The Bible and Being Gay

By Stephanie Ismer

I'm going to say something now that a lot of Christians really, really don't want to say. There is a list of sins in the Bible. And being gay (that is, living a homosexual lifestyle) is on the list. I want to address this with as much respect and love as I can possibly muster, because I have many friends who are gay, and they are people about whom I care deeply. At the same time, I care deeply about God and about what He says.

God is not a system of thought. He is not a concept, or a political stance. God and The Church are not synonomous. He is a real Person, a Being whose essence was expressed perfectly through Jesus Christ. Jesus appointed Paul as His ambassador to the Gentile nations (that includes anyone who is not a Jew) and Paul clearly said that the practice of homosexuality (along with the practice of adultery, and the practice of idolatry) is sin, and that those who practice it will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9).

Explaining this to a post-Christian culture is a serious dilemma many Christians are facing today, and from what I can tell, none of us have found an answer that is both comfortable and true.

The easy solution is to simply assert that the Bible doesn't mean what it says, or that we are misunderstanding it, or that the problem is due to cultural differences or misrendered Greek. I am not a scholar. But consider this: when most of us read a book, or a blog, or the newspaper, we take the words at face value. We assume the author is speaking plainly, and that he is trying to make his meaning clear to us. If the author says something we think is ignorant or untrue, we simply shut the book, click away from the page, or throw the paper in the trash bin.

But our approach to the Bible is totally different. When we find something in the Bible that we don't like, we don't just toss it aside. Instead, we try to change it or find reasons why it is misrendered or misapplied. Have you noticed that nobody ever complains that verses like John 3:16 or 1 Corinthians 13 have been misrendered in the Greek? It deserves consideration that we only blame the Greek when the passage says something we don't like or cannot understand.

Let me be perfectly clear. This is a painful subject, but it is not a confusing one. The Bible does actually say, in the plainest language, that it is sinful to practice homosexuality (1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10). And if it was any other book, nobody would care. The book would go in the trash and that would be the end of it. But this is God's Word. And God is saying "I don't like homosexuality. Don't do it."

So, what if you're gay? What if, from as long as you can remember, you've been attracted to the same sex? And what if deep in your heart you feel just the tiniest fear that perhaps God does exist and perhaps the Bible is actually true? What do you do? If you can't throw the Bible out, and you can't change it — what options do you have? Is separation from God unavoidable? Not at all. Rather, Christ's invitation is the same to you as it is to any other person.

The Bible and Being Gay: Jesus Didn't Come to Judge

Jesus says: "If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world" (John 12:46). Whatever your sins may be, Jesus does not judge you on that basis. I'll say it again: if you don't keep God's commands (the law) Jesus doesn't judge you. Instead, he came to save you.

But we can't stop there. In the very next verse, Jesus says: "The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day" (John 12:47). The one who rejects Jesus will be judged on the last day, after death, when they stand before God. What does this mean? It means that rejecting Jesus — not homosexuality or theft or adultery or any other sin — is ultimately what separates a person from God. A person who comes before God's throne without Jesus will be judged according to the "word that [He] has spoken." In other words, they will have to answer to the law of God, and that's a bad place to be because as it says in Galatians 2:16 "by works of the law no one will be justified."

Every one of us is a sinner. Take sex out of the equation entirely, and it's still true. The day we first disobeyed our parents and stole a cookie from the jar, we were sinners. It is our nature. It is what we are. There is no difference between straight or gay, we have all fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:10). The only way to Heaven, for any person struggling with any sin, is faith in Jesus Christ. "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law" (Romans 3:28).

The Bible and Being Gay: Did God Really Say?

If you are gay, absolutely nothing is gained by putting your head in the sand and denying that God really meant what He said about homosexuality. Is practicing homosexuality a sin? Yes. But so are lots of other things you do — lots of other things ALL people do. This is not about bigotry or discrimination or hate. Quite the reverse, for Christ's invitation is the same for you as it is for every person, "repent and believe" (Mark 1:15) "for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Romans 10:1-21).

When I came to the Lord, I had lots of sins and burdens. Some of them went away as soon as I got saved. But others didn't. That's the way it is. It keeps us dependent on His grace. Even the Apostle Paul still struggled against sin (Romans 7:7-25; 1 Timothy 1:15). So, can I promise you that you will stop feeling attracted to the same sex if you accept Christ? No. Chances are you'll still struggle to obey — like all Christians do. But I can promise you this: the peace of the Lord's forgiveness and the hope of eternal heaven is more than worth a few decades of struggle.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliott


Image Credit: Elvert Barnes; "Hand.Bible."; Creative Commons

TagsBiblical-Salvation  | Biblical-Truth  | Christian-Life  | Controversial-Issues  | Current-Issues  | Sin-Evil

Published 1-24-12; Revised 4-13-15