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I’m Gay and Jesus Loves Me, So What’s Wrong with That?


Continuing in the theme of “love conquers all,” a common challenge presented by practicing homosexuals who claim the title “Christian” is, “I’m gay, and Jesus loves me, so what’s wrong with that?” At the core of this challenge is the belief that Jesus’ love is all we need. Jesus loves us because we are His creation whom He created to have a relationship with, but He didn’t die for us so that we can remain in our sins. Our sin is what separates us from God and breaks that relationship. Romans 3:23 and 6:23 says, “[A]ll have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, … [T]he wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Jesus is our Savior because He sets us free from our sin according to Matthew 1:21, “[Y]ou shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Jesus died to free us from our sins and to transform us into a new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:15–17 says, “[H]e died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” No longer is the Christian identified by his fleshly passions. Jesus died in order that we might no longer live according to sin and our passions, but according to the lifestyle that Jesus has called us to.

The first word in the gospel is “repent,” which means “to change one’s mind or purpose.”1 This is seen in Matthew 3:2 and 4:7; Mark 1:15 and 6:12; Luke 13:3–5; Acts 2:38, 3:19, 8:22, 17:30, and 26:19–20. Salvation is conditioned upon our willingness to turn away from our sins and align our passions and actions with what the Bible says. Our salvation is not dependent upon how much God loves us. According to John 3:16, God loved everyone enough to die for us in order to offer us a way of salvation, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Certainly God has a passionate love for all men. However, not all men will be saved. 2 Peter 3:9 teaches that if the decision of who should be saved were entirely up to how God feels, then everyone would be saved, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” Not all men receive salvation because God’s love and desire to see all men saved is limited by His justice.

Certainly Jesus loves us, but Scripture teaches that this is not sufficient to secure our salvation. Matthew 7:21–23 teaches that we must have a relationship with Jesus in order to receive salvation, “‘Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” The word “know” in this passage means more than “to be aware of.” Clearly an omniscient God is aware of these people. Instead, this is a word which can mean “to understand completely” and “implies an active relation between the one who ‘knows’ and the person or thing ‘known.’”2 Jesus says to these people that they may have thought that they loved Him, but there was no intimacy—there was no relationship. Because of this, they do not receive salvation.

It is not enough that Jesus loves us; we must also love Him. Jesus said in John 14:15 that if we truly love Him, then we will keep His commandments, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” According to John 15:10, it is through obeying Jesus’ commandments that we abide in His love, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” Jesus was not so soft and sentimental that He had no standards. In Matthew 7:21–23, Jesus said that not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who DO the will of God. Certainly this is an impossible task on our own, but Ephesians 5:25–27 teaches that Jesus is actively sanctifying those who belong to Him, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” Additionally, 1 Corinthians 10:13 teaches that God empowers His people to overcome temptation, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

Of course, some will challenge that Jesus never commanded against homosexuality. This perspective fails to recognize that Jesus’ commandments are contained in the entire Bible, not just the Gospels. 2 Peter 1:20–21 and 2 Timothy 3:16 teach that all of Scripture is the result of God’s inspiration. Moreover, the argument that Jesus did not consider homosexuality to be a sin because He never specifically talked about homosexuality is an argument from silence, which is never a particularly strong argument. Jesus failed to specifically address many issues which we believe to be sin based upon the testimony of Scripture. Or are we to believe that because Jesus never specifically addressed spousal abuse, substance abuse, bestiality, rape, or incest that these are somehow not important to Jesus and unmeriting of the title “sin”?

Jesus was called Rabbi because of His deep understanding of the Law of Moses and the acceptable application of that Law (John 3:1–2). During the time of Christ, homosexuality was commonly practiced within the Roman Empire, but the Jews considered it to be immoral, a sin, and against the Law of Moses. At the very least, Jesus would have been aware that the common interpretation of the Law of Moses was that homosexuality is a sin. The fact that He did not speak against this understanding should not lead a person to assume that He disagreed with it. Rather, the assumption should be made that Jesus accepted this interpretation of the Law unless evidence can be presented to the contrary. Jesus taught in Matthew 15:18–19 that sexual immorality defiles a man, “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” Given that it was generally understood among the Jews at that time that homosexuality was included in the title “sexual immorality,” and given that Jesus did not offer homosexuality as an exception to this sexual immorality, it is reasonable to believe that Jesus had no varying views on the issue of homosexuality from the other religious leaders of His time.

Furthermore, this argument that Jesus did not consider homosexuality to be a sin because He never specifically talked about it assumes that Jesus never presented a principle which applies to the specific question of homosexuality. In Matthew 19:4–6, Jesus answered a question about divorce by affirming that God’s pattern for marriage has always been between a man and a woman, “He answered, ‘Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.’” Jesus taught the principle that God’s pattern for marriage has always been a union between a man and a woman. This principle answered the question of divorce which was asked in Jesus’ time, and this principle answers the question of homosexuality which is being asked in our time. In this sense, Jesus did address the issue of homosexuality, indirectly.

Keep in mind that Jesus Himself declared in Matthew 5:17 that He came not to destroy the Law and the prophets, but to fulfill them. The Old Testament Law consisted of redemption laws and moral laws. Jesus fulfilled the redemption laws—the dietary matters, rituals, cleansings, sacrifices, and priestly duties—by dying on the cross. As for the moral laws, Jesus raised the standard (Matt. 5:21–22, 27–28). Never did Jesus teach against or remove any of the moral laws in the Old Testament. Rather, He affirmed them by referring to such sins as murder and sexual immorality which were defined as sins in the Old Testament Law. None of the moral laws were removed in Christ’s advent. Instead, they are reaffirmed throughout the New Testament.

Those who truly love Jesus will follow His commandments to reject the practice of homosexuality in Leviticus 18 and 20, Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 6, 1 Timothy 1, and Jude 1. Certainly Jesus loves homosexuals, but Jesus does not save homosexuals—just as Jesus does not save thieves, drunkards, adulterers, idolaters, and anyone else whose identity continues to rest in an act that God has declared to be sin. Instead, Jesus saves people who have repented of these actions and have assumed the identity of children of God through Jesus Christ. Certainly this includes individuals who continue to struggle with the temptation of same-sex attraction, just as there are children of God who continue to struggle with the temptation of drunkenness, adultery, and idolatry, but their identity rests in God and they strive to submit themselves to His commandments.

 


1. Vine, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary, 525.
2. Ibid, 347.

Works Cited

1. Vine, W.E., Merrill Unger, William White Jr. Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1996.


 

The above comes from our book Laid Bare . Check it out!

 

Author: Timothy Zebell, 2015