Monday, October 7, 2013

Monday Musings: A Christian Approach to Homosexuality

I have been studying the presence of "justification" language in the New Testament for a future post and came across this text in 1 Corinthians. I have always (as long as I can remember anyway) thought that Paul, without explicitly trying, provided a sketch of a Christian approach to homosexuality in these verses.

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 6:9–11).

For me, this particular text makes several important points.

1. Yes, homosexuality is a serious sin; the practice of which will exclude a person from the kingdom of God.

2. Homosexuality is one sin among many, it is not singled out here for special comment as particularly worse or somehow more evil or more corrupt. It is a sin alongside heterosexual immorality, adultery, and other non-sexual sins. There is no basis here whatsoever for homophobia or hate-speech. Homosexuality was wide-spread in the ancient Roman world.

3. “And such were some of you”: Some, if not many, in the Corinthian church had formerly practiced homosexuality but did so no longer. There is a clear line between those who in Christ are being rescued and transformed and who have hope for future entrance into God’s kingdom and those who will not inherit the kingdom of God.

4. There is hope: “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified.” As a sin and temptation homosexuality can and must be dealt with the same way a Christian is to deal with any sin and temptation (see point 2); i.e., the one who struggles with homosexual lust is in the same position as the one who struggles with heterosexual lust. Both sins will exclude one from God’s kingdom, yet there is hope for those who struggle with either or both; it is the hope and reality of forgiveness and transformation that we as Christians cling to as we pursue righteousness in the present by grace and by the power of God’s indwelling Spirit.

No comments:

Post a Comment