As a result of my last post, “The Bible Says It’s a Sin,” this question came up: How are we as Christians to respond to the growing influence of homosexuality in our culture? A good question and one we need to thoughtfully consider. In the past 20 years, we have seen a massive shift in attitudes toward the subject throughout most of the Western world, to the point that most Western governments support and even promote the gay agenda. This puts the Bible-believing Christian between the proverbial rock and a hard place: the “rock” being the Word of God and the “hard place” being the cultural insistence that any disapproval of homosexuality is the equivalent of racism, bigotry, and hatred, as well as a clear violation of human rights.
What’s a believer to do? First, we need to make sure that we are not overemphasizing the sinfulness of homosexuality. The New Testament writers did not single out homosexual behavior as more sinful than adultery, fornication, idolatry, blaspheme, greed, hatred, or any other specific sins. Paul consistently placed homosexual behavior right alongside a variety of other sins (see Rom 1:29-31; 1 Cor 6:9-10; 1 Tim 1:9-10). One reason they didn’t single it out was because homosexual sex was as common in the Roman world as it is becoming in ours. That has not been the case with us until recently, so we have tended to overreact to homosexuality more than to other sins. Some have thought that Paul identified homosexual sin as more sinful in the first chapter of Romans, but that is not the case. In verses 26-32, Paul is using homosexual behavior to illustrate the inevitable moral insanity and sexual perversity that follows when people, nations, cultures, and civilizations reject the true God.
Second, we must avoid making homosexuality the primary issue because it’s not. The primary issue is sin, and we are all sinners and consequently condemned to damnation apart from Christ. A friend of mine was once approached by a gay man who said to him, “So, I guess you think I’m going to hell because I’m gay.” My friend rightly responded, “You are going to hell not because you are gay, but because you are a sinner who refuses to come to Christ for forgiveness.” It’s true: the one and only sin that sends people to hell is the rejection of the Savior. People don’t end up in hell because they are thieves or covetous or adulterers or haters or homosexuals but because they are sinners; those sins are simply the fruit of the root of sin. God’s way of dealing with sin is to attack it from the root, and that’s the way we are to deal with it as well. Therefore, just as we approach any other sinner who needs Jesus with love, grace, mercy, kindness, and courtesy, we do the same for those living the homosexual lifestyle.
Many who have come to Christ out of the gay lifestyle have shared with me that those who influenced them in their decision for Christ did so primarily through love and patience; they did not focus on the specific sin, but on sin in general. I’m a firm believer, as was Dr. Lloyd-Jones, that conviction over specific sins is better left to the Holy Spirit. When it comes to homosexuality, I think that we are oftentimes guilty of moralizing rather than true evangelizing. It’s perverse, it’s unnatural, it’s wrong, you shouldn’t be that way, we say. But the real issue, regardless of our specific sins, is, “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom 1:18). Thus, the need for the gospel: “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8).
So, back to where I started in the previous post. If you are ever interviewed publicly or questioned privately about homosexuality, remember to communicate these points: The Bible says it is sin, but it’s a secondary issue. It is a symptom of man’s universal problem: that of being dead in our trespasses and sins. The only remedy is the salvation that comes through personal faith in Jesus Christ.