An Ending not Gay
The young lady in the previous post continues her questions:
Q: Do homosexuals go to heaven?
A: Salvation comes by faith only to those who believe that their sins are completely forgiven because of Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death. Do your hypothetical homosexuals believe this? First of all, do they believe that homosexuality is actually a sin needing forgiveness?
Of course, we can include murderers, adulterers, oath-breakers, disobedient children, thieves, liars, and other sinners, asking, “Can anyone go to heaven?” Of course they can — but only by faith in Jesus Christ. Again, these people must recognize the sinfulness of their actions and know that intentionally persisting in sinful actions denies God’s grace in Christ.
However, when people reject Holy Scripture’s clear definition of sinful behavior, they cannot be saved, since they won’t admit that they have sinned. People try to redefine any number of sinful actions as good — or at least value neutral. Sexual sins, particularly homosexuality, are among the most common targets of such revisionism.
These revisionists use faulty reasoning, involving an incomplete understanding of love. Homosexual apologists basically claim that since God is love and since same-sex couples share love between themselves, their relationships must be fine, since they are built on love. However, erotic love, brotherly love, and friendship love all pale before the absolute, self-sacrificing love which is God’s by nature. Every other type of love must be constrained and guided by divine love.
The Lord is consistent: He condemns homosexuality in both the Old and the New Testaments. This obviously includes His judgment on Sodom. Twice in Leviticus, He says that it is “an abomination” for a man to “lie with a male as with a woman. (18:22; 20:13)” Attempted homosexual rape triggered Israel’s war against the tribe of Benjamin (see Judges 19-21). Baalism’s male cultic prostitutes often practiced homosexuality.
In the New Testament, aside from the general condemnations of sexual immorality, homosexuality is specifically mentioned. Romans 1 includes lesbianism (v. 26) and male homosexuality (v. 27) among the “dishonorable passions (v. 26)” that were divine judgment upon those who “exchanged the truth about God for a lie. (v. 25)”
Along with “the sexually immoral ... idolaters ... adulterers,” who “will not inherit the kingdom of God,” 1 Corinthians 6:9 includes “men who practice homosexuality.” Likewise, Paul wrote that “the law is ... laid down ... for the lawless and disobedient ... the ungodly and sinners ... the unholy and profane,” including “men who practice homosexuality” and “whatever else is contrary to strong doctrine. (1 Timothy 1:9-10)”
Furthermore, arguing only according to God’s love ignores the rest of His nature. Not only is His love perfect, so are His justice, holiness, and all His other attributes. He never stops being perfect and never ceases to demand perfect obedience from all Creation. He can’t stop hating sin; to do so is against His nature. If we attempt to redefine — or to justify through human reason or emotions — any sinful thoughts, words, or deeds as sinless, we compound our sin against Him.
The only lasting relief comes from facing, admitting, repenting, confessing, and receiving God’s forgiveness for our sins. Such true repentance involves a sincere desire to change our sinful way. Does change happen? It often does — yet our broken natures may weaken our resolve and drag us back into our old ways.
We thank God that such sins of weakness, committed less in defiance of His will than because of our human frailty, remain forgivable. Only when homosexuals — as well as thieves, liars, gossips, and others — reject God’s Law, self-justify their attitudes, and persist in their sinful actions do they remain unforgiven.
Previous columns addressed the related questions Homosexual from Birth? and Homosexuality: Inborn Sin or Genetic Code?
Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.
Send email to Ask the Pastor.
Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.
Technorati Tags: homosexuality | homosexual | gay | lesbian | lesbianism | sex | sin | sinfulness | deviance | salvation | forgiveness | heaven | Law | Law and Gospel | Gospel | morality | morals | theology | Biblical theology | exegetical theology | exegesis | Bible | Holy Scripture | systematic theology | dogmatics | Christianity | Christian | Lutheranism | Lutheran | Pastor Walter P. Snyder | W. P. Snyder | Ask the Pastor
Expanded from newspaper column #572:1.