Homosexual Born-Again Christians: They Do Exist!
James R. Aist
(Note: the numbers in parentheses refer to specific references listed at the end of the article)
“The Lord is…not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) “…for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13)
The Bible repeatedly and consistently condemns homosexual behavior as sin (Genesis 19:5 with Jude 1:7; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; I Corinthians 6:9-10; and I Timothy 1:10). This fact has led some to conclude that it is not possible to be a born-again Christian and, at the same time, a practicing homosexual person. But there are limited circumstances in which this seeming impossibility actually does exist for a relatively short time.
Before I delve into this topic further, let me state clearly and unequivocally that I do not believe that one can die an unrepentant, practicing homosexual — so-called “Christian” or not — and spend their eternity in heaven. The Bible is also unequivocal on this point (I Corinthians 6:9-10; Hebrews 10:26-27). So, please read on and hear me out. I believe there is something important here that all born-again Christians should realize, as we seek to gain a better understanding of homosexuality from a biblical perspective. But first, I need to lay a foundation upon which to construct the points I want to make.
Three Stages of Repentance
The first step on the road to repentance is to agree with God that what you have done is wrong, i.e., that it is “sin” (1 John 1:9). This may be experienced as Godly sorrow and/or a change of heart regarding your sin (2 Corinthians 7:10, 1 Kings 8:46-47). As a result, you will feel compelled to confess in your mind and with your mouth that you have sinned (2 Samuel 12:12-13).
The second step on the road to repentance is to actually turn from your sin (2 Chronicles 7:14, Matthew 3:8, Acts 26:20). That means that you make a quality decision to stop doing the sinful thing you have been doing and then follow through on your decision and stop doing it. This is where the genuineness of your commitment to your decision is tested and proven; it’s the really hard part. Without turning, your confession is, at best, questionable and to no avail.
The third and most rewarding step on the road to repentance is perseverance. It is common experience to be tempted to return to some of our old, sinful ways after we have turned from them. Unfortunately, it is also common experience to give in to such temptations by choosing to do so (James 1:13-14). To really conquer sin means not only to confess and turn from it initially, but also to persevere in our repentance to the end.
Justification and Sanctification
When we become born-again, all of our past sins are instantly forgiven. We refer to that wholesale forgiveness event as “justification.” But, sadly, we remain vulnerable to various temptations that can lead us to sin again (1 John 1:10). For purposes of illustration and later reference, here is a partial list of specific sins mentioned in the Bible: covetousness, drunkenness, envy, gluttony, gossip, greed, hatred, hypocrisy, idolatry, jealousy, laziness, lust, lying, murder, pride, profanity, rage, selfishness, sexual immorality of all kinds (e.g., adultery, fornication, homosexual sex), slander, theft and vengeance. Can you identify any sins in this list that you are still having trouble with? I can see a few that I am still struggling with.
Over time, the Holy Spirit, with our cooperation, cleanses us from more and more of our remaining sins in a process called “sanctification”, whereby we are convicted of a residual sin, confess it (1 John 1:9), turn away from it and, eventually, conquer it. This is why we born-again Christians often detect sin in both ourselves and in our fellow believers, even though we are already “saved”; these are simply sins that we have not yet allowed the Holy Spirit to cleanse us of. The presence of such sins in our lives does not mean, necessarily, that we are not yet saved; it may just mean that we are still a “work in progress.” This is not at all to minimize or trivialize our need to be sanctified; God did not call us to a life of compromise; rather, He called us to a life of holiness.
Same-sex attractions are powerful temptations, but biblically speaking, they are not sins. To have such attractions is akin to a married heterosexual man having opposite-sex attractions to women other than his wife. These attractions are temptations to sin and nothing more; they are not sin, although they would lead to sin if acted upon, either mentally or physically. Apparently, same-sex attractions are not something that many choose initially. Rather they seem to occur initially in most homosexual persons without their volition or intent. This is an important distinction that Christians need to be aware of. The Bible condemns homosexual sex acts, but it does not condemn the initial experience of being tempted by same-sex attractions. If the Bible did condemn the experience of being tempted, then Jesus would not have been without sin, would He?
Furthermore, Jesus said “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28). Thus, “acting” on either opposite-sex or same-sex attractions includes “looking lustfully” as well as the physical, sexual act itself; both are sin, and, as such, they are to be renounced, resisted and repented.
And finally, same-sex attractions are not of God; they are of the devil and are evil, as are all temptations to sin (click HERE). There is nothing good about either same-sex attractions or the practice of homosexuality in any context.
Who Are these Homosexual Born-again Christians?
Now let’s see if we can identify just who these homosexual born-again Christians are, keeping in mind that born-again Christians already have eternal life and will spend their eternity in heaven with God (1).
There are many born-again Christians who are homosexual in the sense that they experience only same-sex sexual attractions and feelings, and they have chosen to live a life of celibacy in order to maintain their sexual purity. They are tempted to sin sexually, but they do not actually sin by acting on those temptations, either mentally or physically. Their same-sex attractions will not keep them out of heaven, because they are not sinning sexually. It is relatively easy to recognize that these folks are truly born-again, homosexual Christians who will be in heaven with us. Who among us does not struggle with temptations of our own, having to refuse to give in to them in order to maintain our Christian integrity? But none of that disqualifies us from heaven. Take another look at the sins I listed above, and see for yourself if I am not right about this.
But there is another situation in which we can recognize truly born-again, homosexual Christians. I am talking now about practicing homosexuals who have been born-again and have not yet repented of their homosexual practices, but they will soon (“I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” – Ezekiel 36:27, and “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.” – 1 John 3:9). This situation is not unlike that of a heterosexual man who is fornicating with a woman, gets born-again, and continues to fornicate with the unbelieving woman for a while. Because the man is now born-again, the Holy Spirit will begin to convict him of his sinful lifestyle, and eventually, he will stop fornicating with her, thus repenting of his sexual sin. In the same way, a homosexual person may get born-again and continue to live in a sinful, homosexual relationship for a while, until he/she is convicted by the Holy Spirit and discontinues the practice of homosexuality. In both of these cases, the person who was involved in a sinful, sexual lifestyle, continued to live in sin for a while, even though he/she was already a born-again Christian. Now reflect back on what was said above about repentance and sanctification, and you will see that, after they were saved, their lingering sins were of a sexual nature, whereas for the rest of us, lingering sins may be of a different nature, such as rage, gossip, slander, greed, or lying. We must keep in mind that the lingering presence of such sins in our lives does not mean, necessarily, that we are not yet saved; it may just mean that we are still a “work in progress” and in need of additional repentance. And, this truth applies regardless of the particular nature of one’s sins, including homosexual sins. My assumption is that, among those homosexual people who identify themselves as Christian, there are always some who really are born-again believers. These are the ones who will soon repent and leave their homosexual lifestyle behind because the Holy Spirit in them will not allow them to continue to live that way, and many have already done so (2).
The Arch Enemies of Homosexual Born-again Christians
We should all be aware that there are many people who name the name of Jesus but are not helping homosexual born-again Christians become who Christ really wants them to be. I will not belabor this point, but I will call out these “wolves in sheep’s clothing” for what they are, based on what they are doing, regardless of how well-intentioned they may be. Firstly, there are those who seem to have only condemnation, and no compassion, for those who have turned out to be homosexual. They are quick to point out the sinfulness of homosexual behavior, but seem to ignore the fact that God loves homosexual people and wants them to repent and receive the good news just as much as He wants the rest of us to do so. Secondly, there are the purveyors of “gay theology”, who tell homosexual people that God approves of homosexual sex and that it is not necessary for them to repent in order to spend their eternity in heaven (3). And thirdly, there are those who teach the “gay gospel”, saying that, although God considers homosexual sex to be sinful, he does not require repentance in this case because His grace somehow gives homosexual people a dispensation, or exemption, that will enable them to spend their eternity in heaven despite their sinful lifestyle (4). Many of the homosexual, born-again Christians have believed these heresies and will, therefore, have to reject them in order to repent and become the men and women that God intended them to be all along.
Demonstrating the Love of Christ
So then, how can we show the love of Christ to homosexual born-again Christians? Perhaps we can best do this is by doing what Jesus would do (5). Jesus would be willing to spend time with homosexual people when he had the opportunity to do so (cf. Matthew 9:10; Luke 7:34), and He would treat them with kindness and respect, without approving of their homosexual behavior (cf., Romans 12:9 and 1 Corinthians 13:6). He would further demonstrate His love for homosexual people by encouraging them to repent of (turn away from) their homosexual sins (6). In the same way, if and when the opportunity presents itself, we can discuss with a homosexual friend God’s plan of redemption and point out that it is for them just as much as it is for us. The personal testimony of Rosario Champagne Butterfield (7), an ex-lesbian turned pastor’s wife and mother of many, provides a powerful and instructive example of how to go about demonstrating the love of Christ to a practicing homosexual.
(For more articles on HOMOSEXUALITY, click HERE)
1. Aist, J.R. 2012. What Does “Born-Again” Mean? (click HERE)
2. Aist, J.R. 2012. Homosexuality: Good News (click HERE)
3. Aist, J.R. 2012. Gay Theology: Did God Really Say “You Must Not…?” (click HERE)
4. Aist, J.R. 2012. The “Gay Gospel” (click HERE)
5. Aist, J.R. 2012. Homosexuality: What Would Jesus Do?” (click HERE)
6. Aist, J.R. 2012. Repentance: Confess, Turn, Persevere (click HERE)
7. Butterfield, R. C. 2013. My Train Wreck Conversion. Christianity Today, January/February. (click HERE)
Nathan, thank you for reading my article and posting a comment. I’m glad you found the article encouraging in your battle against unwanted homosexuality. I realize this can be a very difficult battle, and I commend you for continuing to battle against your same-sex attractions, which are temptations to homosexual sin. But, rest assured that you aren’t the only one who struggles against sexual sin; heterosexual people do as well. That said, please allow me to bring to your attention 1 John 1:8-9: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” So, until you no longer backslide in this way, be quick to always confess and repent when you do backslide. And note these two relevant passages as well: 1 John 3:9, “Whoever has been born of God does not practice sin, for His seed remains in him. And he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God” and 1 John 5:18, “We know that whoever is born of God does not keep on sinning. But whoever has been born of God guards himself, and the wicked one cannot touch him.” If you are truly born again, then you no longer have the “sin nature” you were born with, but, instead, you have been made “…the righteousness of God in Christ” (Romans 3:22). Therefore, I urge you to forsake the circumstances that lead to your backsliding and to quickly nip in the bud any lustful, homosexual thoughts that may come into your mind before they become fantasies and more. A truly born-again, homosexual person will not long continue to cherish homosexual sin in his heart (Psalm 66:18), but will soon cease to sin homosexually altogether. God will enable you to do that, but you will have to do your part. We have not been called to a life of compromise, but of obedience, so you must stop acting on your same-sex attractions. Remember this: “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit that lives in you” (Romans 8:11). The same power (of the Holy Spirit) that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you (if you are born again). May God bless you and keep you.
Thank you for your article, James. As a born again Christian that struggles with the sin of homosexuality and unfortunately has the tendency to backslide on the Lord, this is a great and encouraging read!
Thank you for your comment, Lion. If you will read this article carefully and thoughtfully, then you will see that I did, in effect, say that “The only way a homosexual can go to Heaven is by repenting.” I accept your apology, in advance.
Thanks for your comment, Ariel. If you will read this article carefully and thoughtfully, then you will see that I did, in effect, say that “all homosexuals will got to Hell unless they repent.” I accept your apology, in advance.
Christians this guy is wrong all homosexuals will got to Hell unless they repent and never commit that sin again. James you use enough Bible verses but you must not read your Bible.
The only way a homosexual can go to Heaven is if they repent and never become a homosexual again. James stop confusing Christians further. The only way a homosexual can go to Heaven is by repenting and turning from that sin forever. If a homosexual couple came into the Church I would tell them to walk right out. If just one of them came in I would probably not even realize that one was a homosexual because that one came to ask for forgiveness and turn from their sin. James your cracked up or something teaching people this way. Christians beware of this website. Read your Bible and Trust in God only.
Thank you for your comment Dianne. Sorry to hear of your family’s struggle. I pray that your patience and steadfast expression of love for this family member will, sooner than later, help him to conform his life to the will of God for him. May the Lord bless you with all things good!
Thank you for a practical and clear explanation of this subject matter that continues to subject us to confusion. As someone who has recently learned of a family member coming out and expecting us to accept him AND his partner, I hurt for his parents who are going through the moves to keep peace. He is Catholic and also receiving his doctorate in scientific theology which increases a sense of stark contradiction for the conservative Christians that we are.
He is a selfless darling person who loves to make others happy, so we show the love we can afford him despite our disapproval. Similar to your phrasing of how sin continues to be manifested in the flesh, I describe it as
” transistional “, meaning an awareness of one’s attraction or sexual preference of the same gender does not indicate permanent mindset. If he is truly born again, his spirit man will be greater than the flesh and migrate toward holiness due to the work of the Holy Spirit.
Now, to get through those moves! Let us pray for clarity whilst sin and the world’s support can fog us. God protect your boldness!
If I am doing anything well, God deserves all of the credit. Thanks for the encouragement.
Jim, your patience is astounding.
Thank you, Julio, for your comment and questions. I will give you my honest opinion, but it will be up to you, of course, to decide what you will do going forward. Please consider the following passage from the Bible: “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.” (1John 3:9-10). You say you are giving yourself to the Lord, but are you willing to give your same-sex attractions to the Lord? Of course it is possible for two people of the same gender to live happily together without sinning sexually, if they are not sexually attracted to each other. But, since you two have sexual attractions for each other, I doubt that any kind of physical contact (e.g., cuddling or hugging) that is motivated by sexual attraction is either wise or permissible. The principle that Jesus was teaching in Matthew 5:28, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”, would also apply to a same-gender relationship. It is likely, therefore, that you are presently living in lust (sinning in your heart), of your own volition. The arrangement you have at present is analogous to two opposite-sex heterosexuals with sexual attractions for each other living together. In either case, I would have to advise against continuing such an arrangement going forward. Even if you were not living in sin, you are, by choice, living in temptation to sin, and, at some point, you will almost surely yield to the temptation and begin sinning with your partner. Do you seriously believe that is the will of God for your life?
I read this article and find it quite interesting. So let me ask you this, my partner and I go to Church and give ourselves to The Lord, there’s a chance we will be born again but homosexuals? I understand miracles don’t happen instantly but I would like to know if this is true, could we continue living together without practicing homosexuality? Is it possible to be happy with one another without it being a sin? Like cuddling or hugging?
Thank you for your comment, Glass. Here is Merriam’s definition: per·vert·ed adjective \pər-ˈvər-təd\: 1)having or showing sexual desires that are considered not normal or acceptable; 2) not considered normal or acceptable. The practice of homosexuality is biologically unnatural and statistically abnormal by it’s very nature, and it is not acceptable to the God of the Bible (i.e., it is biblically immoral). That “we blessed heterosexuals” do not have same-sex attractions is irrelevant to this matter. The Bible says what it means and means what it says w.r.t. homosexuality; there is no need to try and make sense out of the relevant passages.
“based on its innate, perverted nature”
Please, do tell. What can be perverted about that which does not cause erotic desire or lust for we blessed heterosexuals? You are simply taking some Bible passages and slapping them on a group of people who “sort of” seem like similar people just to make sense out of Bible passages.
Thank you again, EY, for your thoughtful comment. I am aware that a small minority of homosexual relationships are loving, faithful, committed, long-term relationships. The friendships between David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, and Jesus and John are excellent examples of non-sexual same-gender relationships that God approves of. Of course there are emotional attachments involved there. I know of several heterosexual people who have strong emotional attachments to members of the same gender, without being sexually involved with each other. So what? God bless them all! There is no sexual sin involved in such relationships.
And God bless you for being deeply committed to your same-gender friend and her general well-being. People who care for others to that extent are a special kind of hero, to me. But, just like everyone else, whether homosexual or heterosexual, you have a sin problem. And one of your sin problems is that you practice homosexuality. The love and committment that you have for your friend is admirable, impressive and awesome, but you still have the problem of homosexual sin. And it is that which God condemns. You are mistaken when you accuse God of wanting to condemn any person, for “The Lord is not…wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9). But God is a holy God, and He will not permit evil to exist in His presence. That’s why anyone who willingly continues to live in sin, as you are, is condemned. It is your own stubborn insistence to cling to your sin, instead of repenting, that is your condemnation.
Regarding whether or not Paul knew about homosexual couples like you and your friend, it is a pure, groundless assumption to claim that he did not. And you cannot prove a point by appealing to an assumption. More importantly, you are gravely mistaken to assume that the Bible was written by men who were writing out of merely human knowledge. Peter declared, “We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:19-21). Moreover, the God of the Bible is omniscient; thus, He knew about couples such as you, whether from the time of Paul or the present day, and yet there is not even a hint in the Bible that He approves of the practice of homosexuality in any context; there is only condemnation of it as sin, based on its innate, perverted nature. If you want to find out anything else that I know about these topics, please read the relevant articles on my website, as our discourse has already begun to circle around on itself.
If you truly know any committed gay couple, you will know the gay life style doesn’t apply to us. Our life style is even more boring than most heterosexual couples. Sex is not the most important thing in most mature relationships with mutual respect and commitment. As a lesbian, I can’t relate to man sexually AND emotionally. For me, the emotional aspect far exceeds any sexual feelings. Read again the emotional attachment between Jonathan and David or Naomi and Ruth.
All I want is to take care of my partner when she gets old or get sick, to love and sacrifice for someone the same way any heterosexual couples would do for their spouses. Does God really choose to condemn people like us? Did Paul really have same sex committed couples in his mind when he wrote Romans?
Thank you for hanging in there with me, EY, at least for now. Please allow me to speak to the points you raised in this comment. First, God hates divorce; He is not OK with it. That said, the Bible does specify two conditions that allow for divorce: 1) marital infidelity; and 2) abandonment. Second, by contrast, the Bible does not make any accomodation whatsoever for the practice of homosexuality; it only and always speaks of it as sin requiring repentance. Third, God does not reject your one and only commitment with your partner; but, He does reject your practice of homosexuality with your partner. Fourth, I agree that you did not choose to experience same-sex attractions, which are temptations to sin sexually. But you did decide to act on those temptations each and every time you engaged your partner sexually. Those sins God will hold you accountable for, unless you repent. And fifth, of course you can choose to believe whatever you want to believe — that’s what people do — but your believing that God will somehow forgive your sexual sins without your repenting of them is patently unbiblical heresy and will not change God’s mind about it! If it would, then that would be the only sin that God deals with in this manner, and there is nothing in God’s Word to even hint at such an exception. Be assured that it is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ — which demands repentance — that saves people from their sins, not the false “gay gospel.” If you are really a born-again Christian, then you will, eventually, agree with God, repent and turn away from your homosexual lifestyle. I hope, for your sake, that you will.
Thank you for your reply. I am still wrestling with how can a loving God be okay with my christian brothers and sisters who go through 3 marriages and reject my one and only commitment with my partner. Even though I didn’t choose to be gay, I can choose to believe the Grace of God will far exceed any human mind can conceive. I will not give up that hope. God bless.
Thank you for your comment. I realize that your question is rhetorical, but, out of respect, I will answer it as if you were actually wanting to know the answer. As you know, my article is about homosexual born-again Christians. Therefore, to find the answer to your question, you will have to look to the Bible, not to what seems like “wisdom” to mortal men. The Bible unequivocally and consistently condemns homosexual sex acts as sin. In order to go to heaven when a man dies, God requires that he repent of his sins before he dies and believe in Jesus. For a practicing homosexual person, this means that he must repent of and leave his homosexual lifestyle. If he does not do that, he will have to pay the penalty for his sins, which is death (eternal damnation). That’s the requirement that God has established, and He does not seek the opinion or the wisdom of men in this regard. He is a holy God and will not allow evil to exist in His presence. It has nothing to do with having an “open mind”, because this determinaton belongs to God alone, not to men. And this applies not just to homosexual sins, but to all sins. The brotherly love between two men is a beautiful thing that God approves, but when it turns into erotic, physical love, that’s what God condemns. It is a perversion of physical love as God created and requires it to be; that is, only between one man and one woman in the context of marriage. Love is never a license to sin.
Tell me why a same sex couples of over 42 years would be condemned? One partner took care of the other for years after the other one was diagnosed with MS. Google Edie Windsor love story. Please open your eyes and have an open mind.
You are most welcome, Stephen, and thank you for this comment. It is a tragedy that you were led out of the pastorate over someone else’s sins. I, too, am getting considerable negative “feedback” because of this website, but that’s to be expected and, in my case, ignored. The issue of homosexuality and the Christian church is a complicated one. On the two extremes are churches that seem to have no love for homosexual people, only condemnation, and other so-called “Christian” churches that proudly approve of and endorse homosexuality. The churches that seem to have it right are those that have been active since the 1960s in reaching out to homosexual people in love and helping them repent of their homosexual behavior and receive forgiveness and salvation. There are actuallly more of these churches than we realize, because many of them do not have a “public” ministry to homosexual people but, instead, do this labor of love quietly, individually and behind the scenes, as it were. Keep up the good work on your blog; we need more voices on the internet that are willing to speak the truth in love to homosexual people who are willing to listen to the truth.
Thank you for this. While I have never been homosexual, my daughter is. As a former Baptist pastor I had a great deal of difficulty with it when she informed me. The reactions from fellow pastors and church leaders led me out of the pastorate. It also led me to love homosexuals more than ever, and attempt to get churches to love and pursue them more than ever. My series of blogs on homosexuality and the church drew considerable “feedback”.
Thank you, Sheryl, for a very well thought and insightful comment. I couldn’t agree more. And, yes, these things most certainly do apply to any kind of sin. In this day and age, obedience is often minimized, but only in the minds of men.
You are bold to tackle this subject, and you presented it well. Homosexuality–among many other sins–can keep one out of heaven as you pointed in I Cor. 6:9. This brings to mind another scripture. I don’t have access to a Bible at the moment, but I recall a scripture in I Corinthians about a man having a sexual relationship with his mother-in-law. Paul “turned him over to satan” and urged the congregation to do the same unless the man repented. (I think the idea of “turning him over to satan” was that satan would destroy his flesh but his spirit would survive.) The congregation was told to confront the man about his sin and if he repented, the congregation was to accept him and welcome him back.
I can see your point about befriending the “practicing” homosexual, but that would be “one on one,” wouldn’t it? The same would apply to any sin in the I Cor. 6: 9 passage. Some sins are more obvious than others. For example, God has chastened me a number of times for sins that are so subtle they could slip under the radar. Sins like greed, gossip, lust, etc. are easy to ignore or rationalize.
Can God change a homosexual’s desire for the same sex? Absolutely. “Nothing is too difficult for God.” The subject of homosexuality is a complex one. I have heard testimonies of ex-homosexuals who were molested by a man they trusted (like a boy scout leader) in their youth. This is just one example, but the bottom line is that God is our healer. Jesus is to be Saviour and Lord over our lives. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can walk in obedience through the process of santification.
Thank you for posting. Blessing, Sheryl