Last week a leftist, for whatever reason, decided to highlight something I tweeted about homosexuality back in 2015. In the ensuing Twitter thread, which I won’t highlight here, he essentially called me a hateful bigot. Here’s the tweet:
What I said was true, but it was terse and likely not persuade anyone to my point of view.
Another leftist commented that the statement was bigoted and came from hate. A comment I hear frequently from the other side whenever I address this subject.
I submit that my tweet was not Gospel-centric.
I should have instead said, “Biblically, a homosexual lifestyle is not consistent with following Christ, but there is room at the foot of the cross for those who repent and believe.”
I’m confident that would still earn me the label of “hateful bigot,” but at least I would have pointed to the cross and the hope they can have.
I tell you it would be much easier, far easier, to go with the prevailing culture on LGBT issues, but I can’t because I’m a man under authority. Whose authority? Scripture’s authority. I don’t hate people who identify as LGBT, I want them to know the truth. I want them to have the hope and healing that Jesus gives. I want them to know the One who not only gives eternal life but abundant life on earth as well.
The Bible puts up guard rails for sexual conduct and any sexual activity outside of marriage between one man and one woman is sinful. (Some will say I’m interpreting the Bible wrong. I addressed that argument and the most common claims in an article I wrote back in 2009. I encourage you to read that as I don’t want to rehash that here.)
It is not loving to affirm sin. It is not loving to give false assurance. To come to the cross, we need first to recognize we have a problem that only Jesus can remedy.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 starts off with bad news, but provides hope.
“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,” (ESV, emphasis mine).
“And such were some of you” is one of the most encouraging phrases in the Bible. It points to the radical transformation that we can have through Christ. Even though they were unrighteous, they could still be washed, sanctified, and justified through Christ’s sacrifice and the work of the Holy Spirit.
That is what Rosaria Butterfield experienced. As a former lesbian, she made an excellent observation about the “celibate gay Christian identity” movement at a Christian conference last year. She said:
You can not have union with Christ if you are unconverted. That might seem obvious, but there are a lot of people in this conversation who may very well be convinced, but not converted. You can not have union with Christ unless you are truly converted.
And you can not have union with Christ if you have made your identity out of anything else including your sexuality. Union with Christ demands that Christ has exclusive claims on His people and Christ’s blood does not make an ally with the sin it crusheson the cross.
These two forms of self-representation – sexual identity and union with Christ – compete for the same thing: your loyalty, your heart, your sense of self, your faith. Sexual identity is incompatible with Christ. Indeed you simply can not have an identity in your sexual orientation and your gender identity in Christ because there is no dual citizenship for a Christ-follower.
If you are a Christ follower then your identity is in Him and you do not embrace what the Bible calls sin.
The Bible tells us that to be saved, to become a Christian, one needs to repent of his or her sin (Acts 2:38) and believe that Jesus is Lord and that He died and rose again, (Romans 10:9).
I believe, in this particular discussion, the key question here is this: what does it mean to repent?
There are two primary Greek words used for repentance in the Bible, μεταμέλομαι () literally means to change one’s care or interest for another and μετανοέω (metanoeó) that means to change one’s mind or purpose.
Repentance is generally accompanied by regret.
The Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 provides an excellent picture of this. There the son demands his inheritance from his father early, goes off to a foreign land and squanders it in wild living and goes from playboy to not even eating as well as the pigs he was feeding.
But when he came to his senses, he said, “How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”Luke 15:17-19, NASB
He had a change of mind. He “came to his senses.” He turned away from the life he sought that he had sincere regret over and returned to his father. His father ran to meet him and restored him not as a servant, but as a son.
This is how God responds when we repent.
The son did not go shake his fist at his father and say, “I did nothing wrong! Take me back!”
No, he recognized what he did was wrong, had deep regret, and humbly went to his father.
We are all like that son. We have all been rebellious. We have all sinned, and we all fall short of God’s standard, (Romans 3:23). The penalty for sin, the Bible tells us, is death, eternal death, but God provides us the free gift of eternal life through His Son Jesus, (Romans 6:23).
That gift is free for us, but it did not come for free. Jesus died the death we deserved, paying the price for our sin, and rose again victorious over sin and death.
Do you believe that? If so what is the proper response here? Repent and believe.
Jackie Hill Perry, a former lesbian, describes the dilemma and choice homosexuals (and all of us really) face, “Either I trust in his word or I trust my own feelings. Either I look to him for the pleasure my soul craves or I search for it in lesser things. Either I walk in obedience to what he says or I reject his truth as if it were a lie.”
You can’t repent of what the Bible calls sin while at the same time, call it good and right and say that God made you that way. And if you don’t repent, you do not truly believe.