The Struggle with Homosexuality

“South Africa’s iconic retired archbishop, Desmond Tutu, said on Friday that if he had his pick, he’d go to hell before heading to a heaven that condemned homosexuality as sin.  “I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this,” he said, by way of denouncing religions that discriminate against gays, in Agence France-Presse.  He added, AFP reported: “I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place.”  He made the remarks during the United Nations’ launch of its gay-rights campaign in Cape Town.  Mr. Tutu also likened equal rights for gays to the fight for equal rights for blacks.  “I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid,” he said, AFP reported. “For me, it is at the same level.”  [1]

“…Armed with the latest surveys, along with personal testimonies from friends and readers, I explain how young adults perceive evangelical Christianity to be too political, too exclusive, old-fashioned, unconcerned with social justice and hostile to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.  I point to research that shows young evangelicals often feel they have to choose between their intellectual integrity and their faith, between science and Christianity, between compassion and holiness.  I talk about how the evangelical obsession with sex can make Christian living seem like little more than sticking to a list of rules, and how millennials long for faith communities in which they are safe asking tough questions and wrestling with doubt…We want our LGBT friends to feel truly welcome in our faith communities.”  [2]

“Pope Francis reached out to gays on Monday, saying he wouldn’t judge priests for their sexual orientation in a remarkably open and wide-ranging news conference as he returned from his first foreign trip.  “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis asked.”  [3]

1 Corinthians 6:9-10
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived.  Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Was Paul ‘homophobic’??  And, because traditional Christian faith is based heavily on his writings, is it also ‘homophobic’?  Is the Bible ‘homophobic’?  If so, is it because it’s intentionally evil; or is it just misguided, outdated, and in need of revision?

Is homosexuality a civil rights issue, or a sin issue?  Is it better for a society to have laws based on the Christian ethics of the Bible, or some other set of beliefs (even atheism)?

If ‘Christianity’ does not agree with the Christian Bible, then is it still ‘Christianity’?

There are obviously quite a few items in Paul’s list above…

‘Covetous’ – I would say that covetousness is probably America’s greatest national sin, and one of mine.

‘Drunkards’ – Alcohol is quite an industry; according to the internet there are over 70,000 bars employing about 376,000 people and generating 20 billion dollars of revenue per year in the United States.[4]

‘Adulterers’ – In Matthew 5:28 Jesus said that if someone looks at a woman in lust, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

It’s a glaring, obvious truth that all human beings are sinners.  Some may hide it better than others, but all human beings struggle with sin.  That’s why the whole world needs Jesus.  He died on a cross because of our sins, and He rose from the dead to free us from our sins.  Without Jesus we are going to hell, regardless of what sins we struggle with.  With Jesus as our Savior, we are going to heaven, regardless of what sins we struggle with.

When Jesus is our Savior, we will understand that He defines what sin is.  When Jesus is not our Savior our culture, or we ourselves, will define sin.

It is very humbling to believe this; some will and some won’t.  But that’s true Christianity.  No one who receives Jesus and struggles against their sins will be denied by Him.  But, those who don’t receive Him are choosing to live eternally without Him, in their sins.

Recognizing my sin is very humbling.  I would never have a covetous-pride march, or an adultery-pride march, and I wish there were no gay-pride marches.  I am a sinner, and I am not proud of my sins.  I want to get better and stop sinning.

Homosexuality is included on the list above written by the Apostle Paul.  He probably wouldn’t be too popular if we were alive today.  But, it’s not just Paul – homosexuality is stated throughout the entire Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments, by many different authors, as being a sin.  If every author that called homosexuality a sin was censored from the Bible, the New Testament would consist of only one Book – James.  The Old Testament would be without Moses (the first 5 Books), Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Amos, Zephaniah, and the author of Judges (Samuel?).  Even Jesus said that Sodom was destroyed by fire from heaven in Luke 17:29, acknowledging God the Father’s judgment on that city.

So, a very hard question we need to answer is, ‘do I believe that the Bible is true, or is it filled with errors?’  If it’s true, and if God is as strong as He says He is, then with His help we need to try to obey it.  If it’s filled with errors, then we need to do our best without it, and try to rely on the smartest and best of mankind to chart the best course for our lives.  I obviously believe that the Bible is true, which would bring me the label from some as being a ‘Bible Thumper’.  Is that a bad thing, or a good thing?  I don’t like being called a ‘Bible Thumper’, but I believe it’s a good thing if that means that I believe in a loving God, Who at the end of the day wants what’s best for me, and for all people.

The Bible clearly says that God in His wisdom determined that marriage should be between one man and one woman, for as long as they live on this earth.  He determined that this would create the healthiest adults, healthiest children, and healthiest society.  Some of the results of other lifestyles is that about every 11 minutes, someone contracts AIDS in America. [5] About every 33 minutes, somebody dies from AIDS in America.[6]  And about every 26 seconds, a baby is aborted in America.[7]  These truths provide tragic evidence that men’s solutions aren’t better for people than God’s are.

Actually, society has had about 2,000 years to come up with better ideas than Jesus had, that are better and healthier for people and society.  Do you honestly know of any such ideas?  I don’t.

I’m sure that the struggle with homosexuality is very hard, because of the stigmas that society places on it.  Almost everybody is covetous, and almost everybody has lustful thoughts at times.  But because those sins are more main stream, I think society tends to accept them.  Also, I’m sure it feels very unfair, because sexual pleasure among mature adults is one of the greatest enjoyments of this life.  And so, I would guess that someone struggling with homosexuality would feel that their predicament is very unfair, or perhaps that God just hates them.  But, just because we struggle with sin doesn’t mean that God hates us.  It means that because of Adam and Eve’s sin, we are all flawed with regards to God’s sinless perfection.

Some believe that God created them to be homosexual.  They have felt those tendencies from very early childhood.  The problem is that if that is true, then the entire Bible is filled with mistakes, because as we mentioned previously homosexuality is called a sin throughout the Bible.  So, a tough decision that every human must make is – ‘do I believe that the Bible is God’s error-less Word, or not?’  I obviously do, because God has used His Bible to radically change my heart and my life.  So, I cannot dismiss it.

Some children are actually born with both sets of genitals (termed ‘intersexual’); surgery is performed, and the child is raised as a male or female.  I believe that this is due to the sin that entered the world through Adam and Eve’s sin.  The world we live in today is not God’s perfect, unblemished Garden of Eden.  It is a fallen, imperfect place, filled with genetic mutations of all kinds.  From the moment we are born, the clock begins ticking toward our eventual death.  In today’s world everybody is born with genetic challenges of one sort or another – I am very near-sighted for example.  There are many genetic disorders today, and until the end of time they will continue to get worse and worse.

Is being born an ‘intersexual’ fair?  (Or, how about being born with Down’s Syndrome, or blind, or too small, or too big, or…unfortunately I think the list is endless.)  It’s hard to determine degrees of fairness.  I’m sure that although some are born ‘with silver spoons in their mouths’ while others are born in war-torn refugee camps, every human will ultimately face many ‘unfair’ scenarios in their lifetime.  That’s why I’m glad that this life is just ‘a moment in time, a sliver in eternity’.  I’m going to heaven forever; and that’s where my head is at, and where my heart is.  That’s the place where things are fair.  I wish that life on this earth was fair from my human perspective; but it’s not, and it never will be.

It is not possible for humans to reach sinless perfection this side of heaven.  If someone struggling with homosexuality can’t be saved, then a covetous guy like me can’t be saved.  My sin is in the same list (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 above) that homosexual sin is.  What makes my sin any better or worse than anybody else’s?  But, because I struggle with being covetous, and I’m saved, I have to conclude that all people struggling with all types of sins can be saved.  The crucial issue is, do I acknowledge my sin, have I given it to God, and do I love Him more than my sin?   If so, God is in the miracle business, and He is faithful to work on us, and change us.

1 John 1:8-10
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.”

I’m a sinner, and I admit it.  But my faith is not in me – it’s in Jesus, and because of Him I’m going to heaven.   I’m not playing word games or technicalities with Him.  I’m coming to Him on His terms.  I’m a sinner that knows my weaknesses, and I know that He is my strength and my Lord.

I know Jesus well enough to know that what He offers me is better than the sin that He knows will ultimately destroy me.

Because I have received Christ as my Lord and Savior, I believe that if I were to die at the same moment as I was having a covetous or lustful thought, I would go straight to heaven.  I wouldn’t want to meet Jesus in that way (I’d actually be pretty embarrassed), but because I’m His, I’d be ‘in’.  Likewise, a ‘saved’ person struggling with homosexuality that died one night in bed with their partner, could go straight to heaven and be welcomed by Jesus.  I guess the main points would be:

(1)        We very much don’t want these scenarios to occur.

(2)        If we’re truly His, then we are not proud of our sin.  When we slip up, we repent and ask Jesus to help us not live in sin any more.  Proverbs 24:16 says “…a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again…”  ‘Seven times’ is a Jewish expression for ‘an innumerable number of times’.

Change is often a slow and painful process.  We can wrestle with sins for years – sometimes for our entire lives.  We unfortunately are inherently weak.  We are not born with godly character – we need to overcome our weaknesses in order to attain it.  But, though it is difficult, attaining good change is one of the most rewarding things that this life has to offer.  It’s so much better than living defeated by our sins.  There is an exhilaration when we know that we are growing stronger.  For a Christian, there is an exhilaration when we know that we are becoming more like Jesus.

After the very first Bible passage at the beginning of this paper which listed many sins that Paul said would cause people to “…not inherit the kingdom of God”, the next verse Paul wrote was…

1 Corinthians 6:11
“And such were some of you.  But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

Perfect, sinless, loving Jesus died on a cross to cover my sins.  Paul also wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:21: “For He [God the Father] made Him [Jesus, God the Son] Who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”  When I appear before God the Father someday, He will not regard my sin.  It has been taken away by Jesus, when He paid the price for my sin on the cross.

So, I guess the final questions would be: (1) Whose are you, (2) Who are you, and (3) Who do you want to be?  I belong to Jesus (1).  I’m covetous, but I’m not a ‘coveter’; I struggle with lust at times, but I’m not an ‘adulterer’; those things do not define my life.  By faith, I am a man of God (2).  And, I want to become more like Jesus every day of my life (3).

I’m a child of God.  If you are not, but would like to be, just say a prayer to Jesus something like this:  ‘Dear Lord Jesus, I’m a sinner.  I struggle with sin.  But I want to change.  I don’t want to live for sin anymore – I want to live for You.  By faith, I believe that You are offering me a better life than my sin-filled one.  And by faith, I know that I will live with you forever in heaven.  I receive You as my Lord and Savior. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins.  From this moment on, please help me to live for You.  Amen.’

Now, start reading your Bible, and start attending a good church that teaches the Bible.  If you would like a reference, contact us through our website at https://calvarychapelniagara.org/

If you are a Christian already, then I pray that God will encourage you to live a life that honors Him, and points others to Him.  We are no longer ours, but His.  Be diligent, never stop struggling against sin, and you will receive a rich, eternal reward someday from your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Jesus is helping me and changing me, and making me better.  He wants to help you.  I, and we at Calvary Chapel of the Niagara Frontier, also want to help you, by the power of Jesus Christ, to know and live for Him.

 

May God bless you!
Pastor Mark Siena
7/31/13



[1] http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jul/26/desmond-tutu-id-pick-hell-over-anti-gay-heaven/
[2] http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/07/27/why-millennials-are-leaving-the-church/?hpt=hp_c4
[3] http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/07/29/pope-francis-says-wont-judge-gay-priests/?test=latestnews
[4] http://www.ibisworld.com/industry/default.aspx?indid=1685
[5] http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/statistics/basics/
[6] http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/statistics/basics/
[7] http://www.lifenews.com/2013/07/01/abortion-statistics-1-2-million-babies-die-every-year-from-abortions/

Categories Information | Tags: , , , , , , , | Posted on August 2, 2013

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