Updated: Nov 28, 2020
That question comes up almost every time I speak on that subject. When an LGBT+ person asks it, I get the feeling it’s asked not because they aren’t sure of the answer, but to find out if I’m one of those kind of Christians who think all gays are going to hell.
On the other hand, when a straight Christian asks this question, I get the impression that they are testing my orthodoxy. Do I believe homosexuals are lost? The verse both most often refer to is this one:
“Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9,10
“There!” some straight evangelicals say, “How much more clear does scripture have to get?” So here’s my response. In listing these sins, God, through Paul, is not referring to those who struggle with committing these sins, repent of them, seek forgiveness and make a serious effort to resist temptation. If you struggle with alcohol or drugs and “fall of the wagon,” repent of it and continue to resist its temptation, these verses do not apply to you. If you struggle with any sexual temptation, straight or gay, and fall into sin, but it saddens you to repentance, again, these verses do not apply to you.
Instead God is warning those who have given up on the struggle, who no longer call it a sin, and have given themselves over to, and embraced, accepted or celebrate these behaviors. God warns, that in doing so, those individuals are proving themselves, not to be children of God, thereby disqualifying themselves from inheriting the kingdom of God.
But before anyone gets too self-righteous about who is “in” or “out” of heaven, consider this; you better be ready to add to that list, your son who’s having unrepentant sex with his girlfriend, your alcoholic sister who refuses treatment, a Christian who has had an unbiblical divorce or remarriage and Christians who die with way more money than they will ever need, while small children in Congo are licking rust off junked cars for iron!
No Christian in unrepentant sin, should sleep well at night!
True repentance is more than remorse. It is a profound understanding that our behavior is a serious violation of God’s moral laws. No excuses!
So back to the original question. While I am unable to know if a Christian in a same-sex marriage is saved or not, I am duty bound to warn them and anyone violating 1 Corinthians 6 that they cannot assume they are saved just because they believe in God or “trusted Christ” sometime in their life. The following command still holds true.
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God;” 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5
“We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” Hebrews 2:1
So here’s my parting advice; be ever mindful of your own sin, so that with a clear conscious you can gently warn others of theirs.
“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” Galatians 6:1
How following Jesus works in real life.
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