In this post, I will try to be as gracious as possible. Lord knows there are plenty of logs in my eye to spend the rest of my days pulling them out. But I write to address a rather heinous speck in the eye of Evangelicalism. Kevin DeYoung rightly asserted, in a Q&A during last weeks Shepherd’s Conference, that one undermining of inerrancy in modern society was in the area of human sexuality. We are all, no doubt, constantly challenged by the LGBT community and our world’s continued accepting of views contrary to the Bible’s teaching. The church has been effected to. I wish I could say that that were not the case. But many are turning away from the truth of Scripture to cater to natural culture, defaming God and hurting people who are dead in their sin. Today, my class was addressed by a “church planter” in a downtown area. They own a coffee shop where they gather on Sundays for service. I had just been to this coffee shop and enjoyed my time there. I was excited to hear about the proprietor of this shop and what God was doing through His Word in that community. But to my dismay, he came to speak about LGBT issues. I say to my dismay because he did not come to help us think through how to come to this community with the gospel but instead laid out a plan of capitulation. Although he did say that he did not agree with homosexuality but then denied that very affirmation by what he said. I would like to structure this post by giving direct quotes and addressing them fairly, exegetically and theological. This is a gospel issue, because to affirm the practice of homosexuality is to deny the necessity of repentance, and a gospel sans repentance is a damning gospel indeed.
Denying gays the right to marry is the equivalent to Jim Crow laws of the 1960s and 70s
No, it’s not. This is both disrespectful and unbiblical. There is nothing sinful about being black. At all. Our black brothers and sisters, along with any other ethnicity, are equally created in the image of God. Any failure of the true church to love all ethnicities and to welcome them with great joy into their local fellowship is an abomination. The gospel of justification by faith makes us all equal before the throne of God; standing in Christ alone for our righteousness. We were all dead, now made alive by the same Spirit. Racial reconciliation is not the gospel but racial reconciliation is only accomplished by the gospel. The Jim Crow laws were terrible and any lasting sentiments (that unfortunately are all too common) are terrible. Interracial marriage is, if anything, an even greater expression of the gospel. Conversely, homosexual “marriage” is an abomination. You will notice that I put “marriage” in quotation marks, and I did so purposely. There is no such thing. This seems harsh but it is biblical. And God help us to be biblical. Homosexuality is a sin, the Bible is quite clear on that. The culture is not as clear, however. But let God be true and every man (culture) a liar. Racism is a sin. Hating individual homosexuals is a sin. But condemning the homosexual lifestyle of sin that must be repented of is biblical and necessary.
“I’d say that she is at the center of the kingdom of God, but she’s a lesbian.”
The speaker was referring to an openly homosexual lady that he has befriended through the coffee shop. We are not talking someone who has same sex attraction but is repentant of that and turning to God’s provision in the cross. This a woman at home with that sin and yet claims to be a believer. Look at this text:
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 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV)
The text is clear here. We must affirm that there are more sins listed in this passage than just homosexuality. Many in churches today are wrong in singling out homosexuality and forgetting other sins. Unrepentant sin is unrepentant sin. All sin is equally deserving the wrath of God. But the above passage is clear that no one persisting in any of the above sins will enter the Kingdom of God. Believers fall woefully short of the standard we are called to. However, that draws us to the gospel and serves to further our hatred of sin not deepen our love for it. Repentance is key. Paul says we all used to be here. Let us affirm that we were all dead in sins, equally sinful before a holy God. This is not a holier-than-thou post. But we were changed, in Christ we are a new creation (2 Cor 5:17). God opened our eyes to see Him rightly, we responded in faith and repentance, then being justified by faith in the finished work of Christ. The proof of that justification is progressive sanctification. The two cannot be separated, as you cannot tear Christ apart. God has saved a people by providing what He requires to purchase a people zealous for good works (Titus 2:14). Jesus cannot be Savior but not Lord. This is “lordship salvation.” Lordship salvation is the only salvation there is. We are born again and by God’s grace we are given new desires, affections, motives. This translates into a love for obedience. If no repentance, no making war with sin is present, there is no reason to think that person (gay, straight or otherwise) is “in the Kingdom of God.” There is no way to be the center of the Kingdom of God when living openly in sin that the Bible promises will lead to a rejection of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is made up of, now, sinners; only repentant sinners, however. The man said that “if they deserve to go to hell so do I, but that’s grace.” You did deserve to go to hell, my friend. As did I. As did Paul but he did not persist in his persecution of the church. God’s kindness is meant to bring us to repentance (Ro 2:4). We cannot pervert the grace of God by our immorality (Jude 1:4). If we do, it is because we haven’t tasted it, no matter what we say. Many will come to Jesus who said Lord, Lord that He will have not known. You know a good tree by its fruit. God makes the tree good by grace and by free grace grows fruit on that tree (Matthew 7:15-23).
“I don’t even like to think about God judging these people and them going to hell. I can’t even go there.”
Then you don’t love these people, no matter how much you say you do. Is it loving to allow a child to walk into oncoming traffic? Is it loving to watch someone burn in their house when you know the only way out? By affirming them in their sin, you do not love them and are not doing God any favors. In fact, you are lying about who God is (aka the Third Commandment). Man’s idolatry not only manifested itself in sexual sin and others but also in the giving approval to those who do them (Ro 1:26-32). You do unbelievers no good to tell them what their dark hearts and the culture tell them. They are wrong. They are expected to be wrong; they are dead. Like my man KB once said, “why consult the dead on behalf the living when they don’t know what living is like?” We have insurmountable joy in the gospel. Jesus is better than their sin. God is the satisfying savior and Lord. We are set free for freedom (Gal 5:1). That freedom though is obedience to the law God, not to merit justification but because we have been justified, not by works of righteousness but by faith. His commandments are not burdensome, they are delight (Matt 11:30). The Bible is clear. Those who are not in Christ (all the unrepentant) have the wrath of God standing over against them (John 3:36). Romans 1:18-3:20 is clear on the depravity of every human. This is not unique to homosexuals. All have fallen short of the glory, exchanged it for a lie and that rebellion looks different for everyone. But God’s enmity has been removed by Christ and now we can draw near to the Father. But only by faith and repentance towards Christ as Lord, Savior and Treasure. So, you and I must go there my friend. I know it is easier said than done. But by the grace of God, stand! You are not doing ministry if you do not preach the biblical gospel; that costs your life but is joy unspeakable. Love these people. God does as well that is true. But God also hates them (Ps 5:5; 11:5; Lev 20:23; Pro 6:16-19; Hosea 9:15). No matter what you say, if you do not call them to turn from their sins and trust in Christ for all their salvation, you hate them more than someone willing to tell them the truth.
“We don’t hide the fact that we are Christians.”
Yes, yes you do. I do not wish to be arrogant. But you hide the very faith you say that you love when you condone a homosexual lifestyle. No matter how much they seem to love each other, they are dead in sin and anything done outside of faith is sin (Ro 14:23). If you capitulate on these things you are going to lose the gospel. Yes, this is a gospel issue. Because we respond the this good news by faith and repentance. Both sides of the coin have to happen. This is the inevitable result of regeneration by the Spirit. Being born again means a new love for God and a new hatred for sin. This always entails more than homosexuality but never less. It belittles the cross when we say the gospel is not powerful enough to save us and make us holy. Christ died for those sins. If you persist in them you defame God, the essence of sin. You cannot be at peace with God and at peace with sin. The world has lied to us. We cannot love it, as we are now no longer of this world (1 John 2:15-17). But we are in it as believers and have been called to proclaim this gospel to the nations so that they may be glad in Him. God help us to be faithful. The Word is authoritative and it is sweet. God has designed things for His glory and they work out for our joy when we are given grace to walk in His ways. Amazing grace, indeed, that saved wretches like us all. But that same grace taught our hearts to fear and will bring us home. We are talking trajectory, not perfection. But we cannot have Christ and what the Bible calls sin. Christ is far better!