I want to say right off the bat that I am not sitting here writing this as a seminary educated theologian, minister, or even an “ex-gay” spokesperson. I am writing this blog as a real person…. a person who has lived on both sides of the “gay debate.” I’ve walked in the shoes of the one who is angry at Christians, fearful of the Church, and unable to connect the dots as to why their God hates homosexuality. And now I walk in the shoes of the very person I used to mock— the person who loves Jesus, turns from things He hates, and desires for others to do the same.
So many well-meaning Christians have no idea where to begin in talking to gay people about Jesus or how to apply the gospel to that person’s experience. I am in a unique situation – a situation where I understand both the experience of the gay person and what Jesus can do in the life of the gay person (no… I’m not talking about sexual re-orientation!). I write about this issue to both give experiential insight and try to help to answer the big questions of those who genuinely want to reach their gay friends with the gospel.
Probably one of the biggest questions floating around in the blogosphere — and in many minds in the church pews on Sundays - today is: “Can a gay person be a Christian?”
I shared the gospel with a coworker a few months back and her initial response (not even knowing my past/testimony) was, “Well what about gay people? Christianity says that’s wrong and I just don’t see how that can be wrong.” Can a gay person also be a Christian? Well, it first depends on what you mean when saying the word gay. Modern sexual terminology allows room for all sorts of misconceptions, so I want to clearly identify what we’re talking about when we say the word gay. The most common use of the word describes someone who not only experiences romantic attraction toward the same gender, but embraces this attraction toward the same gender as something good and natural, and consequently acts out on their attractions. Since this is the most common use of the word, this is the definition of “gay” that I’m going to go with in this blog.
At the risk of being repetitious, let me say it again: When I say “gay”, I do not mean someone who just experiences romantic attraction toward the same sex—I mean someone who embraces those attractions as a good part of who they are and acts out on those attractions.
What I will say first about the self-identified Gay Christian is that at the very least they are professing a genuine intellectual belief in the true God. The God who made us all, knows us all, and communicates the reality of His existence to us all. He is the One True God who, in the Person of His Son, took on flesh and stepped into our fractured world to make peace by the blood of His Cross. He is the God who died for sinners, welcomes sinners, and transforms sinners. His grace is overflowing. His mercy is incomprehensible. But….in all these wonderful things about God, it’s easy for us to think that His saving love knows no boundaries. If we go back to the Bible, we will see that God’s saving love does have boundaries… or a better word: conditions. And those conditions can be summed up in two things: repentance, and faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible defines legitimate faith as being characterized by a life of repentance – a life of trusting God, putting sin to death, and walking in step with the Spirit (walking as Jesus walked). Sinful men are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8), and that faith produces a life of repentance (James 2:20). True faith holds the hand of repentance – always.
Matthew Vines and everyone else like him can argue all they want that the traditional interpretation of the Bible on homosexuality is faulty, etcetera, etcetera. But at the end of the day, Scripture — even in its original languages and the cultural contexts of the time of its writing — is clear as day that homosexual behavior falls into the category of sin and that a person who has faith in Jesus is a person who also turns from sin. So what does this mean for the person who says they have faith in Jesus but does not turn from what He defines as sin?
I think I know what Jesus might say.
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?”- Luke 6:46
“You will recognize them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”- Matthew 7:20-21
“Unless you repent, you will perish.”- Luke 13:5
Sobering words. Before I go any further I want to be blatantly clear with the gay person or professing gay Christian reading these words… I do love you. Not in a fake, ooshy-gooshy kind of way. I don’t know you…. so I don’t love you like I love my mom or my sister or my friends. When I say I love you, I mean that I genuinely care for you and your soul, and for your struggles in your sexuality and identity that not many people out there understand. Everything I say from this point forward is from a loving desire to see your heart opened to the truths (hard truths) about God, yourself, and your need for redemption and transformation.
If you are currently a self-identified “Gay Christian,” I plead with you to feel the danger and urgency of the situation you’re in. Jesus’ apostles warn that God’s will is for us to abstain from sexual immorality (1 Thessalonians 4:3) and that those who refuse to abstain will not inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Cortinthians 6:9) because they have not done the will of the Father (Matthew 7:21). If the person I just described would be you, then I need to tell you that you are currently under the wrath of God because of your unbelief (John 3:36)… and if you continue on this path, you will experience the torment of His wrath forever (Revelation 14:11). If you do not turn to Christ with a true heart of humility and faith, and stop pursuing the sinful desires of your heart, God will condemn you and He will be just in condemning you. Not because you’re attracted to the same sex, but because you have exalted yourself, your sexuality and your reasoning above the God who made you and cares for you and offers salvation to you.
Please don’t bank the fate of your eternity on the fact that you feel like you’re good with God or you feel like He blesses your monogamous, committed relationship with someone of the same sex. The fallen, sinful human heart is desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9) and can not be trusted. If you feel good participating in what God reveals in His Word to be sin, please don’t take that to mean that it isn’t sin. One of the scariest things God can do is to give us over to our sin and allow us to revel in it and experience no sense of guilt or shame. This path of embracing, celebrating and loving sin is the wide, easy path that Jesus assures us ends in destruction (Matthew 7:13).
Please don’t’ continue to harden your heart against what you know somewhere deep inside of you to be true. Humble yourself. Turn from your sin and follow Jesus! Become a recipient of His saving grace and He will transform you – not necessarily into into a person who is attracted to the opposite sex. That is not the promise of the Gospel. The promise of the Gospel is that what Jesus has done on your behalf is sufficient to clear you of your guilt before God, free you from the power of sin, and free you to know Jesus Christ and enjoy Him forever.
I do know men and women who have (after turning to Christ and pressing in to know Him more on a daily basis) developed somewhat of an attraction for the opposite sex. But there are many, like myself, who haven’t had that happen. But despite my lack of the heterosexual attraction some people think I need to experience “fulfillment”, I have more joy and peace in my life than I have ever had. And that joy increases year after year. Why? Because I am walking in [imperfect] obedience to Christ. I am putting sin to death, seeking the Lord in prayer and His Word, and He is letting Himself be found by me (2 Chronicles 15:2). Jesus has transformed me—not into a so-called “straight” man, but into a man who’s very life, meaning and joy springs from knowing and walking with Jesus Christ. My hope is not in a temporal change in my sexuality, but in an eternal promise that Jesus has saved me and will lead me into a life of indescribable pleasure forever. <—-This is the hope of the gospel.
What the Lord has done for me and countless other “gay” people He will gladly do for you. It’s not too late and you’re not too far gone — don’t listen to that voice in your head for a second. Jesus took upon Himself the wrath of God for sinners—sexually broken, stubborn and prideful sinners — just like you and me. All of your sin, including all the years of justifying your sin and refusing to repent, can be nailed to the Cross and forgotten by God forever if you will just repent and trust in His provision in Jesus Christ. He will then not only clothe you with the righteousness of Jesus and declare you righteous in a legal sense, but He will also treat you as if you were righteous. He will treat you as if you had obeyed as Jesus did. Please don’t harden your heart — but believe.
“The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty…” (Exodus 34:6-7).
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