Does The Bible Only Condemn Homosexuals to Hell?

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The issue of homosexuality has become divisive and increasingly confusing for many Christians and churches. Many in the name of Jesus and with a heart to “love all people,” have just given up on making any effort to discover a Biblically faithful view of morality. But if Christians are going to “love their neighbor as themselves” then they owe it to their neighbors and themselves to think a little harder about the Bible’s teaching regarding sexual practice and identity.

Some may ask, “why is all this condemnation and confrontation about sin even necessary?” They find it difficult to understand why a God, who they assume should have love as His primary attribute, would be so judgmental and mad. God is loving but His chief attribute is His holiness. In Isaiah 6:3, God is described by the angels who minister day and night in His presence as, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” There is no other attribute of God that is ever raised to the third degree. God is never described as loving, loving, loving, or nice, nice, nice, though He can be described as being both loving and nice. 

God created all things good, including the first man and woman, along with the institution of marriage and family. When man chose to not believe or obey God and His Word, sin entered the world. The world has been in a fallen and broken state ever since. Since the fall, every person continues to be created in the image of God, but now in a fallen state. For this reason, our mind, will, emotions, and even our physical bodies have been affected by sin. We often have desires and dispositions toward behaviors that are wrong and destructive. Some have a greater desire and disposition toward alcoholism, pornography, lying, stealing, or sexual desires that would fall under adultery or homosexuality.

To put it plainly, our perception of reality is not reality and the world is broken and not as God originally created it to be. Consider the words of A.W. Tozer on how God must respond to the corruption of His holy creation.

“Since God’s first concern for His universe is its moral health, that is, its holiness, whatever is contrary to this is necessarily under His eternal displeasure. To preserve His creation God must destroy whatever would destroy it. When He arises to put down iniquity and save the world from irreparable moral collapse, He is said to be angry. Every wrathful judgment in the history of the world has been a holy act of preservation. The holiness of God, the wrath of God, and the health of the creation are inseparably united. God’s wrath is His utter intolerance of whatever degrades and destroys.  He hates iniquity [sin] as a mother hates the polio that takes the life of her child.”2

We do not see or understand sin, much less the consequences of our personal autonomy, accurately. While our society may celebrate sexual freedom as liberation; God sees it as a devastatingly contagious disease that is disfiguring and destroying His Creation. 

Throughout the Biblical narrative, we find a clear and consistent condemnation of homosexuality. The Bible is also clear and consistent in condemning all sexual expression outside of the God-ordained institution of marriage—between one man and one woman. The historic outrage Christians have expressed towards homosexuals while neglecting to address other sexual sins, or even cultural injustices, has eroded the credibility of their position. To condemn and ostracize a segment of the population, while self-righteously ignoring sins among their own ranks, is certainly not consistent with a Christian or Biblically informed ethic.

Those who are in the LGBTQ community are not subhuman. They are created in the image of God with purpose, dignity, and worth. “The central question here is how to think and speak and do ‘good’ when it comes to the transgender [or LGBTQ] debate—and to the real people, and real pain, that is part of that debate.”1 When a person starts listening to the stories and hurts of those in the LGBTQ community they will discover many people dealing with deep wounds, often resulting from emotional, physical, and sexual abuse experienced in their life. Few in the LGBTQ community perceive Christians as being willing or able to provide a safe environment for those searching for healing or asking hard questions. 

So what posture should Christians have towards those who are dealing with homoerotic desires or gender identity issues? With hope and empathy, not condemnation. In fact, if the only thing a professing Christian is able to communicate to others is condemnation and hate, they probably haven’t been honest about their own sin.

Consider 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, “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. 

Within these verses, we find homosexual practice clearly condemned as among those who will not inherit the Kingdom of God. We also find many other sins in the same list including idolatry, sexual immorality (general term for any sexual sin), thieves (ever downloaded music illegally?), and even greed. This is one of the clearest passages warning of the eternal consequence of homosexually, and yet, it is one of the most mistaught passages. This is for several reasons. I have already mentioned the first problem being that homosexuality is often the only sin mentioned or emphasized. 

The second and most harmful way this passage is misrepresented is when it is only partially quoted. To quote the passage only to verse 10, ending with “will not inherit the kingdom of God,” one misses the whole point of the passage found in verse 11. “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 6:11). 

The hope of the Gospel is displayed in Paul’s recognition that there is a group of people reading his letter who were all formerly on that list. Jesus met them in their brokenness and transformed their life and eternal destiny. 

Any conversation about sin in another person’s life, including all sexual sins, should be approached from the position of humble gratitude for God’s grace. When I am daily repenting of sin and believing in the Gospel of Jesus, as my only hope for both salvation and sanctification, then I can approach others with understanding and grace. Any conversation about LGBTQ issues must be rooted in our common need for the Gospel of grace through Jesus and our hope in that Gospel alone.

 -Written by David Anglin August 7, 2020

 

1 Walker, Andrew. God and the Transgender Debate. (Epsom: Good Book, 2017), 27.

2 Tozer, A.W. The Knowledge of the Holy. (Harper Collins, New York, NY, 1992), 166).

3 Scripture references are from, The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016).

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