Tuesday, April 14, 2015

This article originally appeared at the ParkingSpace23 blog.

Homosexuality, Same Sex Attraction and the Power of the Gospel.

The greatest demonstration of the love of God is when He justly punished the wrath of all of His own upon His own dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and made Him a “curse”. The best visible illustration of this gospel message is the marriage covenant. The Apostle Paul speaks of marriage   as a “mystery” which refers to Christ and the Church (Eph 5:31-32). Christians must fight for, stand on, and speak up for biblical truth and for the God-designed plan for marriage which illustrates the gospel.

Understanding God’s Design
At the beginning of human history, when only two people existed on the planet, Adam and Eve, God brought them together in marriage and instituted that a man must leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife thus making the two one flesh. From the very origination of the marriage covenant itself, one sees that the design of God for marriage involves only one man and only one woman in a relationship that lasts for life.

Affirming Sin’s Pervasiveness
God made mankind in His image and yet sin has pervaded every faculty of man. Sin has blackened every part of man so that every part of his being is infected by sin. That is to say, there is no part of man that is untouched by the monstrous and hellish nature of sin. This radical corruption does not mean that all men are as bad as they possibly could be. But it affirms that the perfect sinlessness of man, as God originally created Adam and Eve, has been darkened by the despicable nature of sin, the devilish defilement of sin. That includes man’s thoughts, feelings, emotions, and nature even when he is born into the world. This does not excuse the man; in fact, it exonerates his guiltiness before a holy God not only because of what he’s done but also because of who he is -- a naturally born human being with a fallen and cursed nature.

The Heart and Its Desires
The wisest man who has ever lived told his son to watch over his heart with all diligence (Prov 4:24). In saying this, Solomon affirmed that the springs of life flow from the heart. Everything that a person says originates in the heart. All that a person does has its source in the human heart. Jesus states that evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness all proceed from within a man -- from his heart (Mark 7:20-23). For a person, then, to affirm that he has not acted out homosexual tendencies but that he merely struggles with or desires or thinks about homosexual acts is faulty and out of accord with Scripture. Jesus shows that before adultery takes place, the root of adultery already took place in the heart. The instigation of sexual immorality is not the act itself but it came from the heart.

The Power of God to Deliver
The current day is clouded with extreme sexual confusion, gross immorality, rampant pornography, and many grappling with their self-identity. The ultimate need for all sinners, homosexual or heterosexual, is the gospel of God’s grace and the power of God to deliver sinners from the curse of sin and clothe them with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. And God has this power to save! He is able to take wicked hearts, corrupt minds, and hellish pasts and take turn the shameful ashes into a beautifully, gorgeous demonstration of God’s love, power, and saving grace! Only the power of God and the gospel of God can perform such a miracle! The ultimate need for a person battling with homosexuality or with same-sex attraction is not to become heterosexual with proper desires. Rather, the ultimate need is for his sins to be forgiven, for him to repent of his sins and turn to Christ. For a Christian who has trusted in Christ alone and who has surrendered everything to follow Christ and submit to His Lordship, he can never make the claim that he can’t fight sin or overcome a certain sin. Such statements deny the power of God by suggesting that sin is too powerful for God and that He can’t even help His own children cope through life in a Christ-exalting and God-fearing way. This means that God has all power to deliver savingly from His wrath and He has all power to deliver continuously from the ongoing battle with sin. Though Christians will never be ultimately sinless in this life, all believers walk on the path of progressive sanctification and endeavor to slay sin in his life beginning with the roots in his heart and replacing those sin patterns with holy desires and Godly habits. The power of God is so mighty that it has broken sin’s hold upon a sinner so that the believer can in fact please God!

The Grace of God to Transform
When God saves a man, the Scriptures describe him as a “new creation” (2 Cor 5:17). He has an entirely new nature. The old man, the old flesh, the old passions, cravings, desires, and affections have been gone and replaced — by God’s initiative, working, and grace — with holy aspirations, Christ-exalting affections, and longings for holiness. The child of God, newly created by the working of the Spirit of God, now can live a life to the glory of God. The believer can follow Christ; indeed, he wants to. The grace of God is so powerful that it can transform a murderer with self-righteous, self-serving, damning desires into a humble, gentle, sacrificial, and loving servant of others (e.g., the Apostle Paul). The grace of God is so powerful that it can transform a political activist, a radically violent, unabashed zealot and transform him into a disciple (e.g., Simon the Zealot, Matt 10:4; Luke 6:15). The grace of God is so powerful that it can take a hard-hearted, hated, lying, cheating tax collector and turn him into a soul-winner who follows Christ and gives up his life to serve his Savior (Matt 5:27-39). So it is with every person that God saves. He provides the grace necessary to carry them triumphantly through temptations (1 Cor 10:13) and to provide the necessary strength while going through tremendous afflictions (2 Cor 12:9). God not only saves a man from hell but he changes the man’s affections so that he no longer craves evil but he hungers and thirsts after righteousness (Matt 5:6). Those who have lived lives of sexual immorality — heterosexual or homosexual — must turn from the pattern of sinful conduct and sinful thoughts and put on the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 13:14). Many who assert that they battle with same-sex attractions (even against their will) need to remember the power of God to save sinners from hell but also the power of God to transform sinners (heart, mind, will, and affections) into the image of Christ. He does not save a man to leave a man wallowing in that sin (outward conduct, inner desires, or ungodly longings). The words of Paul speak directly to this point:
 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. (Titus 2:11-14)
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