Let me begin by offering and answering another question which I believe will get to the heart of the matter.
Is it possible for a Christian to struggle with homosexual temptations?
The Bible is clear that no Christian is sinless. (1 John 1:8-10) Admittedly, the specific type of brokenness, desire, and temptation varies form one Christian to another, but all Christians struggle with sin, and all Christians sometimes fail in those struggles. (1 Corinthians 10:13) However, a true faithful follower of Christ Jesus will always repent, will always return to God, and will always resume the struggle against sin.
This, I believe, truly distinguishes a Christian’s life from a non-Christian. A true follower and disciple of Christ Jesus continually submits his or her heart to God for on-going renovation.
Difficult as it may seem, the answer is “yes” to the question: Do I really need to give up the gay identity?
The homosexual identity is based on a sinful past and therefore must die.
As believers in Jesus, all of us are commanded to put aside our old identity, whether that be homosexual, drug-user, adulterer or alcoholic. We are called to embrace a new identity and a new lifestyle in Christ Jesus. “Put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires (and) put on the new self,” Paul exhorts in Ephesians 4:22-24.
While a man or woman may still be tempted homosexually, that does not make them gay or lesbian.
Our true identity in Christ is not defined by the things that tempt us. Our identity is not found by looking backward to our past or by looking inward to our fleshy nature. All of these indicators will give us a false report of who we are. To find our true identity we must look elsewhere.
The Bible never speaks of homosexuality as a person’s identity but rather condemns homosexual actions. The Bible distinguishes behavior from identity.
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness.” (Isaiah 5:20)
Today, especially in America, little is being offered which promotes the truth about homosexuality with the general public and the Church believing the many untruths and inaccuracies being offered. This did not happen by accident. This has been and continues to be a well-crafted strategic plan.
Phase One: Get society and the Church to ‘accept’ the falsehood that someone can be a gay Christian (it’s ok to practice homosexuality) which will then set the stage for the transition to Phase Two.
Phase Two: Revise Scripture to endorse and validate the homosexual disposition and agenda.
Hence, pro-gay theology: “the abandonment of Scriptural truth; scientific information, social changes, and personal experience become the cornerstone of how ‘truth’ is determined.”
For homosexual practice to be seen as acceptable and created by God, historic and traditional Christian teaching had to be discredited.
Phase Three: Since it’s ok to be a gay Christian (according to pro-gay theology), then God Himself supports, approves and validates homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
Herein lies the true problem (crisis). No where in the Bible does any Scripture, not one, approve of or support the notion or concept of gay Christian or same-sex relationships. Every time Scripture mentions homosexual practice it is always, without exception, mentioned in the context of a behavior in which no man or woman is to practice – not unlike many other behaviors.
The Church cannot ‘welcome and affirm’ what God Himself never affirms. Yes, Jesus welcomed and loved every person but He never, ever affirmed their sin – not once.
That said, permit me to take this another direction for a moment.
It is long overdue for many, including homosexual strugglers, to stop singling out homosexuality as the worst of all sins.
Today, many view the person engaged in homosexual acts to be unsaved. Why are not the same assumptions made, at least with the same rigor and emphasis, regarding other sins such as: fornication (pre-marital sex), idolatry, adultery, thievery, covetousness, alcoholism, slander, and deceit. An end must come to declaring those guilty of pre-marital sex as just, well, “disobedient Christians,” while declaring homosexuals definitely non-Christians.
As Christians, our relationship with God through Christ is the cornerstone of our identity.
Today, many are being told, “Accept yourself and follow your heart.”
However, Jesus says, “Deny yourself and follow Me.”
“By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him; the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” (1 John 2:3-6)
The ‘gay Christian’ identity does not exist in the Kingdom of God.
Pastor Phillip Lee
His Way Out Ministries
Member of Restored Hope Network