Today I want to focus on a group of men and women who really struggle with feeling what others don’t feel. Some people tell them that it is okay to feel that way (the liberal Christians) and some people often remind them that they are not the way God wants them to be (the conservative Christians).
As you might have already guessed it, I am speaking of homosexuals, respectively of all people who do not fit the picture of being “straight”. Actually, I do not want to canvass whether homosexuality is a sin or not because I think there has already been written that much about it. Rather, I want to point to the fact that all of us are being loved by God just the way He created us and that God alone can set us free from feeling any kind of condemnation as for our natural tendencies when He grants us access to the experience of His ecstatic spiritual love, i.e., AGAPE which includes EROS – that’s for sure.
Basically, there is no bigger or smaller sin since “death spread to all men because all sinned” (Rom 5:12 – ESV). So, initially we have all been born in sinful flesh and are thus spiritually dead (except for Jesus, of course) and we are not able nor willing to reach out for God’s hand unless He reveals Himself to us.
Comparing two Scriptures that deal with homosexuality in the New Testament, we can see that there is a temporal gap between the condemning verses in Romans 1:26-27 and the retrospective view of Paul (esp. in 1 Cor 6:11) which indicated that there must have happened something extraordinary in between.
“For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” (Rom 1:26-27 ESV)
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor 6:9-11 – ESV)
The list of sinners mentioned in the second Scripture is not conclusively regulated since there are Scriptures that list other sins as well, for instance, “sorcery,…, jealousy, fits of anger,…orgies” (Gal 5:20-21 – ESV) etc.
One of the greatest sins committed by the Church, to me, is the fact that the institution on the whole [RC’s, Anglicans, Lutherans, Presbyterians – yes, all denominations plus non-denominational churches] failed to see what many homosexuals clearly realized when they had read all those things Jesus ever said on earth (the four Gospels, so to speak). I mean the fact that Jesus NEVER spoke about homosexuality.
Why? Let me explain it further below after some other thoughts before. 😉
Of course, we ought to know the trajectory beginning in the Old Testament (Gen 19), continuing in the New Testament through many letters, resulting in Rev 22:14-15 which says,
“Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” (Rev 22:14-15 – ESV)
Can we see a connection between 1 Cor 6:11 which says, “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” and Rev 22:14-15?
Actually, the gap between having been given up by God “in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves” (Rom 1:24 – ESV) and the sanctified state described in 1 Cor 6:11 can be filled – EXCLUSIVELY – with God’s spiritual work IN a believer through
(1) water baptism (“you were washed”)
(2) justification (“you were justified”) and
(3) sanctification (“you were sanctified”)
Do we see that it is alone God’s work to wash, to sanctify, and to justify the ungodly? It is plain to see when we look at the passive voice here, “you WERE washed, you WERE sanctified, you WERE justified” (1 Cor 6:11 – ESV).
But what did the visible church do all the time? They still exclude homosexuals from being a full-fledged member of the church because – hold on tight – the church (particularly the RCC) thinks she were holy in herself, that is, that the Holy Spirit would automatically indwell her on the whole.
What a lie Satan could spread over the centuries. All churches, whether they exclude or include homosexuals, as we can see it in our times, have missed the point of spreading the true Gospel – the Gospel of Christian freedom through receiving the Holy Spirit in our hearts who alone gives birth to a new creation which is pleasing in the eyes of God.
This new spiritual being is a member of the invisible church in the invisible kingdom of God. If you want to get there, it is simply a matter of asking God to indwell us – no more or less. Since Jesus promised,
“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Lk 11:13 – ESV)
Therefore, I would like to tell my homosexual friends that I have come to know over the years and decades,
God loves you just the way you are. It is not necessary that you go on trying to change yourself since you cannot do it. Have trust that His love revealed to you will satisfy your every desire on a way higher level than you could ever imagine!
Oops, I almost forgot to explain why Jesus never spoke about homosexuality and various other sins to sinners who came to Him. In fact, He only offended the religious hypocrites, that is, the scribes and the Pharisees by revealing their evil heart. All men and women naturally have the same evil hearts, but sinners who want to be saved know about it, while hypocrites boast in keeping their often man-made religious rules and churchly tradition.
God did not leave His glory in order to condemn sinners and to call righteous people – quite the contrary, for it is written,
“When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Mk 2:17 – KJV)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (Jn 3:16-18 – ESV)
Thus, unbelief is the only reason that there will be people who perish. However, our God who is LOVE is always willing to give all He has to YOU!