by James R. Aist
“Surely Jesus would be willing to associate with homosexual people (cf. Matthew 9:10; Luke 7:34) and treat them with kindness and respect, without approving of their homosexual behavior; Jesus came preaching repentance from sin, not acceptance of sin (Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15; Luke 5:32). Jesus did not come to save us and our sins, but to save us from our sins.”
How would Jesus relate to homosexual people, were He to visit planet earth today? Of course, we can’t know that for certain, but the Bible provides enough telling evidence to enable us to draw some reasonable conclusions.
Let’s begin by recalling that the very reason Jesus came to planet earth in the first place was to: 1) live a sinless life (so that his death could pay the penalty for our sins and not his own); and 2) suffer and die to pay the penalty — death (Romans 6:23) — for our sins (so that we would not have to pay that penalty). That’s how serious our “sin problem” is, to God! So, Jesus did not respond to sins by calling “evil good and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20); rather, he willingly paid the ultimate price for sins (Romans 5:8). Jesus came to save the world so that people could go to heaven (John 3:17), not to endorse and approve the very sins that would keep people out of heaven (Corinthians 6:9-10)!
Jesus’ Views on Homosexuality
Some in the modern Christian church claim that Jesus did not condemn homosexual acts as sin, and that, therefore, He must not condemn it. This argument is invalid by its very nature. It is based on the assumption that everything that Jesus said is recorded in the Bible. If this were a valid assumption, then Jesus would also not condemn rape, child sexual abuse and slavery, because the Bible does not record Him specifically speaking out against any of these sins. Since one cannot prove a point by appealing to an assumption, this claim is self-destructive. Now let’s take a look at the root assumption, namely, that the Bible does not record Jesus saying anything about homosexuality, and see if that assumption is actually true.
While the Bible does not record Jesus singling out homosexual acts per se, as sexual sins, one of His teachings, as recorded by Matthew and Mark, implies that He did consider them to be sin: “For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person…” (Matthew 15:19-20) and “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” (Mark 7:21-23). The Greek word translated “sexual immorality” in both accounts is “porneia”, which, according to Strong’s Concordance, refers to all forms of illicit sexual intercourse, including adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, bestiality and incest. It would be presumptuous, at best, to conclude that, out of all the sexual sins that this Greek word refers to, Jesus meant to exclude homosexual acts. If He had meant to exclude homosexual acts from the list, He could have said something like “…sexual immorality (“porneia”), except homosexuality (“arsenokoites”),…”, but He didn’t. The implication, from the context, is that He meant to include homosexual acts among the sins to which He was referring. If this implication is not correct, then Jesus — the man who is also the Divine Son of the all-knowing God — did not say what He meant and therefore mislead His hearers! I would suggest that if you believe that about Jesus, then you may just believe in a “different Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4).
The Bible declares that “the wicked”, including unrepentant “homosexual offenders”, “…will not inherit the kingdom of God…” (I Corinthians 6:9-10), and it goes on to say that “the wicked” were all washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God (I Corinthians 6:11). So think about it: if God really made some people homosexual, approved of homosexual behavior, and wanted them to remain gay, then why did He change them in the name (“name”: literally, power and authority) of the Lord Jesus Christ? I think you and I both know why He changed them. And if Jesus approved of homosexual behavior and wanted them to remain gay, how could they have been changed by His own power and authority? Obviously, Jesus also wanted them to be changed. Why? Because the homosexual offenders were wicked (I Corinthians 6:11). Jesus did not come to save us and our sins, but to save us from our sins.
The argument that Jesus never said anything specifically about homosexual acts, and that therefore He must not condemn it, presumes that the recorded words of Jesus are more authoritative than the words of Scripture elsewhere and that Jesus does not agree with what the other writers of the Bible have to say about homosexuality. But it is the Holy Spirit of God who inspired all of the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16), including epistles like Romans, 1 Corinthians, and 1 Timothy, where homosexuality is specifically and directly addressed and condemned as sin. Moreover, Jesus and the Holy Spirit co-exist in the Godhead — in fact, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus (Romans 8:9 ) — and have been in perfect and eternal communion and harmony all along. Therefore, we can be confident that Jesus agrees with everything the Holy Spirit revealed in the Bible about moral issues, including homosexuality.
Furthermore, one can deduce that Jesus considered homosexual behavior to be sin, from His stated belief that the Old Testament, which labels it as “detestable” and commands us not to do it, is the infallible and everlasting Word of God (Matthew 5:18; John 10:35). And, in John 17:17, Jesus, speaking at that time of the Old Testament, declared to God the Father, “…your word is truth.” This “truth” includes Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13. We can know that Jesus taught that homosexual behavior is sin, because, in referring to the Law and the Prophets (which includes Leviticus), Jesus declared, “Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same …will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19-20). And Jesus confirmed that the eternal fate of unrepentant sinners, including homosexual people, is hell when He said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21). Jesus did not come to save us and our sins, but to save us from our sins. In view of the direct command of God to refrain from homosexual behavior (Leviticus 18:22), it is obvious that such behavior violates the explicit will of God and therefore, according to Jesus’ own words, disqualifies unrepentant homosexual people from heaven.
What Jesus Would (probably) Do
So then, what can we expect Jesus would do today, based on the biblical witness? Surely Jesus would be willing to associate with homosexual people (cf. Matthew 9:10; Luke 7:34) and treat them with kindness and respect, without approving of their homosexual behavior; Jesus came preaching repentance from sin, not acceptance of sin (Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15; Luke 5:32), and He was still calling for repentance after his ascension into heaven (Revelation 2, 3). Jesus did not come to save us in our sins, but to save us from our sins. Jesus said to the woman caught in the heterosexual sin called “adultery”, “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:11). Jesus gave up His own life to pay the price for homosexual sins; that’s how much He hates homosexual sins and loves homosexual people (Romans 5:8). Jesus would further demonstrate His love for homosexual people by encouraging them to believe in Him and be saved (John 3:16), and to repent of (turn away from) their homosexual sins. Furthermore, He would change them “in the name (literally, the power and authority) of the Lord Jesus Christ”, just as His Corinthian disciples (His representatives) did after Him (I Corinthians 6:11). This is the kind of love Jesus has for homosexual and heterosexual people alike. The Bible also has this to say about love: “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” (Romans 12:9); and “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” (1 Corinthians 13:6). This, too, is the love of Christ for all of us, including homosexual people. For a more comprehensive and detailed presentation of a Christ-like response to homosexuality, see Dallas and Heche (2010).
So, if you are a Christian who believes that Jesus would approve of homosexual acts and not insist that homosexual people forsake their homosexual behavior, then you may want to check out these verses and the links (below) for yourself, mull them over a bit and re-think that.
(For more articles on HOMOSEXUALITY, click HERE)
Dallas, J. and N. Heche. 2010. The Complete Christian Guide to Understanding Homosexuality. Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. pp. 461-485.
Recommended links (for further study of this topic):
Did Jesus condemn homosexuality? (click HERE)
Did Jesus ever address homosexuality? (click HERE)
Responding to pro-gay theology. (click HERE)
How should followers of Christ respond to the issues of homosexuality and same-sex marriage? (click HERE)