Is Homosexuality Sin?
“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.”
1 Corinthians 6:11
Yes. The answer to the title of this devotional is yes. Based on the words in the Bible, even in the New Testament, homosexuality is sin. Even if you look at the original Greek text, homosexuality is the context. There’s no getting around it.
The problem is, we’ve made a witch-hunt out of this single sin while downplaying other sins. The very same passages which claim homosexuality is not okay, also says drunkenness is not okay, greed is not okay, disobedience to parents is not okay, the love of money, lying, trading slaves–and many other sins–is not okay.
So why are we not holding all sins to the same standard? Mainly because of traditional poor teaching which focuses on behavior rather than on identity. But also, the neglected half of the gospel which is rarely taught: it wasn’t just Christ who died, we died too; it wasn’t just Jesus who came back to life, we came back to life too (see Galatians 2:20, Romans 6:6-11, Colossians 3:3). What that moment of faith in the Cross does to a person–which is makes them sinless in their spirit, which is the only way God can make His home in our spirit–this is what’s missing from the majority of sermons (see Colossians 1:22, 2:9,10, 1 Corinthians 6:17,19, John 14:20,23).
We focus on this single sin as “one of the worst” because when we don’t understand the New Covenant, we don’t understand what God has done to our spirits: washed them clean by making them brand new (see 1 Corinthians 6:11, 2 Corinthians 5:17).
I was scrolling through Facebook recently when a clip from American Idol popped up, so I stopped to hear this person’s voice. Before singing, he said he’d recently came out, to Katy Perry. “You inspired me to come out.”
Her response was, “I approve of you,” with a nice, warm smile.
This was very genuine on her part. It was sweet and heartfelt. The man blushed and went on to sing amazingly. But for a moment let’s picture this same scenario, only with a different type of sin, rather than homosexuality.
“Katy, you inspired me to cheat on my wife. All these years, from the time I was young, I’ve wanted to sleep with many different women and I’ve finally taken the steps to do so. Thank you for your inspiration to commit adultery, multiple times, over and over. I finally feel like I’m being my true self and not withholding my sexuality. I’m never going back to being committed to one woman. Thank you.”
I understand the first rebuttal to this idea would be, “No Matt, that’s different. He wasn’t born to cheat on his wife.”
How would you know that? After all, this is what he feels about himself. What if he told you, “I’ve always wanted to have sex with tons of women. From the time I was a young boy, I could feel it. My attraction to many different females, my desire to have sex with them, has always been undeniable. Even my mom knew. She said she could always tell. I should have never gotten married to a single woman because I’ve always wanted to sleep with many of them. I can’t fight this feeling. I need to live it out so I can be myself. I don’t care about anyone’s opinion of me. I’m going to have sex with many women, and not my wife.”
If you interviewed an honest person who battles feelings of pedophilia, they would say the same thing, “I can’t help it. I’m attracted to children. This is who I am.” Do you think Katy would have replied, “I approve of you,” had he said this instead of, “I’m gay.”? I doubt she would have.
Nobody is born with a pedophile gene, or an I-must-have-sex-with-a-lot-of-women gene. Nor has there ever been a gay gene found. Instead, it is the influence of the power of sin in each person’s mind which causes sinful desires. Specific sinful tendencies impact humans in many different ways. These tendencies come from the force of sin, hamartia, which entered our realm when Adam decided to no longer believe God (see Genesis 4:7, Romans 5:12, 6:11).
We can hand-pick the sin of homosexuality if we like. We can say a gay lifestyle is worse than all other sins. We can even try to mix the Covenants together–which is impossible–and say God sees homosexual sins as worse than most. But that’s not true. The truth is, on this side of the Cross, anything that is not of faith is sin (see Romans 14:23).
So why does the sin of homosexuality influence some people and not others? To answer that, we could ask some other questions. Why does the sin of alcoholism and drug addiction affect some and not others? Why does the sin of gluttony affect some and not others? Why does the sin of gossip affect some and not others? Why does the sin of legalism and hyper-criticism affect some and not others?
Pornography, greed, jealousy, Mosaic Law observance, adultery (emotionally and physically)–or while we’re at it–opposite sex attraction sins, such as fornication and rape? Same sex attraction, or SSA, would be our modern-day Scarlet Letters if it were up to some devout churchgoers.
They’ll spew, “Don’t defile your body! That’s what the Bible says!” as they go through the line at Burger King for the fifth time this week. They’ll have a third helping of fried chicken, clogging up their arteries–their temple–bite by bite. But the gay people are “worse sinners” and “better repent before it’s too late.” This is the trash that causes us Christians to be hated. This is the trash Jesus would not stand for, and flip a table or two over. He said we will be known by our love, not by our nasty judging of all who don’t sin like us (see Matthew 7:1, 13:35).
We must stop pointing out–judging–and start pointing to the solution: new life in Christ.
An unbelieving person who struggles with homosexuality doesn’t need to be yelled at, “Repent! Or else you will not inherit the kingdom of God!” No. Not at all. They can stop acting on their sexual urges all they like, that still won’t save them. They need new life, Christ’s life (see John 3:16-18, Colossians 3:4, Hebrews 7:25). They need a supernatural death, burial, and resurrection with Christ (see Romans 6:6-11, Galatians 2:20, 2 Corinthians 5:21). This happens from the moment they believe Jesus has forgiven them–not just from gay sins, but from all sins.
“Nope! They still gotta stop practicing sin! That’s what the Bible says!”
Friend, no Christian can practice sin. That’s the whole point behind this word in the New Testament. It’s impossible because we have a new natural practice, which is holiness. Re-read every passage which talks about “practicing sin” with the lens of the New Covenant on. It’s never talking about a Christian because Christians can’t do such a thing because we’ve been born of God. We have God’s own nature. His nature is sinless. This is why we are called His children (see 1 John 3:9, 2 Peter 1:4, John 1:12).
Think about it. A practice is an ongoing thing to get better at something. What does a lawyer do? Practices law. What does a doctor do? Practices medicine, ongoing, to improve at it. Even if they practice for fifty years, they never complete their practice. They’ll always say, “I practice law,” or “I practice medicine.” Not, “I do law,” or “I do medicine.” It’s a keep on keeping on thing. Do more of to improve at.
Christians cannot practice sin, as in, do repeatedly to get better at. We cannot get better at sinning by doing more of it, it’s not our practice. From salvation, sinning is no longer natural to us. To unbelievers? Yes, they love sin, naturally. But we have literally died to the power of sin–hamartia, not the verbs of sinning–and made alive in Christ. We’ve been taken out of hamartia and placed into the Spirit of Jesus, which is spiritual baptism (see Romans 6:3,11, 8:9, Galatians 3:27).
We have inherited the kingdom of God! It is in us as we live and breath! (See Mark 1:15, Ephesians 2:6, 1 Corinthians 6:19).
When salvation happens for a person who struggles with the sin of homosexuality–or anyone–they receive a brand new, perfectly cleansed forever, spirit. Did they get a new brain? No. A new soul? No. They will still have old flesh patterns to overcome by way of the new Spirit within them combined with their new spirit. Their thoughts will be renewed to new truths day by day, moment by moment, from God, “You are my child. You were not recreated to act on gay tendencies. You’ve died to this sin. You are holy.”
It’s not about equality, it’s about new life within.
“Yeah, but Matt, if they still act on those gay tendencies, they are sinning.”
Sure, you are right. But they are not sinful, just like you are not sinful when you act on sin in non-homosexual ways. You were washed. You were justified. You were raised and seated with Christ in heavenly realms–and so were they.
“No way, Matt! They gotta turn from that sinful lifestyle or burn in hell! If they keep sinning they never really got saved!”
Friend, if that’s your theology then nobody has ever really been saved–including you. This makes no sense for a reason: all of us sin after salvation, a lot. Even more, all sins are willful and we repeat our willful sins every day. Our will is involved with each sin we commit. We’re not zombies.
“So are you saying they can still be gay?!”
I’m saying they aren’t gay. I’m saying they are holy saints who struggle with the sin of same sex attraction. Just like I’m not an alcoholic. I’m a holy saint who struggles with the tendency of wanting to get drunk. Although I have over five years of sobriety, give me a 12-pack and watch what happens if I chose to drink it. Sinning. I’ll get drunk. Drunkenness is sin. When it comes to alcohol, the power of sin influences me much differently than others who don’t struggle with drinking way too much, way too often.
However “Alcoholic” is not my identity, and “Gay” is not any Christian’s identity. We are all holy children of God who struggle with _______________ (insert your sinful tendency here), but we are not sinful. Good, bad, or indifferent, we are not what we do! We are who we are by birth! This is why Jesus said, “Don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.'” (John 3:7).
I could still be getting drunk all the time to this day. Would that make me not saved? No. I’d still be saved. Yes, I’d be getting some flash-in-the-pan fleshy thrills from my drinking, but after each episode, drinking would never set right with me. Why? Because it’s not of faith. It’s not authentic. No matter how hardcore my denial is.
Same with homosexuality. A Christian could act on this, even get married and say because they’re married it’s okay, but this still would never set right with them permanently. They have a brand new heart, a spirit which is one with God. God is not okay with homosexuality–nor any sin. Even if they went 45 years living this way, in denial of their holiness by saying it’s not sin, they know it’s wrong. The Spirit bears witness to their spirit (see John 14:26).
The Bible says we’ve become obedient from the heart, that we’ve become slaves to righteousness (see Romans 6:17,18). This means we can’t get away from it. Homosexuality is not righteous according to Holy-Spirit-inspired Scripture. So an inner battle will continue in a person’s mind until they repent–just like any sin. If they continue, their salvation isn’t lost, Christ would have to die for that to happen (see Hebrews 1:3, 7:25, John 14:19). But instead, their peace and purposefulness will be (see Romans 12:2, Ephesians 2:10, Galatians 5:22,23).
Hebrews also tells us God’s laws have been written on our hearts and minds–not Law, as in the Mosaic Law–but laws, lowercase, as in His character and desires (see Hebrews 10:16). We literally want what our Creator wants, and we’ll prove this one way or the other.
A person who struggles with this particular sin can move to an area where it’s socially acceptable, they can follow all the celebrities in Hollywood who claim it’s not sin, they can even watch the shows on TV and Netflix which act as if it’s fine. But we can’t ignore God’s Word backed up by His Spirit within us. He’s got a better plan for all of us, one which isn’t centered around any type of sin.
So today, my friends, know this: Love and respect everyone, no matter their sin. I know this topic is sensitive in our society today, but nobody will care anything about what we have to say if we aren’t loving and respecting them while doing so. Be gentle. Be patient. Be kind. Don’t react to hate when you speak the truth with love. Instead, respond peacefully. Don’t make threats, and don’t tell people what to do. Tell them about what Christ has done for them, because He loves them. The opportunity at being made new through faith in Jesus is available to all who will believe!
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, this is an extremely touchy subject with the culture we live in; I understand that, and I hope these dear readers felt my sensitivity for them as they read this devotional. For a time, you know that even I questioned your Word about homosexuality. I thought, there’s too many people who claim to be gay for this to be right. But your Spirit has revealed that your Word is right, and I was wrong. My friends who struggle with this sin are very important to you, and I know this. Just the same as I’m important to you, even when I struggle with my flavor of sin. Countless amounts of Christians have been so darned rude over this, treating people like it’s a disease, we’ve gotten a bad rap. From the pulpits, angry, grace-confused preachers have not told the truth. They’ve said people must repent of their homosexuality to inherit the kingdom of God, but then lie each week about their own sins which they never repent of. Your Word does not say repentance of behaviors and attitudes saves us, but only repentance of unbelief in Christ as our Savior. When this happens, you give us a new, sinless spirit, and you make your home in us permanently. From then on out, no matter the sin, your Spirit will always counsel us into all truth. But no matter what, you never leave us nor forsake us–even if we struggle with a particular sin for the rest of our lives. We’ll be miserable, but our sinful choices can never override the power of the Cross. We have peace with you forever. Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. Those who are fighting homosexuality, give them peace in knowing they’re spotless because of their one-time faith in Christ’s forgiveness. And for the person struggling with legalism, those who see homosexuality as worse than their own sinful choices, give them peace too. Let them know because of their faith in the Cross, they too will not be judged for their sins, because Christ was already judged. In His name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from my upcoming book, The Christian Identity, Volume 2. Check out my other bestselling books here!