other

Life by the Spirit

16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions
21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

1 Corinthians 6 (NIV)

Lawsuits Among Believers

1 If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints?
2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?
3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!
4 Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church![a]
5 I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers?
6 But instead, one brother goes to law against another—and this in front of unbelievers!
7 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?
8 Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.
9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And that is what some of you were. 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.

Sexual Immorality

12 "Everything is permissible for me"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"—but I will not be mastered by anything.
13 "Food for the stomach and the stomach for food"—but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.
15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never!
16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh."
17 But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.
19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Romans 1:10-26 (NIV)

God's Wrath Against Mankind

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness,
19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools
23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts.Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.

Jeremiah 23:13-15 (NIV)

13 "Among the prophets of Samaria I saw this repulsive thing:
They prophesied by Baal
and led my people Israel astray.
14 And among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen something horrible:
They commit adultery and live a lie.
They strengthen the hands of evildoers,
so that no one turns from his wickedness.
They are all like Sodom to me;
the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah."
15 Therefore, this is what the LORD Almighty says concerning the prophets:
"I will make them eat bitter food
and drink poisoned water,
because from the prophets of Jerusalem
ungodliness has spread throughout the land."

May God bless you and keep you always.

 
At March 01, 2006 10:15 pm , Anonymous ~wb said...

sherry40- if u actually read what the shadow man wrote, u'd realise he doesn't hate gays at all. he says all sins are condemned by god and homosexuality is one. i wonder who is being judgmental here. encourage u to read all 4 parts of his series.

 
At March 23, 2006 12:35 pm , Blogger Lisa said...

I'd just like to point out that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality.

The word "homosexual" does not appear in any Bible prior to 1946.

Christians are called to follow Christ... not Paul nor the laws in Leviticus.

It's ok to state that the blogger doesn't dislike homosexuals, but suggesting that Jesus condemns homosexuality is nothing but incorrect.

Of course, everyone is entitled to their own interpretation. If I were a Christian, though, I think I'd play it safe and stick to the stuff written in red... probably the only time I'd take the conservative approach, but seems logical. :)

 

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