It is no news to anyone that recently our nation took another God-denying step on its journey into more and more rebellion. Recently, the United States government decided to legitimize the union of same-sex couples, putting themselves in the category of “approving of those who do such things” that Paul set forth in Romans 1. This is no time for Republican propaganda and apocalypticism. The world has not silenced the Word. The creature has no real right to redefine what the Creator has decreed. It is time, however, to lament the dark reality that is our world. This is the same world that we once fully participated in. Apart from the finished work of Christ applied unilaterally by the Holy Spirit we sit in the same position: in love with our sin and under the just wrath of God due all unrighteousness (Romans 1:18).
But this does not mean that we retreat. Neither does it mean that we fight for “Christian America,” as if that ever existed. We do maintain our prophetic voice, though. If we retreat and take the gospel with us we leave people without one single hope. Those whose foolish minds are darkened will remain foolish apart from the new-creation power of the eternal God, the same God they are offending even now. Faith comes by hearing. Without the fear of God being our central reference point, we are simply stupid, dumb. It should not surprise us when the world offers erroneous support against the clear commands of God.
One of the most heinous, demonic arguments proposed from proponents of same-sex relations is that their struggle for “equality” is reminiscent of the civil rights movement. Yes, that Civil Rights movement. The one where brave men and women had the common grace to say that being black was not subservient to being white. But are we now being oppressive to gay people as many were to blacks decades before? Didn’t the church stand up for slavery? How is this different? The answer is simple. Despite inconsistency on the part of those who claim Christ, the Scripture is not to be called into question. Being black is not a sin, being openly gay is.
Being Black Is Not a Sin
This very rhetoric is wildly offensive. We still have terrorists launching open attack on our black brothers and sisters. Decade after decade, black citizens have been seen as less than by many of the popular culture, even in the church. God help us! 300 years of slavery reminds us of the reality of human sin. But it reminds us of the sin, not of the slaves themselves (although just as sinful as anyone), but the sin of the oppressors. They were wrong. Being black is not bad. It’s not any better than being white, but it certainly is not worse. This sentiment is held by many, even those who are dead in sin. The image of God pushes us to see the worth of all ethnicity. But only those who have been regenerated to hear the voice of God in the Bible will be able to fully articulate a biblical view of race.
First of all it (race) does not exist biblically. I know that race is often used as a way to describe ethnic and cultural differences. But “race” as a scientific and cultural category is not compatible with God’s Word. In Genesis 2, God created man and woman. There was not a separate set of “black” first parents created after. What I mean to say is that we have all come from the same line. Even after the flood in Genesis 6-8, the world was populated by the three sons of Noah- Shem, Ham and Japheth. Those are our “parents.” Ethnic diversity was not a reality until the great sin of the tower of Babel. Humans, in their pride, tried to build themselves up to God. God punished them by spreading them about the lands and confusing their tongues. The result is diversity. And yet Romans 5 can still say that we are all one race; namely, in Adam. See we all have a common ancestor and therefor a common problem. Sin. We are all haters of God, lovers of self who would rather starve on ourselves than live in Christ.
Yet God in His grace has created a new race in Christ. We, who have repented of our sins and trust in Christ, have a common righteousness that is not inherent to black or white, Arab or Greek. God has used the evil of Babel for His global glory. In Revelation 5 we see the glorious fulfillment of God’s purposes in the gospel. We will all stand in awe of the perfection of Christ, a new race comprised of every tribe, tongue and nation. We are not called to repent of our skin color. We are called to exchange the hideous rebellion for a superior joy in Christ. Even as early as Moses, we see God defending interethnic marriage. His wife was very, very dark. Miriam’s opposition of this union was met by God’s judgement. This is a powerful testament to the sufficiency of Christ. Racial diversity is celebrated, not condemned.
Being Gay Is Sin
The same can not be said for sexual diversity. God is not seeking to bring “gay Christians” and “straight Christians” together. This is because homosexuality, unlike skin color, is a conscious rebellion against God. Despite what culture says, homosexuality is not inherent to some humans. One may be more predisposed to this perversion but they are not mere victims. The Apostle Paul could not be more clear in 1 Corinthians:
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).
“Men who practice homosexuality” will not inheret the Kingdom of God. That is to say that those who persist in unrepentant homosexual relations with be condemned forever under the just wrath of God. Granted they will be there along with “idolaters, greedy people, swindler” and etc. However, our culture is not applauded the courage of drunkards. So homosexuality is not less deserving God’s wrath than these others but is certainly no less deserving. Unrepentant sin, which is what homosexuality is, will not be forgiven. This is not because God is not loving but because it is. God loves us in giving us Himself as He is, not how we might wish or contort Him to be in our rebellious hearts.
This text is not isolated. Jude saw that the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah as homosexual in nature. Leviticus 18 and 20 cite “laying with a man” as sin. One cannot just say that this was rooted in passing cultural norms. Paul and other New Testament writers reiterate the evil of homosexuality, promiscuous or monogamous. One has to do so much exegetical gymnastics to get past Paul’s argument in Romans. The root our all of our sins is the same. Though we knew God, we exchanged the truth about Him for a lie. We have chosen to rebel against God, propelling ourselves to the throne reserved for His glory alone. Out of this root comes the rotten fruit of homosexuality, Islam and legalistic Baptist life. We have rejected God and tried to justify ourselves before His holiness, as if we had the answers in ourselves. Homosexuality is nothing less than rebellion. Those who champion the cause are saying that what God has said is not true. The arguments are strangely similar to those used by Satan in the Garden. We have taken and eaten the fruit, blaspheming the end for all things, choosing sin over God.
We must get one fact straight. One cannot affirm homosexuality and be faithful to the gospel. The issue here is not one of biblical clarity but biblical authority. Most proponents of homosexuality know that the Bible is clear. So then they reject the Bible. This is the inevitable end. Who is true? You? Me? Or the Bible? Let God be true and every man a liar. I am not saying that it is easy to believe these things. Satan would love nothing more than us to compromise, to lie about what God has said. Less recognition of sin leads to less gospel proclamation. Less gospel proclamation leads to less glory for God. It is a perfect situation for Satan. These are hard sayings. But we must like Peter in John 6 in humble trust say to Jesus, “where else do we have to go? You have the Words of live.”
Call Sin “Sin” and Witness to the Transforming Grace of God.
God can save a gay person just as easily as He can one caught in self-righteous legalism. The good news about homosexuality being sin is that Christ has bore our sins in His body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24). Gay is not the new black, because being black is wonderfully accepted in the eyes of God and being gay is grounds for the non-inheritance of the heaven. These are not issues of no consequence. With every compromise we make, we compromise that many souls. Our gay and lesbian neighbors are loving each other into eternal condemnation. They are blind, leading the blind. And you and I have the light. For some reason, God delivered us from our blindness. It is not loving to affirm someone on the path that leads to destruction. We were dead like them. They can live just like us. That does not mean they may not continue to struggle with same-sex temptation. But it means they too can hate their sin, not making friends with that which blasphemes the worth of God.
God loves us. He does not love us in the way we might expect, though. God’s goodness and His holiness are tied together. Make no mistake, God is gracious. But this kindness is meant to bring us to repentance (Romans 2:4). If you do not hate your sin, homosexual or other, you do not know Christ. Yours or my own experience be damned. All we have in the Bible, and it is good and enough. Humans flourish best, not when everything our vain hearts want are granted, but when we see the glory of God as our greatest enjoyment. Christ is better than homosexuality. Turn from it! Trust in the obedience of Christ on your behalf, in His wrath bearing death for your sin and mine. God has many people in the LGBT community. But He will call them to Himself, enabling them to turn from the sin they love to something better. Thank God for the grace that doesn’t just leave us where we are, but makes us worshippers. One day ex-gays, black and white, will praise the Lamb who was slain that they might truly live.