Four Propositions on Homosexuality and Holiness

One of the most heated topics for Christians today is how to relate same-sex attraction to the Christian life

Tender-hearted Christians can only sympathize with our brothers and sisters who have and do struggle with homosexual desires.  Yet we do no actual good in offering false comfort to weary strugglers.  Yes, we must not make heterosexuality the be-all and end-all of godliness, as if heterosexuality = holiness.  Yet we cannot be true to Scripture and yet deny that godliness must include holy heterosexuality, so that the pursuit of holiness will include for many a bitter struggle against homosexual desires.

 

In response to the cultural tidal wave of gay-rights advances in America, Christians and churches are seeking categories to make sense of our situation.  As the Supreme Court has legally normalized homosexuality, more and more people feel comfortable admitting to homosexual desires (i.e. “same-sex attraction”).  A good number of them make this claim as church-going people who profess faith in Jesus Christ.  Therefore, one of the most heated topics for Christians today is how to relate same-sex attraction to the Christian life.

This topic came to my mind today as I read an article titled Godliness Is Not Heterosexuality.  The author expresses concern that Christian parents are worried that their children might become same-sex attracted and thus be barred from a godly life.  His answer is that same-sex attraction is not contrary to godliness.  Having formerly thought that the “pursuit of holiness. . . equaled the pursuit of heterosexuality,” he now understands that “godliness, not heterosexuality” should be our aim.  In reading the article, one sympathizes with the struggle that it reveals.  Nonetheless, its argument involves a confusion of biblical categories.  Can Christians, in light of the teaching of Moses and Paul, consider homosexual desire as compatible with godliness?  In dealing with this question, let me offer these four propositions on homosexuality and holiness and then work them out in more detail:

  1. All believers in Jesus are positionally holy (1 Cor. 1:2; 1 Cor. 6:11; Heb. 10:10).
  2. Personally, all believers in Jesus are imperfectly holy in this present life (Phil. 3:12; 1 Jn. 1:8; Eph. 4:22-24; Phil. 2:12-13; 1 Tim. 6:12-13).
  3. Homosexual behaviors and desires are contrary to holiness (Lev. 18:22; Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-11).
  4. Believers with homosexual desires must therefore strive for Christ-like sexual holiness, which is categorically heterosexual (Gen. 2:24; Rom. 1:27; Rom. 13:14; Phil. 4:13).

Let me explain these propositions and defend them from God’s Word:

  1. All believers in Jesus are positionally holy.  We have been categorically set apart to God by God through the saving achievement of Jesus Christ.  Theologians refer to this idea as definitive sanctification: we have been made once-for-all holy as we are in Christ through saving faith (1 Cor. 1:2; 1 Cor. 6:11; Heb. 10:10).
  2. Personally, all believers are imperfectly holy in this present life.

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