SIN IS A UNIVERSAL PROBLEM

by Bob Wheeler

Are Christians “anti-gay”? Well, in one sense we are – the Bible condemns homosexuality in the strongest possible terms. But there is another sense in which it is incorrect to say that we “discriminate against” gays. We do not single out one particular group of people and treat them as pariahs. For homosexuality is just a small part of a much larger problem. The real problem is sin – all kinds of sin. For the Bible condemns not just homosexuality, but also the proud heart, the lustful glance, the gossiping tongue, and selfish greed. And the plain fact of the matter is that as human beings we are all sinners. “. . .for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23; NKJV). Sin is a human problem. Sin is a universal problem.

Sometimes it is said that gays are just born that way and can’t help being the way they are. Therefore, it is said, we should just accept them as they are. But we were all born sinners, and in a sense cannot help but sinning. But that hardly excuses us. The fact remains that we are all guilty in the sight of God. The fact that we have an innate tendency to sin only exacerbates our guilt – it does not relieve it.

God’s standard of righteousness is not based on our natural inclinations but by the nature of God’s own character and by the strict demands of justice. If God is a God of love then by necessity He hates anything that is opposed to love, including our selfish, aggressive behavior. And if God is a just God then He must punish sin by some means or other. If I cannot control my temper and I kill someone as a result, then I have caused real harm and the demands of justice must be met, in spite of my “human inability.”  “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men . . .” (Rom. 1:18).

And then some will argue that God loves everyone and accepts them as they are. And there is a sense in which God does love everyone. But does that mean that he “accepts them as they are”? Not at all. The Bible explains how God shows love toward us: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Several remarkable truths are brought out in this verse. The first, of course, is that we are “sinners.” God does not pretend that we are nice, basically good people. He knows better; He can look into our hearts and see what is there, and it is not a pretty sight. But the text says that God loved us anyway, “while we were still sinners.” In other words this is not the kind of love that finds its object appealing, attractive or desirable. Rather, it is a benevolent love that is directed towards those who are manifestly unworthy of it. It is a desire to do good to those who did nothing to deserve it.

But then, what is even more remarkable, is what God’s love led Him to do: “. . . while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Here was the ultimate sacrifice. Christ was God’s own Son, His only-begotten Son. He was perfectly pure and holy, completely innocent of any wrong-doing at all. And yet God sent His Son into this sin cursed world where He was falsely accused and then sentenced to die a horrible death on a cross. And He did this for us – guilty, hell-deserving sinners. What more could God have done to demonstrate His love for us?

In other words, God does not demonstrate His love for us by excusing or overlooking our sins. Rather, He does it by atoning for our sin. And He did this at enormous cost to Himself. The price had to be paid, and He paid it Himself.

But in order to receive forgiveness we must repent of our sins and ask for forgiveness. Repentance is a change of attitude on our part regarding our sin. Moreover, God gives those whom He saves the new birth. This is a change produced within our hearts by the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul could write to the Corinthian believers and list a whole catalogue of sins (including homosexuality) and then say “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (I Cor.6:9-11). In other words, God doesn’t just leave us in our sins – He saves us from them.

We need salvation precisely because we are lost sinners. And God’s aim in salvation is not to confirm us in our sins but to save us from them. The whole object of salvation is to deliver us from both the guilt and power of sin.

And so all of us as human beings, whether “gay,” “straight,” or what-have-you, find ourselves in fundamentally the same predicament. We are all lost sinners and we all need salvation. And Christ offers that to us all freely.

As Christians we need to beseech our gay friends and neighbors, in a spirit of gentleness and humility, to come to Christ is repentance and faith and receive salvation. That is the loving thing that we can do for them.

Amazing grace – how sweet the sound –

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found –

Was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,

And grace my fears relieved;

How precious did that grace appear

The hour I first believed!

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