Can the Homosexual Change?

Title: Can the Homosexual Change?
Text: 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Time: February 8th, 2015

 

 
A few weeks ago I was in a discussion with someone about these silly and foolish laws, such as in California, that ban therapy and counseling to people seeking to transition out of the homosexual lifestyle. Yes, that’s right. In California and now other places, there are laws in place to make it illegal for counselors and therapists to attempt to help a person break free from the sin of homosexuality. These laws claim there is nothing wrong with homosexuality, therefore, any attempt to change a person from homosexuality to heterosexuality is harmful and dehumanizing. As Christians, we should be greatly alarmed by this legal development because it contradicts the biblical command of God to confess, repent and turn away from sinful lifestyles – whatever sinful activity it might be, including homosexuality. However, in the course of the conversation, I was shocked to find out the person I was talking to agreed with the laws banning so-called reparative therapy of homosexuals, saying, “They’ve shown that people can’t be changed, that they’re probably born that way, maybe it’s in the genes.” But that again contradicts the Bible outright, because God’s Word says clearly that sinners are not only called to confess and repent of sin, but also called to turn towards God in holiness. So if homosexual activity is a sin – which the Bible clearly says it is – then it must be, obviously, possible to cease from homosexual activity and live a godly, holy life. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 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 God.” I’m going to look at this verse closer in a few minutes, but to put it briefly – if this passage in the Bible is true, then it is not impossible for homosexuals to walk away from the gay lifestyle, it is possible for counselors and therapists to help people transition out of homosexual activity, and people aren’t “born gay” making it impossible for them to do anything but live out that orientation. No. According to this verse, it is possible for homosexuals to cease living immorally and live lives as God intended for them to live, either single or in a heterosexual marriage. We need to listen to God’s Word rather than gay activist propaganda. So let’s turn again to God’s Word and hear the truth on this subject.

First, homosexuality is a sin. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” Homosexuality isn’t the only sin, not even the worst sin, but it is a sin, period. Now the modern, secular, sinful world doesn’t like to hear that. But tragically, increasingly, Christians in the church don’t like to hear that either. Few pastor or church leaders speak out against the sin of homosexuality, although it’s plain from the Bible that it’s sin. Look at the list the Apostle Paul gives of sins, including homosexuality. He lumps homosexuality in with sins like drunkenness, adultery, idolatry, thievery, and so forth. He even calls these sins, including homosexuality, wicked. That’s a very strong word, wicked. We might include the word evil, since it’s closely related to the word wicked. Homosexuality, according to the Apostle Paul is sinful, evil and wicked. But that’s not all. The Apostle Paul goes even further, he says that people who do these evil or wicked things will not inherit the kingdom of God. What does that mean? It means that people who involve themselves in these sins on a regular, habitual, regular basis won’t get into heaven. Yes, that’s what Paul is talking about. Some revisionist authors, such as Jay Bakker, son of Jim and Tammy Bakker of PTL ignominy, claim that what Paul really means is that people who do such things won’t experience the fullness of life here on earth that God intends for them to live, i.e. they won’t experience God’s best life now, his kingdom living best on earth. But that’s taken for granted that people who live in a state of continual and constant sin won’t live the God-kind-of-life here on earth, or experience God’s best for them in the here and now. Certainly it means that, but it means much more than that. Inheriting the kingdom of God, or the kingdom of heaven as it’s described in some passages, is a reference, clearly, to eternal life, the heavenly kingdom. People who live an evil, sinful, wicked life of rebellion against the will of God can’t possible enter heaven because they don’t know anything about the grace of God that gives them the power to repent and turn their lives over to God. When a person becomes a Christian, truly born again, they are given the Holy Spirit’s power to assist them in turning from all sinful lifestyles and activities. Will Christians live lives free of sin totally? No, but that’s different from living in sin or living in open rebellion to God. If an adulterer won’t leave his adultery, if a drunkard won’t leave his drinking, if a homosexual won’t leave his lifestyle of homosexuality, what evidence is there that he is even saved? None. Christians aren’t saved by works; but works will inevitably follow salvation. If a person’s life doesn’t change by the power of God after salvation what makes them think their heart is changed either? Repentance is the fruit of salvation, and if it is absent, so probably, is salvation. Homosexuality is a sin to be repented of, the Bible is clear.

Second, it’s possible for men and women to repent of homosexuality and live holy lives as God intends for them. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were.” Look at that last phrase, “And that is what some of you were.” Past tense, “were.” Evidently, some of the people to whom the Apostle Paul was speaking or writing to were ex-fornicators, ex-adulterers, ex-drunkards, ex-homosexuals, ex-idolaters, and so on. They were ex-sinners of some sort. That’s the whole meaning of repentance, a turning away from sin and a turning towards righteousness or God’s will. That’s what becoming a Christian means, turning away from ourselves, our sins, our own will and way in life, and turning to God for salvation through the righteousness of Christ on the cross. This is gospel 101. But today, the modern secular world, along with weak and misled Christians in the church, want to make us think that it’s impossible for some sinners to repent and change. They want to tell us that it’s impossible for homosexuals to change. They want to tell us that even God can’t change some people because supposedly some people are just born a certain way and there’s really nothing to be done about it. On one hand, the secular world pumps out this can-do, be all you can be, do anything you can, dream big because nothing is impossible philosophy; but on the other hand they say, “Oh, but don’t tell a homosexual to change because, well, that’s impossible.” It’s a contradiction. It’s hypocrisy. Of course a homosexual can change. Of course a sinner, any kind of sinner, can change. But it’s important to define what we mean by change. What the Bible seems to be describing is a change from sinful behavior and sinful, immoral lusts of the heart to holy and righteous living and purity of heart. What causes homosexuality? That’s a question the Bible doesn’t answer and nobody knows for sure. As of yet, there is no “gay gene” discovered by science. It’s the same with drunkenness. Are people born with the propensity to drink excessively? Who knows? Are people born with a proclivity towards same sex attractions? Who knows? But the Bible says that whatever sins or forces or feelings are swirling around in someone, if they repent and turn to God he will free them from the compulsion to act on such sinful urges and liberate them to live lives pleasing to God. A drunk can learn to live without alcohol and a homosexual can learn to live without gay sex. It’s as simple as that. We don’t have to get into all the nuances of the debate about what constitutes homosexuality. The Bible says homosexuals can change. “And that is what some of you were.”

Third, saying God can’t change a homosexual is an insult to God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 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 God.” So far I’ve said two things – first, that according to the Bible homosexuality is a sin and in need of repentance; second, that according to the Bible it’s possible for the homosexual to repent of the sin of homosexuality and turn to God in order to live a holy life. Now I’d like to go further and say anyone who claims that God can’t change a homosexual from the sin of homosexuality to a life of holiness is insulting God. They don’t understand or take seriously the power of God. According to the Bible in the passage we are examining there were ex-homosexuals in the crowd the Apostle Paul was addressing. Now how does he know that? He lists a group of sinners, like drunkards, idolators, homosexuals, and so forth, and then he says that they, some in the crowd he’s speaking to, were these very kinds of sinners. Now there are all kinds of sinners because we are all sinners in some form or fashion. But the Apostle Paul specifically says that these Corinthians, the ones he’s writing to, “And that (adulterers, homosexuals, etc) is what some of you were.” He must have been thinking of specific people, certain individuals that he no doubt counseled or dealt with in the course of his ministry. He must have been thinking of ex-gays, ex-adulterers, ex-thieves, and so forth. It wasn’t theory with the Apostle Paul. It wasn’t some abstract concept he was thinking about and hoping it would prove true. No. Paul is saying that he knew specific individuals, ex-gays, ex-adulterers, ex- drunkards, that are now not living the gay lifestyle, not getting drunk and not living in adultery. This isn’t theory; this is fact. If it weren’t so, then who would listen to him? Certainly not the Corinthians – who by the way were known as an extremely sinful and immoral population in the Roman Empire – they would have dismissed Paul out of hand. But they couldn’t because they all knew he was speaking the truth because there were known ex-gays, ex-adulterers, ex-thieves, ex-idolaters in the church, know publicly as such. Ex-sinners who were changed by the power of God to holy living.

That’s why it’s so harmful for Christians to buy into the bogus claims that “gays can’t change” or “homosexuals are born that way so don’t try to change them.” What difference does it make if gays are born gay? Or drunkards are born with the proclivity towards alcohol? Or if anyone is born with a tendency towards a certain sin? Everyone, we are all, born with original sin, according to the Bible. We are all born sinners, and we grow up and become full-fledged sinners of all sorts and varieties. Anyone could use the excuses “I was born that way” to excuse any number of sins – and there might be some scientific evidence for the fact that individuals are born with certain tendencies or proclivities towards certain activities. But that’s not the point. The point is that God calls everyone, sinners of all sorts, to repent of their sins, whatever they might be, whatever their attractions are to whatever sinful behaviors. God calls us to himself and helps transform us into what he created us to be in holiness. That’s why these foolish state governments like California that ban gay counseling because it implies something is wrong with homosexuality is more a political stunt than sound policy. It’s a gay activist’s agenda item to get all governments to ban any kind of therapy that even hints that there’s something wrong with the gay lifestyle. Their goal is to remove every single hint of abnormality surrounding homosexuality, including any hint of criticism of transgenderism or really any kind of perverse or abhorrent sexuality. Well, that’s how the sinful, secular world operates – deceiving themselves and deceiving others. But we as Christians don’t have to buy into that foolishness. As a pastor, if someone comes to me and claims they have same sex attractions, I will help counsel them away and out of that condition if I can. Or, if I can’t I’ll refer them to someone or some group or organization that can help them. If that’s illegal, ok, then arrest me. I must obey God over the laws of man. I believe God’s Word, and God says in his Word that any and every sin can be overcome, including the sin of homosexuality. I don’t care what the world says, because after all, what do they know? Besides, God is the authority not the confused world. As Christians we need to start looking to God and stop looking to the worldly opinions of man. Is God, God? If he is, then let’s start acting like it. If somebody asks you if homosexuals can change, tell them, “Of course they can change, with God’s help any sinner can change.” That’s what our faith teaches us. That’s what is true.

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