Over the past two decades, and especially in the last five years, our American society has grown more content to see homosexual relationships as culturally and morally acceptable. A Gallup Poll taken last year shows that over half of the people surveyed since 1999 believe that homosexual relationships should be legal, while 42% were convinced that homosexual relationships should not be legal. As the years went on, the acceptance of homosexuality grew more and more each year. Back in 2007, 59% believed it should be legal, while 37% believed it should not be legal. Last year, 68% of the people surveyed believed gay and lesbian relationships should be legalized while only 28% believed they should not be legal. Another question Gallup surveyed was whether or not homosexual relationships were morally acceptable. In 2001, 40% said it was morally acceptable, while 53% said it was not. Back in 2007, it was almost an even split – 47% said it was acceptable and 49% still held that gay and lesbian relationships were not morally acceptable. However, last year, one can see a drastic growth in public acceptance: 60% believe homosexual relationships are morally acceptable, but only 37% believe it is not. Below is a graph that Gallup created based on the survey:
With the increase of America’s cultural acceptance of homosexuality, Christians need to have a more biblical understanding and compassion when it comes to homosexuals and how we are to treat them. It is very clear to see that the views and opinions have changed dramatically in recent years on this issue. This cultural shift is affecting many areas of our society and even has us questioning what it means to be “male” and “female.” But gender identity is not the focus of this blog post and neither is the biblical stance on homosexuality. If anyone has a good and basic grasp on what the Bible says about homosexual relationships, they are aware that the Bible says it is morally wrong and is identified as a sin that is rebellion against God and His original design for mankind. What I want to address in this two-part blog post are two main things: 1) Can homosexuals be saved and if so, what does it look like, and 2) How should Christians in the church treat homosexuals and Christians with a homosexual past; part one of this post will address the former question and part two will address the latter.
*For communication purposes, when I use the term “homosexuality,” I mean one who is sexually attracted to another person of the same sex and identifies as a practicing homosexual person.*
Can homosexuals be saved and if so, what does it look like?
According to the Bible, “all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemes they utter,” (Matt. 12:31-32, Mark 3:28-29) except, Jesus states, the blaspheming of the Holy Spirit; meaning a refusal to believe the truth about the Holy Spirit and all the He teaches in the Bible. Simply put, the only sin that Jesus will not forgive someone of is the sin of refusing to continually believe in Jesus’ gospel and having a lifestyle of rebellion against Him. The only unforgivable sin is unbelief.
Now, if homosexuality is a sin, (of which it is stated as such here and in other passages of Scripture: Lev. 18:22, Rom. 1:26-27), and all sin but unbelief can be forgiven, then homosexuals can indeed be saved. But what exactly are they being saved from? Is God saving them from their homosexuality because it is so abominable? Is God saving them from homosexual intercourse because it is “contrary to nature” and is a “shameless [act]?” By all means no! God does not save homosexuals from homosexuality any more than He saves a thief from stealing, or a liar from lying. God saves homosexuals from Himself and His holy wrath against their sin. All sin, no matter what kind of sin, is a type of manifestation of man’s rebellion against God. Homosexuality is just one form of rebellion against God out of many various kinds. Homosexuals need to be saved because they do not believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ and have not repented of their sin, not because they are homosexuals.
So, if homosexuals can be saved, then what does that look like for them? What would it mean for a new believer who used be a homosexual to live a “life worthy of the calling of Jesus?” Salvation for a homosexual looks just like any other sinner’s salvation – one who is saved by grace through faith. And, just like any other Christian who still struggles with their old sins and temptations, same-sex attracted believers will still struggle with their same-sex attraction, (unless God has sovereignly chosen to take away those desires completely, which seems to be a rarity). Most former homosexuals I have met, read, or listened to have explained to me that they are still sexually attracted to the same sex, but the difference now is that they know it’s wrong and they are fighting to kill that sin in their life. There is now a struggle in their lives with this and their struggling is a good thing. To struggle with being attracted to the same-sex means that one is not giving into temptation anymore. It means that they know and understand God’s original design for their lives is to honor God in their bodies and to not lust after the same sex.
It does not mean, however, that their pursuit of godliness and holiness means they are pursuing heterosexuality. Godliness does not mean heterosexuality, but rather it means obeying what God says in the Bible and living a life to the glory of God, being conformed into the image of Jesus Christ. God never says that one must be sexually attracted to the same sex in order to please Him. But what does He say instead? He says to “glorify God in your bodies” and to “flee from sexual immorality,” because we “were bought with a price,” (1 Cor. 6:17-20). Some same-sex attracted Christians fight their evil desires by choosing to remain celibate and single, making their local church their new family. Others, God has allowed to fall in love, marry, and start a family of their own. Neither way is sinful or better than the other. Both are graces of the Lord to help these Christians kill sin in their life and to glorify Him.
There is a lot more I could say on this matter, but I will conclude for now. Homosexuals can be saved just like any other sinner can – and God has saved many homosexuals over time! In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul lists many kinds of unrepentant sinners that God will not allow into heaven and homosexuals are listed among them. However, Paul does not stop there. He says, “And such were some of you. 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.” God says right here that He does save homosexuals and that He has been doing so for thousands of years! How cool is that?! There is no sin that is outside of God’s grace. Anyone, even homosexuals, are loved and saved by God almighty. Praise be to God!