In recent years, it has become popular to dichotomize between homosexual deeds and homosexual thoughts. Books have been written to justify the notion of the “gay” Christian. This philosophy has suggested that since desires are not the same as deeds, it is not sinful for us to accept unnatural sexual desires as “the way we’ve been wired”.
Jesus, however, taught that it is not merely sinful to practice what God calls wicked, it is sin to desire in your heart what God calls wicked (Matthew 5:25). There is a radical difference between a man confessing that he has same-sex attractions, or that he struggles with same-sex attractions, and the current trend of proclaiming, “I am same-sex attracted, that is how I was made, so accept me or you’re a bigot.”
People take all sorts of personality tests to excuse, explain, or justify why they think and act certain ways. Secular psychology is ready and willing to classify your behavior as just the way you are. Sadly, much of what calls itself “Christian counseling” these days seeks to do the same.
It is time that we toss out such notions and realize that, according to the word of God, the goal for each Christian is the transformation into the image of Christ. What that means is this, it does not matter what personality traits you have, any aspect of your life which is not being brought into conformity to Christ, needs to be! It is wrong to excuse, justify or explain away such behaviors as, “that’s just how I’m wired.” Yes, that may be how, as a result of being born in a sin cursed world, you are wired. But, if it is not in conformity to the image of Christ, it is not something to accept. It is something to slay, to mortify and to change. As Christians, we have been called to strive to be conformed to the image of Christ, through a diligent use of the means of grace: prayer, study of the Word, and attending the public worship of the Lord (Romans 8:29; 12:2).
As a pastor, I am not suggesting that we need to buck up and try harder. I am seeking to encourage greater dependence upon Christ much in the same way that Paul encouraged the church in Philippi saying:
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. –Philippians 2:12-13
It is not OK for a minister of the gospel or a Christian in general to accept same-sex attraction as, “this is who I am, this is how God made me”. That is not who you are in Christ, if indeed, you are “IN CHRIST”. If a man or woman insists that it would be wrong for them to seek victory, over any area of life in which they are not in conformity to the image of Christ, they are in conflict with the Word of God. Such a person is in rebellion and evidencing a serious lack of the presence of the Holy Spirit in their Christian walk. The miracle of new birth changes people and conforms them to agreement with God concerning sin. Yes, we all fail daily, but we never stop calling our sin, “SIN”. We are not of those who walk in darkness, while claiming to have fellowship with the God of light (1John 1:5-7). We are not of those who call good what God has called evil (Isaiah 5:20). The person who stops calling their sin, “SIN”, is one who is active in seeking to sear their own conscience (1 Timothy 4:2). That is not what the Holy Spirit does in the hearts of His people. He convicts us of sin (John 16:8), and actively works in us to daily transform us into greater conformity to the image of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18).
In 1 John 1:9 we are told that if we confess our sins (agree with God about our sins), He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. God’s word does not teach that Christians will be free from sinful desires and struggles. But it does teach that those who walk in darkness while claiming to have fellowship with God are liars and victims of self-deception. It is an essential quality of the Christian life for the Spirit and flesh to war against each other. When men justify their sinful desires rather than agreeing with God that such desires in themselves are sinful, they lose the battle. Only through the diligent use of the means of grace, in dependence upon Christ can we have true victory.
[Guest Post by Justin Hoke]