The acceptance of homosexuality as an equally valid lifestyle is rapidly growing in Western culture. Yet God tells us that sex was designed for only one relationship—within marriage, exclusively between a man and a woman. Because homosexual activity, premarital sex and adultery are all outside of marriage, all are violations of God's instructions. These things are all sins, and those who commit these sins must repent of them.
The Bible condemns homosexual practices in several places such as Genesis 19:1-25, Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13, and Judges 19:1-25. These scriptures refer to homosexual acts as something that should not be done and as evil in the eyes of God.
In the New Testament, Romans 1:24-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and 1 Timothy 1:9-10 refer to homosexuality in the same way. The passage in Romans includes a specific prohibition of both male and female homosexual involvement. The Bible nowhere makes positive or approving statements about homosexuality. The only two options affirmed for adult Christians are heterosexual marriage or abstinence.
The vast majority of academic and biblical scholars agree that the Bible prohibits homosexual activities. Nearly all of today's translations of the Bible are also in agreement that God prohibits homosexual practice.
Contesting God's instructions, some homosexuals argue that God made them the way they are and that He therefore must approve of homosexuality. Such reasoning is inherently flawed for several reasons.
First, God made all of us with free moral agency; we choose what we will think, believe and do. We are not robots incapable of making our own choices or governing our own behavior. Second, one's environment has been proven to have a great impact on a person's developing sexuality. Moreover, studies of identical twins where one twin is homosexual and the other isn't prove that homosexuality isn't governed by genetic makeup. These factors show that homosexuals are made, not born.
Third, regardless of any conditions that may predispose a person to homosexuality, we are all expected to make moral decisions regardless of our circumstances. When we determine to follow God's instructions, we must live up to all His standards. God doesn't permit us to rewrite His rules simply because we are naturally inclined to premarital sex, adultery, homosexuality or any other sin.
And speaking of the way we human beings are made, the Bible reveals that we all (regardless of our sexual orientation) have a predisposition to sin. We have minds that from childhood are set against God and His ways (Jeremiah 17:9). As a result, we all sin (Romans 3:23). The challenge for each of us in responding to God is to repent of our sins—to change our lives, with His help, in conforming to His standards (Romans 12:1-2). When we commit our lives to God, we can change our lives.
It's encouraging to understand that there is clear biblical evidence that God can change the life of a person involved in homosexual behavior. In 1 Corinthians 6, the apostle Paul is addressing men and women in the church at Corinth. He lists many forms of behavior—including homosexual acts—that will keep a person from being in God's Kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Then Paul makes this statement: "And 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" (1 Corinthians 6:11, New International Version).
Paul apparently knew former homosexuals in the church at Corinth. So the message that homosexuality can be changed is not new. Homosexuals have been experiencing change since the Bible was written. God's Word takes the approach of hating the sin but loving the sinner (compare John 3:16).
What is the responsibility of one who wants to be a Christian but struggles with a deeply ingrained attraction to members of his or her own sex? The Scriptures say that person is obligated to control his sexual desires in the same way that heterosexual single adults must exercise self-control. In other words, he or she must refrain from giving in to his or her lusts.
The Bible instructs us to repent and come out of sin. Homosexual practices, like any other sin, need to be repented of and overcome. A practicing homosexual would do so by acknowledging that homosexuality is wrong and by ceasing to live a homosexual lifestyle or place himself in a situation where he or she might be tempted to engage in such behavior.
Recognizing that sin begins in the mind (James 1:13-15), a person struggling with this or other sexual sins must strive to "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV). Such an individual can be a true Christian even though he or she may be engaged in a lifelong struggle to resist returning to homosexual practices.
It is also important to understand the difference between homosexual orientation and homosexual lust and behavior. The orientation is not a sin but the lust and behavior is. While there are many people in our society today who reject God's instruction on this subject, there are many others with homosexual orientations who are coming out of this lifestyle to live in accordance with God's instruction.
As resources for those wishing to overcome homosexuality and obey God, we recommend reading Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality by Dr. Joseph Nicolosi and Breaking Free Journal (breakingfree.ucg.org), a publication dedicated to helping Christians struggling with homosexuality, addictions and other dysfunctional behaviors.
A book entitled Love Won Out by John and Anne Paulk can also be encouraging. It is the true story of how, with God's help, two people were able to leave homosexuality and find each other. For those seeking help in leaving the homosexual lifestyle, several organizations can be contacted:
P.O. Box 540119
Orlando, FL 32854
P.O. Box 17635
Anaheim Hills, CA 92817
His Heart Ministries
12162 E. Mississippi
P.O. Box 12321
Aurora, CO 80011