When examining what the Bible says about homosexuality, it is important to distinguish between homosexual behavior and homosexual inclinations or attractions. It is the difference between active sin and the passive condition of being tempted. Homosexual behavior is sinful, but the Bible never says that temptation is a sin. Simply stated, a struggle with temptation may lead to sin, but the struggle itself is not a sin.
Romans 1:26–27 teaches that homosexuality is a result of denying and disobeying God. When people continue in sin and unbelief, God “gives them over” to even more wicked and depraved sin to show them the futility and hopelessness of life apart from God. One of the fruits of rebellion against God is homosexuality. First Corinthians 6:9 proclaims that those who practice homosexuality and therefore transgress God’s created order, are not saved.
In 1 Corinthians 6:11, Paul teaches them, “That is what some of you were. 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” (emphasis added). In other words, some of the Corinthians, before they were saved, lived homosexual lifestyles; but no sin is too great for the cleansing power of Jesus. Once cleansed, we are no longer defined by sin.
The temptation to engage in homosexual behavior is very real to many. People may not always be able to control how or what they feel, but they can control what they do with those feelings (1 Peter 1:5–8). We all have the responsibility to resist temptation (Ephesians 6:13). We must all be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). We must all “walk by the Spirit” so as not to “gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).
Finally, the Bible does not describe homosexuality as a “greater” sin than any other. All sin is offensive to God.
Romans 1:26–27; 12:2; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 6:13; 1 Peter 1:5–8
One of the most divisive topics in all of Christianity today is the issue of homosexuality. There have been many errors on both sides of this issue. On one side, the issue has become an issue of prejudice and not an issue of someone struggling with sin. There has led to an attitude of self-righteousness which should never be said of Christians.
Another error says that if you don’t agree with me then you hate me. Separating this statement from the argument makes it clear that it is not true. But the emotional response of many who are living in a homosexual lifestyle who may have been mistreated or have taken on the victimization of someone else who has been mistreated is very strong.
A third error today is churches who are willing to compromise the clear teaching of God’s Word and accept people living in a homosexual lifestyle as though it were not a sin. This welcoming of sin as though it were right is a clear violation of the Word of God and opens doors of judgment. Isaiah 5:20.
Note: This is not the only area in which some churches are struggling with the truth. There are churches today that are willfully ignoring people committing adultery in order to keep donations coming. Divorce for any reason has become widely accepted. Abortion has become accepted by some as a compassionate response. One of the keys underlying this is that there are a significant number of churches and denominations that believe that the Bible contains the Word of God not that it is the Word of God.
As Christians who believe that the Bible teaches that practicing homosexuality is a sin, we need to be careful not to falsely accuse, use hurtful labels, or treat those who disagree any different than we would any other sinner. That does not mean that we condone or accept their behavior as right.
We need to be kind and show grace to those who are struggling. And yet at the same time be firm in our convictions about the truth of the Word of God. We need the wisdom of the Holy Spirit in how to handle this situation with grace and wisdom.