Because there are so many questions swirling around this issue, I felt it necessary to address some of the most common ones. This is by no means an exhaustive apologetic on the issues, but hopefully it will be a helpful reference and guide to those who are honestly seeking truth. I desire that my words are read through the heart that I expressed earlier this week. Here goes…Answers to 7 of the most common questions.
1. “Jesus did not speak out against homosexuality, so how can it be wrong?”
You are correct that we don’t have a record of Jesus directly condemning homosexuality. There are many sins that we don’t have a record of Jesus condemning, for instance spousal abuse, drug addiction or gambling. Does this mean that because He was supposedly silent on these issues that we are to believe He affirmed them? Obviously not.
I believe Jesus did address these issue, albeit indirectly, in 4 distinct ways:
1) Because Jesus was a first century Jewish Rabbi He would’ve held to the standard of the Old Testament moral law. In His teachings He always took the ethic of the law higher. His treatment of adultery (Mat 5:27-28), murder (Mat 5:21-22), divorce (Mat 5:31-32), and lying (Mat 5:33-35) give clear indication that he held to all the standards of Old Testament moral law, which would include the prohibition on homosexuality.
2) We get the prohibition for adultery from a variety of Old Testament passages, Ex. 20:14, Lev. 20:10, Deu 5:18, Deu 22:22-24,) as well as Leviticus 18:20. Leviticus 18 is also where we get the prohibition for homosexuality. It makes little sense that Jesus would have embraced the prohibition on adultery and departed from the prohibition on homosexuality.
3) Jesus reinforced that from the beginning God’s intent for marriage was a man and a woman, husband and wife, as long as they were alive (Mat 19:4-6). This is the only pattern that He ever affirmed. Had He affirmed something different surely He would have made that clear.
4) In Matthew 15:19, Jesus condemns all forms of “sexual immorality” as defiling and destructive. As a first century Jew, homosexuality would have obviously been a part of this prohibition.
2. “You can’t use Leviticus 18 as standard because you don’t follow the other parts of the law like the prohibition on shellfish(Lev 11:9-12), using two types of seeds to sow in a field(Lev 19:19), or two types of cloth in a garment(Lev 19:19). Leviticus 18 obviously doesn’t apply any more.
In the Old Testament we find a large list of laws. The key to understanding these laws is recognizing that every law was not written for every person. Some laws were specifically directed toward Israel. These laws did not apply to the other nations. We know that they were directed to Israel because God used the phrase, “Speak to the Sons of Israel, saying…” Here’s a short list of examples in Leviticus: 7:23, 11:2(animals they couldn’t eat), 7:29(peace offerings), 12:2(uncleanness after child birth). These laws were specifically directed toward Israel to differentiate and separate them from the other nations.
Old Testament laws were broken down into three categories: 1) Civil/Judicial – governed the culture of Israel 2) Ceremonial – governed the customs of Israel 3) Moral – governed the conduct of Israel.
The moral laws are where we get the Ten Commandments, as well as the prohibitions for adultery, incest, and homosexuality. While the ceremonial and civil laws only applied to the nation of Israel, the moral laws were universal laws that applied to all the nations. We know this for a couple of reasons:
1) God addressed other nations and judged them because they broke His moral laws. Specifically in Leviticus 18:24-25, He states that He judged others nations for these sins and that He was removing them from their lands as a result.
2) The moral laws dealt with issues of righteousness and justice. The moral laws were based upon God’s character. Just as God’s character is unchanging so are His moral laws.
Though the ceremonial and civil laws only had specific application to Israel, the moral laws were applicable to all the nations and are still applicable today. He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8).
3. “Didn’t Jesus come to over turn the law and institute grace?”
Jesus came to bring grace and truth (John 1:17). In His treatment of the law He offered interpretations to passages that were misused by Jewish Rabbis for their own benefits. He did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it (Mat 5:15). If Jesus’ teaching fully abolished the moral standards of the law then murder, adultery, thievery, blasphemy, etc, would be permissible in the New Testament. That is obviously not the case.
4. “Paul said we’re not under law, but under grace.”
We are under grace, thank God! We live in an hour where we don’t experience immediate judgment for our sin. At this time God is extending to humanity the opportunity to choose righteousness. Grace, however, is not a license to sin. Paul said, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? May it never be! (Romans 6:3)” He also explained, “The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age (Titus 2:11-12).” Grace by no means affirms sin, it calls us out of it, even encouraging us to deny our own desires that we may walk in righteousness. That fact that we’re under grace means that we now have the power to overcome sin. Overcoming sin can be a process. We may fall many times. But it is by grace that we are able to repent, get back up and press into righteous living.
5. “I was born this way”
You were created in the image and likeness of God, just like every other human being who has ever lived. And because of this you are loved by God. However, each of us is part of a fallen human race. Because of our fallen nature we are all in need of God’s saving and delivering power. Because of our fallen nature sin comes naturally. To say that you were “born this way” is to simply agree with the fact of our fallen sin nature and our need for God’s delivering power. In a certain sense we are all “born this way.” We are all born with a tendency toward sin, whether it’s lying, stealing, murdering, or sexual immorality, we are all deeply in need of God’s delivering power to set us free from our fallen state. Despite the fact that there have been many scientific studies on this issue, there has been no conclusive scientific evidence that anyone is “born gay.” We are all, however, born into sin and desperately in need of a Savior.
6. “How can it be wrong if two people truly love one another? Love can’t be denied!”
This sounds so right. I mean, who can disagree that love is to be the governor of all of our actions? Actually, Jesus made a distinction. Jesus placed boundaries on love. “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me (Mat 10:37).” According to Jesus, love can dramatically interfere with an individual’s relationship with God. Two people may have deep love for one another, pledging their hearts in faithfulness; yet, this in itself doesn’t justify a relationship, be it heterosexual or homosexual.
God instructs us how to love. Love must be on His terms. The first rule of love is that it cannot contradict His ways. Love alone is not an adequate sanctifier. Love of money, for instance, is “the root of all sorts of evil (1 Tim 6:10).” Human love, by itself, cannot be our standard.
7. “Why can’t I be Gay and be a Christian? I know Jesus loves me, so what’s wrong with that?”
You are absolutely right that Jesus loves you. He is God with us. He came to express the love of God to us. He loves you deeply.
Jesus’ name is Yeshua, which means “Yahweh saves”. Matthew 1:21 says, “He will save His people from their sins.” Because Jesus loves you, He came to save you. He didn’t come to leave you in your sins; He came to save you from your sins. Whether it’s hatred, greed, anger, lust or sexual immorality, Jesus came and died on your behalf to set you free from the bondage of sin and ultimately deliver you from its penalty.
Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15). We express our love for Jesus by following His ways. God never condemns anyone for how they feel. We must realize, however, the way we feel doesn’t dictate what is right and wrong. Our feelings are not the measure of morality. If our feelings were the standard designed to dictate our actions there would be no end to the darkness of humanity.
Furthermore, you are not defined by what you feel or by what you do. Your identity is far more than your sexual desires. You are created in the image and likeness of God, one who is deeply loved by God. From this identity we can find out who God has intended us to be.
There are many people who love Jesus and struggle with the temptations of same sex attractions. Those who continue to lean into righteousness with a sincere heart while rejecting sin, though they may fall, are accepted. Struggling with sin and overcoming it by grace is a common state for all believers. Some struggle with anger, others with lusts. The specific struggle is not the issue, it’s faith in Jesus from a sincere heart that rejects sin and desires holiness.
On the other hand, those who continue to walk in sin, no matter what the sin is, as a part of their lifestyle while still claiming Christ are in danger of judgment. Hebrews 10:26 – 27 gives a fearsome warning, “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.”
My desire is to call you into real freedom through the power of Jesus. There is forgiveness and cleansing available to you. All who call upon the name of Jesus will be saved. As a former alcoholic, drug user, bound with sexual immorality, I can attest to the liberating power of Jesus to set you free. Liberty is available in Jesus to all who want it.