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Homosexuals and Salvation
by Bob Wilkin
Ask anyone the following question and you will have a good idea of their view of the gospel: What would you tell a practicing homosexual that he had to do to be saved?
Many today suggest that ongoing homosexuality is a sin for which there is no forgiveness. Many people today believe that a practicing homosexual cannot he saved. They would answer the question stated above by telling a practicing homosexual that he must first stop his homosexual behavior and then, and only then, would he be able to place his trust in Christ and be saved.
Such a view grieves me. I actually hurt inside when I hear people say such things. Why? Because I too am a practicing sinner and but for the grace of God I would be bound for eternal suffering in hell.
If a gay or lesbian can't come to Christ in simple faith just as they are, then neither can any practicing sinner. The Scriptures are clear on this point. It only takes one sin of any magnitude to condemn to hell (Galatians 3:10-14). All are sinners (Romans 3:23). And, even the holiest of Christians remains a practicing sinner until he goes to be with the Lord (1 John 1:8,10; 3:2).
If practicing sinners can be saved, then so can practicing homosexuals. Likewise, if practicing homosexuals cannot be saved, then neither can practicing sinners of any stripe. If practicing homosexuals are doomed to hell, then so are we all.
One seeming problem for those who hold my view is that it sounds like we are condoning sin by saying that practicing homosexuals can be saved. However, the accusation does not stick because we do not condone sin in the life of a believer. We preach against it. We call believers to lives of wholehearted service of Christ. We call Christians to deny themselves, take up their crosses, and follow Christ daily. We preach discipleship to believers as much as anyone does. The difference is, we do not call unbelievers to clean up their lives so that they can be saved. We call them to accept the free gift of salvation by placing their faith in Jesus Christ alone to save them.
Another seeming difficulty with this view is that the Scriptures tell us that we are not to fellowship with other believers who willfully and unrepentantly indulge in those sins scripturally subject to church discipline. Homosexuality is one such sin (see the word pornos in 1 Corinthians 5:11). Practically speaking then, what are we to do with a new Christian who is a practicing homosexual? I would suggest that we treat them like any new believer. We should give them instruction, encouragement, love, attention, fellowship, and time to grow. First Corinthians 5:11-12 is not talking about new Christians who are in the process of breaking the habits of their old life. It is rather talking about believers who are stubbornly, defiantly, and unrepentantly walking in the ways of their old life.
It is important to note as well that Paul in 1 Corinthians 5 indicates that some who were a part of (i.e., were "inside") the body of Christ at Corinth were practicing fornicators and alcoholics and the like (1 Corinthians 5:12; see also 5:1-5; 6:15-20; 11:21,30). He does not question their salvation. He questions, rather, their right to fellowship with other believers while they remain in a position of defiant disobedience.
Let anyone--homosexuals included-- who wishes to drink of the living water which will forever quench their thirsty souls come and drink freely (John 4:10; Revelation 22:17). Whoever believes in Him--homosexuals included--will not perish but has everlasting life (John 3:16).
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