July 23, 2015

Is homosexuality worse than other sins?

by Josiah Grauman

Homosexual_Marriage_2

Homosexuality is often seen as the worst of sins. But, what does the Bible say?  

  1. Any sin is enough to condemn to eternal Hell

Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command. They ate something God told them not to, and billions of people will end up burning in Hell because of it. That should give us a small idea about God’s holiness and how He views sin.

James 2:10-11 is clear. Any sin puts us in the category of being law-breakers. We are criminals, and we will be judged. By nature and by choice, we all deserve Hell.

10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.

However, notice that James 2:10-11 does not affirm what many claim it does, that is, that all sins are identical and that if you’ve committed one sin, you’ve committed them all. James does not say, “If you do not commit adultery, but do murder, you are also an adulterer”. But rather, James affirms that any sin, whether large or small, automatically places us in God’s courtroom as criminals—criminals who will tried and convicted as law-breakers.

  1. Not all sin is equally heinous in God’s eyes

People often cite the Sermon on the Mount to say that anger is the same as murder and lust is the same as adultery. I challenge you to read Matthew 5:21-30 more carefully. He who is angry will be liable to judgement and everyone who lusts has already committed adultery in his heart. However, Jesus does not affirm that committing adultery in your heart is equally heinous in God’s eyes as committing it in your body, which, if you are a believer, is “a temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor 6:18-20).

God is a just judge, and He will judge every person without partiality in accordance with their individual sins. Romans 2:6 states, “He will render to each one according to his works”. The books will be opened and the dead will be judged “according to what they had done” (Rev 20:13). These passages make no sense if Hell will be equally terrible for all who end up there.

In fact, there are many passages of Scripture which make plain that some sins are indeed more heinous in God’s eyes. Perhaps the clearest place is Ezequiel chapter 8. I would encourage you to read the whole chapter if you question this reality. As God describes how increasingly wicked Israel had become, the echo throughout the chapter is: “You will see still greater abominations that they commit”. All sin is an abomination, but some sins are greater abominations is God’s eyes. Of this there can be no doubt.

  1. Homosexuality is an especially debase sin

Romans 1 describes in no uncertain terms that homosexuality is a sin committed after one has so continued in their high handed defiance against the Almighty that He gives “them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves” (Rom 1:24-27). For this reason, Christians are right to see homosexuality as an especially debase sin that displeases God. It is contrary to His good plan for marriage, and cannot reflect the purpose for which marriage exists—to represent Christ’s relationship to the church (Eph 5:31). In addition, Scripture not only condemns the sin of homosexuality, but also condemns any who would “give approval to those who practice” it (Rom 1:32).

  1. Your sin is worse than homosexuality if you don’t repent

Unfortunately, Christians have often twisted Romans 1 to view homosexual sinners as dirty, not worthy of our love and compassion. The words of Paul in Romans 2:1 could not be more appropriate. Just after describing homosexuality as a debase sin, he declares: “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.” You too are a law-breaker. View yourself as such, not the judge.

But Christ makes an even more poignant point to those who claim to believe in God, but remain unrepentant. After preaching the good news and working many miracles in Galilee, Christ tells those religious people who refused to believe: “But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you” (Matthew 11:24).

Did you get Christ’s point? Some sins are worse than others, but God does not necessarily categorize sin like we do. The person who hears the gospel and rejects it is a far greater sinner in God’s mind than the heathen who lives a sinful life of homosexuality.

You, my friend and faithful reader of C-Gate, are in danger of far more judgement than the heathen man living in homosexuality, because you also sin, but do so under more of God’s light.

“And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more” (Luke 12:47-48).

  1. How should we respond?

Though sins be large or small, the solution is the same for all—The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16-17). Make sure you understand it, believe it, live it, and proclaim it.

Just one final note on proclaiming the Gospel. Remember that the one disobeying God with his/her homosexual relationship is a sinner who needs the Gospel just like any other sinner. Just like you and me. And as homosexuality becomes more normative in our generation, and even more so in our childrens’, we need to make sure we see them as a mission field, not a group to be feared or hated.

What sinners need, is not some carefully crafted explanation of how our country has plunged into wickedness by approving homosexual marriage—politics cannot save. What they need is a compassionate call to repentance, coupled with the good news that though their sins be like scarlet, they can be white as snow through the blood of the Lamb. Make no mistake, we must warn them that God’s judgement is coming upon all those who practice immorality, but let’s make sure we give them the good news as well.

“…Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 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 our God” (1 Cor 6:9-11).

Josiah Grauman

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Josiah is the director of the 'Instituto de Expositores', a Spanish language training institute at Grace Community Church, where he and his wife serve as missionaries.
  • Tim Bates

    Romans 1 is always me cheering on and saying “amen.” When I get to Romans 2 I get antsy and fearful of the introspection Paul commands me to do.
    Great post. It provided much needed clarity to a topic deserving a biblical and loving response.

  • great point!! “The person who hears the gospel and rejects it is a far greater sinner in God’s mind than the heathen who lives a sinful life of homosexuality.”

    If interested I also wrote a blog piece on this subject. I know another blog 🙂 http://turo408.com/2015/06/27/love-wins-that-was-the-most-popular-and-celebrated-post-on-social-media/

    • Appreciated your article, #Lovewins when sinners are confronted with the truth of the gospel, amen to that.

  • Johnny

    Some very good observations, especially about the compassionate call to repentance. I think that needs to be emphasized.

  • pearlbaker

    It is interesting that the Apostle Paul includes greed/covetousness along with sexual immorality several times in different epistles. Eph 3:1, 1 Cor 5:11, Col 3:5, for example. But particularly in Eph 3:1, Paul pairs only sexual immorality and greed. The commentaries I read regarding this were enlightening in that it was pointed out that greed (or covetousness) gave a sense of wanting more than was allotted, not being satisfied with that which one has or was given. It is notable that Hebrews 3:5, the verse which directly states that we should be content with that which we have, begins by telling us to keep ourselves free from the love of money (several translations use covetousness.) The whole idea seems to point to being dissatisfied with God and idolizing something else, which is to me the most grievous sin, idolatry, which takes many forms, but down to which all sin seems to distill…a rejection of God for a replacement god. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. Woe to all who break this commandment, and we all have, and will, in some way or another.

  • God does not necessarily categorize sin like we do

    Excellent point.

    There are a great many ways in which God’s thoughts are higher than ours. In the days and months following my conversion I operated with much more zeal than knowledge/understanding). I am very thankful (!!) God was pleased to protect me from shattering relationships with others–you know, those sinners out there! And He is still forming in me the Grace to come along side of rather than in front of others.

    Well done, and much needed read, Joshua!

  • calebkolstad

    Thank you

  • tovlogos

    Thanks, Josiah. I separate things between spiritual darkness and Light. Virtually everything is within those two categories. God is light, and has no darkness in Him. In contrast the creation is steeped in darkness. We have the opportunity to be in Light, which darkness cannot comprehend. It is impossible to love God, your neighbor as yourself; much less your enemies, if you are filled with darkness.
    So, yes politics, from the perspective of heaven, more so reflects this world, and cannot save anyone.
    Every man’s ministry, first and foremost, must include him conformity to the image of the Jesus, via John 3:3; without which we end up in a traditional “form” of Christianity, without the substance. This lack of discernment, yes, will send billions to damnation.

    • Brad

      Yeah, there is a pretty wide-spectrum concerning gay Christians. It does take some time to learn the nuances and language involved in the discussion. Some people who have helped me understand the issues are Sam Allberry, Wesley Hill, Mark Yarnhouse, and especially Preston Sprinkle. I have also benefited greatly from simply spending time with the LGBT community and with gay Christians (both affirming and non-affirming).

      • Brad,

        I don’t know where you’re coming from, but some of your statements seem alarming. Forgive me if I’ve misinterpreted you.

        The problem with saying that there are “Christian homosexuals” is that it flies in the face of Scripture. Paul, when speaking of those who practice the sin of homosexuality (1 Cor 6:19), says to Christians: such WERE some of you. That is, they are no longer that! If any of those sins Paul mentions still characterize someone, then they are still adulterers, idolaters, etc., and shall not enter into the kingdom of God because they still need to be washed—thus, they are not Christian.

        Therefore, to call someone a Christian adulterer, or a Christian idolater, would be a contradiction in terms, just like saying someone is a “Christian homosexual”. Now, of course, there are men and women who WERE characterized by homosexual sin that have been forgiven. And, these precious brothers and sisters may continue to struggle with that sin, and we sympathize with them in their fight. But that is the point. They struggle and fight against it.

        In summary, Christians no longer desire to be categorized by something that dishonors their Lord. Calling someone, or wanting to be called, a “Christian homosexual”, then, is an affront to Christ. He died that we may be washed of our sin and abandon it, not so that we could continue approving it.

        I hope that’s helpful,
        josiah

        • Jason

          This is an important point. There’s no such thing as a “Carnal Christian”. A person who is truly born again has a new spirit.

          Our flesh and mind may still direct us back toward our old nature, but as a believer we don’t *want* our old nature.

          It’s the difference between “I want to do what God does not want me to do” and “I do what I do not want to do” (the latter is the reality for a believer who sins).

        • Brad

          Yeah, there’s a semantic range of what the term “Gay Christian” means. Some use the term “gay Christian” in the Romans 7:14-25, 1 Timothy 1:15, “simul justus et peccator” sense. Allberry doesn’t like the term “gay Christian” and prefers to identify as a Christian who experiences same-sex attraction. Others, of course, would see nothing wrong with monogamous homosexual relationships and would claim the title “gay Christian”. And much more! I really can’t unpack everything in a blog comment, but since you’re new to the discussion, I think you’ll find the authors I mentioned above to be helpful!

      • tovlogos

        Thanks Brad — Honestly, I share no such confusion about the issue. All humans are in the same gene pool; the Scriptures give us the truth — the truth sets us free from confusion, and our proclivities. It really works. As you read the Bible, yes, seek commentary from believing commentators; but don’t neglect your personal time in reading the Scriptures — it works. Believe, and it will continuously clear confusion. Stay with it. Ultimately, you want to have the John 3:3 experience — that will propel you into divine spirituality. You will see that the term — gay christian, is a contradiction in terms. the word, Christian, ideally, has no modifiers in front of it — it represents a very specific state of being and agenda. the Messiah showed us flawlessly what that mode of operation meant; and He also showed what was impossible for any human or angel to show us — He explained the Father (John 1:18), and called Him, Dad. What is the Father like? Look at Jesus and you have a crystal clear view of the Father. (John 14:7-9)

        Mark

  • Award for most cool spelling of “Ezequiel” –>> Josiah!!

    • Awesome! I originally wrote the article is Spanish and obviously missed a reference. Just be thankful I didn’t leave James as Santiago ;).

      • That would have been even awesomer. Good article.

      • Perla

        Hi!! Can you give me the link to the Spanish article please? I’d love to share it with others. Thank you!

  • Harry Court

    Thanks Josiah for your thoughtful article. Romans 1:18 describes that wrath is revealed from heaven against ALL the godlessness, yet Paul’s first specific illustration of V18 is Verse 26 – lesbianism, although V24 introduces the topic. Jesus spoke of his betrayer as performing the ‘greater sin.’

    I guess my question is there a hierarchy of sins? I would expect blasphemy of the Holy Spirit – attributing God’s work to Satan would top the list. Thought?

  • Still Waters

    The mention of Ezekiel 8 reminded me of chapter 16 of Ezekiel, verses 48 to 50:

    “As I live, declares the Lord God, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it.” (ESV)

    In a shorter but similar sequence to Romans 1, Ezekiel shows how pride, placing self in the place of God, was at the root of Sodom’s sin. It is interesting that in the passage God condemns Sodom for failing to help the poor and needy (an aspect of Sodom that is not mentioned in the Genesis account) before he mentions that they committed abomination. Self-centredness, as evidenced by a lack of compassion, leads to unrestrained gratification.

  • Adam

    The Old Testament principle of justice in Exodus 21:23-25 clearly distinguishes one transgression from another: “…thou shalt give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” In layman’s terms – Let the punishment fit the crime. The 10 Commandments further categorizes sin from the greatest to the least in terms of severity. However, all of these transgressions can be forgiven under the “law of grace” found in Christ Jesus; and so Paul says “where sin did abound grace did much more abound.” The only exception to this rule being that of unbelief. Grace abounds in covering our transgressions of the law but never in our rejection of Christ.

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