Even more foundational than the goodness of God’s design for humanity, what the Bible says about homosexuality must be heard in light of the good news of Jesus Christ.
We must ask ourselves, “Do we really believe the gospel is good news to the homosexual?” Or better yet, “Do we believe the gospel is good news, period?”
The gospel is good news
The gospel literally means “good news” It is the good news that we were created by God and for God. We were made in his image, male and female, to know Him, work for Him, and multiply His image-bearers throughout the earth. While God’s creation was very good, it didn’t stay that way. Adam and Eve fell for that old lie that God was not good and therefore could not be trusted. That was what the serpent whispered in Eve’s ear in the garden. And with one bite of disobedience, Adam and Eve brought death into the world—spiritually, relationally, and eventually physically. They rebelled against God, hid in shame, and shifted the blame. Since their sin, we’ve all been doing the same. Against the backdrop of this bad news, God’s good news shines forth. God promises redemption through the offspring of the woman. A child would be born whose heal would be bruised but who would crush the head of the serpent.
Sally Lloyd-Jones helps us captures this promise so beautifully:
You see, no matter what, in spite of everything, God would love his children—with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love. And thought they would forget him, and run from him, deep in their hearts, God’s children would miss him always, and long for him—lost children yearning for their home. Before they left the garden, God whispered a promise to Adam and Eve: ‘It will not always be so! I will come to rescue you! And when I do, I’m going to do battle against the snake. I’ll get ride of the sin and the dark and the sadness you let in here. I’m coming back for you!’ And he would. One day, God himself would come.” (36)
God would maintain His promise throughout the rest of the Old Testament—through slavery in Egypt, deliverance the Red Sea, the kingdom under David, the message of the prophets while Israel was in exile, and the hope of the Psalmists. However, He would bring it to pass in the coming of Jesus Christ. What God promised to do long ago He was now doing in and through Jesus Christ. Jesus lived in perfect obedience to God, he was a friend of sinners and yet never unfaithful to the Scriptures, he displayed what God’s rule would be like, and called people to turn from their sin and follow him. Jesus died on the cross as our substitute, bearing the wrath of God for our sin. He was innocent and yet He suffered for the guilty. He was righteous and yet He was crucified for the unrighteous. Yet, death could now hold Him. On the third day, He rose from the dead and with it brought about new creation. His resurrection displayed His power over sin, Satan, and death. In sending His Spirit, He is in the process of transforming our lives by the very same power that raised Him from the dead. In Christ and through His Spirit we are experiencing a foretaste of God’s kingdom as it will be when He brings about the news heavens and the new earth. This is what it means to be the church—a foretaste, an outpost, and a pointer to the future coming kingdom of God through the witness of our lives and lips. We experience in part now, but one day He will bring it to full completion.
The gospel is good news for all people regardless of age, sex, race, or sexuality
- It is good news about God coming to seek and save the lost and those far from God (Luke 19:10; Eph. 2:11-22)
- It is good news that our old self is gone and that we now have a new identity in Christ (Col. 3:1-11; Eph. 4:17-32; 2 Cor. 5:17)
- It is good news that our past does not define us nor do our present circumstance limit the work God wants to do in and through us (Phil. 3:12-14)
- It is good news about God coming to set us free from the bondage and shame of sin (Luke 4:18-19; 1 John 1:9).
- It is good news about God forgiving the guilt of our sin (Mark 2:1-12; Col. 2:13-15)
- It is good news about God himself bearing the judgment we deserved for our sin (Rom. 3:24-26; 5:1)
- It is good news about God bringing us out from the rule of sin into his glorious kingdom (Mark 1:15; Rom. 6:12-23; Col. 1:13-14)
- It is good news about God making us new creations in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17)
- It is good news about God bringing us from death to new, abundant life (Eph. 2:1-10; John 3:3-5; John 10:10)
- It is good news about God beginning the restoration of all things (Rom. 8:19-20)
If we do not believe that the gospel is good news for all people, we will either completely affirm or slowly conform to our culture’s message about sexuality, whether it be heterosexual or homosexual in nature.
While our response to homosexuality should be informed by and start from the gospel, we often fail to fully understand and respond to the gospel in our own lives. Responding to the gospel is both costly and worth the cost.
Following Jesus is Costly
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and following me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” – Mark 8:34-35
Jesus calls us to…
- Deny ourselves: Lay down our lives—to surrender ourselves to him, our plans for his plan, our desires for his desires, our ways for his ways.
- Take up our cross: Embrace obedience and suffering as the path of the Christian life.
- Follow me: Commit to continual fellowship and ongoing obedience to Jesus Christ.
At the core, when we choose to follow Jesus we die to ourselves and receive a new identity in Christ.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
Listen to how C. S. Lewis explains this costly call of following Christ:
The Christian way is different: harder, and easier. Christ says, “Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked—the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.” (Mere Christianity, 167)
Following Jesus is Worth the Cost
Not only do we receive a new identity, but we are brought into a new family with all of its blessings.
Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” – Mark 10:29-31
Jesus says that it is the new family we receive in following him that, in large part, makes the cost of following Christ worth it. It is on this point that the church can do so much better.
In an age where people will most likely find a place to belong before the come to a place of belief:
- We must be a community of deep relationships and generous living.
- We must cultivate hospitality and a more robust love of our neighbors.
- We must patiently and courageously help our children navigate the confusing messages of sexuality in our culture.
- We must graciously and faithfully receive those scarred by the sexual revolution of our culture.
- We must receive the singles or those without a family into our homes and the rhythms of our family.
- We must foster and celebrate healthy marriages.
Together—married and single—we must press deeper into the Word of God and stir up our affections for Christ. Together—married and single—we delight, display, and declare the good news of Jesus Christ.
Standing behind all the blessing we receive in Christ is Jesus himself. He himself is the One who make following Him worth the cost. He is the prize. He is the treasure. He is the One who sustains and satisfies every longing of our hearts. The sinful sexual desires of our hearts—whether they be homosexual or heterosexual in nature—can only be overcome by a greater affection for Jesus Christ.
The moment you think following Jesus will be a poor deal for someone, you call Jesus a liar. Discipleship is not always easy. Leaving anything cherished behind is profoundly hard. But Jesus is always worth it. – Sam Allberry