Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Biblical Answers for Queer Questions

A reader recently contacted me concerning the death of a gay friend of his. As is so often the case, nagging questions and nagging people confronted his mind. When dilemmas such as these arise, the Bible is clear: “In the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14).

Thankfully, he heeded the counsel of scripture and found confirmation and comfort. Below is our correspondence. For clarity his words are bold and italicized. May God add His blessing to your reading.
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A gay friend of mine died recently. A couple of people asked me, if he and his partner are Christians, will he go to Heaven??? Because their thinking is they have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior and Jesus forgives all sin, we all sin...
One of the things that many Christians seem to forget is repentance. But at the same time, if I died suddenly, would I have time to repent of my sin, whatever it was that day? God's grace covers a lot…
I told a couple people that God speaks out against sexual sin more than any other sin in the Bible (hope that was right). And of course they remind me that God doesn't see one sin as more than another, sin is sin. One person said we are not to judge. I just need your spiritual knowledge, thoughts and advice.
First, the concept of "accepting Jesus as Lord..." is fraught with peril. Most Christians today think "getting saved" is accomplished by moving from the back to the front of a church and then repeating a prayer. I assure you, brother, changing geography and parroting a prayer never saved a single soul.

What does Christ teach us? "You must be born again." This is the activity of God upon the heart. In salvation, God removes the heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh. Consequently, this inner working of the Holy Spirit results in genuine repentance. (It is impossible that someone should be born again of God but never have repented.)

I could say more...but let's move on.

The notion, "God doesn't see one sin as more than another, sin is sin," is simplistic and entirely unbiblical. Not all sins are the same. Murdering someone in your heart is sinful but it is NOT the SAME as murdering someone in their bed! Right?? Lusting for a woman in your heart is sinful but it is NOT the SAME as physically fornicating, or raping, or committing adultery! Right??

Furthermore, we see a gradation of sin in the Old Testament. A few sins are punishable by death--most sins are not. And Jesus also speaks of sins worthy of "few stripes" and those which are worthy of "many stripes" (Luke 12:47-48). All sin deserves damnation [if we break one commandment we're guilty of breaking the whole of God's law (c.f. James 2:10)]; but not all sins are equally heinous or morally equivalent.

You write: "One person said we are not to judge."

Yet again, this is unbiblical and simplistic. To think is to judge. We make hundreds of judgments every day. To be discerning is to judge. The question is this: What shall be our standard for judging? Jesus condemns "unrighteous" judgment, not "righteous" judgment. God has given us the perfect standard for judging all things: His Word, the Bible.

Therefore, in our judging [which cannot be avoided] we must judge righteously. That is, we must judge all things in accordance to the word of God. The Apostle Paul is unambiguous: "he who is spiritual judges all things" (1Cor 2:15a). 

Thus, the spiritual man judges all things by the revealed will of God, the Holy Bible. We dare not substitute our judgment for His!

You ask: "if I died suddenly, would I have time to repent of my sin, whatever it was that day?"

One thing is certain: We do not live perfectly and so we will not die in a state of sinless perfection. We are saved by Grace alone, through Faith in Christ alone, because of Christ alone, to the glory of God alone.

So the question is not, "When I die will I be sinless?" but rather, "Will I die in my sins?" or "Will I die clothed in the righteousness of Christ?" Thus, the one who is clothed in the righteousness of Christ need not fear death. For the believer, death has lost its sting!

Having said that, those who are truly "in Christ," while we are not sinless, while we do not perfectly obey God in our thoughts, words, or deeds--we do live in what I would call "the obedience of faith." In other words, we do not desire to live in sin. Rather, God has transformed our desires so that we long to please Him.

Now…what does Christ say to His Church concerning the sin of homosexuality? How are we to judge this sin?
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. 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 (1Cor 6:9-11).
Isn’t the text clear? Those who live and die in these sins--or die in any sins--“will not inherit the kingdom of God.” But consider the word of hope: “And such WERE some of you.” There is repentance and forgiveness for these sins to those who are in Christ!

In addition we read:
For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them
(Rom 1:26-32).
Yet again, isn’t this text abundantly clear? Pay particular attention to the last verse: Knowing the righteous judgment of God--we cannot practice such things or APPROVE of those who do.

No, you and I are not the ultimate Judge. Certainly not! But the Judge of all the earth has revealed to us what is and what will be His standard of judgment. You and I are simply called to be faithful and true to His righteous standard.

4 comments:

  1. This brings clarity to a lot of confusion. Thank you for this. Even so-called "mainline" churches want to waffle on this issue, when biblical clarity is what is needed.

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  2. Indeed. This is the issue of the day, it seems.

    Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  3. Thanks for your blog.

    All we can hope is that in his dying moments the Lord in His grace and mercy caused him to believe and repent.

    God bless
    Ross

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