Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Because The Gospel Is True, God Does Not Send Homosexuals To Hell!!!

What!  What is he talking about?  This does not sound like the Josh that I know.  What does he mean God does not send homosexuals to hell?

You know, to many times, statements like this are made by people.  They will say things like "God loves you just the way you are"; or some other ambiguous comment such as the Pope's statement. "If someone is gay, and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" The trouble is they do not make it clear what they mean.  In an effort to sound loving, to many have come off as vague and misleading.  Often times, in an effort to make it clear that the free offer of salvation is available to everyone, they make it sound like everyone can go to Heaven with no strings attached.

So let me be clear.

God Does Not Send Homosexuals To Hell

He sends sinners to hell.  And lest you think you know what I will say from here, I plead with you to stay with me.  Maybe you will be right, but what is five minutes? There is endless confusion about what causes someone to be "destined for hell".  I have heard everything from being gay, to getting a divorce, to smoking, to not going to church enough, endorsed as a reason for someone to go to hell.  These things do not condemn anyone in and of themselves. They are all symptoms of our sinful nature, but they do identify us as one of two classes or identifications: either sinners in need of a Savior or, sinners saved by grace who should be striving to grow in grace and obedience to their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

So who or what classifies someone as a sinner?

First of all let me clarify that, we are not sinners because we sin.  We sin because we are sinners. ALL of us.  From the moment we are born, we are guilty of sin and our hearts are immediately inclined toward sinful behaviors.  But for the intervention of God's grace, we are all condemned.  We are all guilty of Original Sin.  Now, what does that mean?

The term Original Sin actually originated with St. Augustine.  It simply means that sin is derived from our origin or we are sinners from our beginning.  This is supported by scriptures such as:

In Romans 5:12, Paul writes, "Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned."

In Psalm 51:5 King David writes, "Behold I was brought forth in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me."  

King David did not mean that his mother was sinning when he was conceived. We have no reason from scripture to think that.  What he meant is even as he was being conceived, sin was present in him.

From the very beginning, it is rebellion against the knowledge of our Creator and His rule and reign which has condemned us.  From the beginning, our nature is to love darkness rather than light.  We are unable to love God or desire to obey Him unless, by His grace, He changes our hearts.(Romans 1:18-32, Romans 8:7-8, John 3:18-21) 

You see, the condemnation of our souls comes from our heart condition, not our actions.  Jeremiah 17:9 states, "the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can understand it?"  We are sinners in our very nature from conception and very soon in growing up, our sinful nature becomes evident in our actions.  As I said before, our actions are just a symptom of our sinful hearts.

I do not need to go into the scriptures that condemn homosexuality as a sin.  Most people have heard them and if you have not, they are easy to look up.  What is important to understand is that homosexuality, along with a multitude of other sins is condemned in scripture.  Even more important to understand is that you were condemned as a sinner before you were old enough to even consider whether you were going to struggle with same-sex attraction.  Again, being gay is not what condemns you to hell.

James 2:10 states, "For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it."

The first time you had a rebellious, selfish thought as a child which put you in opposition to your parents, you became guilty of not honoring your father or mother, thus breaking one of the Ten Commandments.  So if it was not obvious before, herein you find the sinful actions that reveal the sinful heart.

Jesus made it about the heart, as he condemned the teachings of the Pharisees and gave his Sermon on the Mount.  There he taught for example, that it is not enough just to not kill someone, but to harbor anger in your heart is murder.  It is not enough not to actually not commit adultery, you must control your thought life and guard your heart from lust to begin with.(Matthew 5: 20, 21-26, 27-30).

So What Is The Answer For Any Sinner With A Particular Inclination?

The Gospel is the answer.  What does that mean?  In a couple of simple scriptures, Paul articulates the gospel this way:
"This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost." (1 Timothy 1:15)
"Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.  For I delivered up to you, that which is of first importance: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures." (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) 
Here is the thing.  The beautiful, good news is that, at every point in which you and I have failed to obey the law, Christ obeyed it perfectly.  Every aspect of  holy living that God requires was satisfied in our stead by Christ.  He was tempted in every way yet absolutely without sin( Hebrews 4:15).

Then the greatest scandal in history occurred.  This perfect God/Man after having lived sinlessly here on this earth, was crucified.  He was beaten severely, had his beard ripped out, had a crown of thorns placed on His head and then He was hung on that tree at Calvary.  But the greatest suffering did not occur during the beating or at the time in which he was nailed, hands and feet to the cross.

His greatest suffering took place when He became sin in our place (2 Corinthians 5:21).  There he drank the cup of God's wrath against all the unrighteousness of everyone who would ever come to put their trust in this Suffering Savior.  There he experienced the fury of hell in his very being.  Never sinning, yet becoming sin, he became acutely aware of the torment of God's wrath being poured out upon Him in our place.

This sacrifice that Christ made to satisfy the wrath of Holy God is what makes salvation possible for any sinner.  Christ's obedience and righteousness becomes ours by faith and our the penalty for our sin is no longer held against us becasue Christ already paid the penalty.  We all deserve hell and yet, many will receive heaven.  This is the gift of both the Father and the Son.  Salvation for all whom believe.

Salvation Is Not Free or Unconditional

This love is not unconditional.  It was not free.  It cost God the Father His Son.  It cost God the Son His life(John 3:16).  That was the condition for our salvation on their part.  There is a condition on the part of those who would become children of God and gain eternity as well.

Repent and Believe the gospel!!  When Jesus began his ministry, these were his words(Mark 1:15). In a sense, people who make statements that anyone can go to heaven are correct.  Where they make a mistake is in not clarifying the requirements.  God does not make distinctions for salvation based on ethnicity, gender, any positive attributes, or any particular sinful inclinations.
"if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe with your heart that God raise Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  For the scriptures says, Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing riches on all who call on him.  For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:9-13)
The Apostle Paul who wrote the above passage in Romans also wrote the letter to the Ephesians.  Together they are considered to be the most thorough treatments of how we are to understand the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In Ephesians 2:8-10 Paul tells us, "For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."  
So you see, we cannot claim Christianity as some thing that we do and continue living any old way we please.  Salvation is a gift of grace.  It does not happen unless God enables us by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit, because apart from a God-given heart change, we are dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1).  A corpse can do nothing.  So, if God breaths life into your dead bones, if that gift has been given to you, it comes with a price; a willing submission to Christ's Lordship.

God will not save you to live as you please and gratify the desires of your flesh no matter what they are.  No matter the sin, Jesus' call is for us to repent of our sins, turning away from those things that are contrary to the word of God and running toward obedience to His word.  Ephesians 2:10 stated that, as believers we were created in Christ Jesus for good works prepared beforehand for us to do.

Yes, God Does Love The Homosexual

If you are reading this as a gay person, I will happily affirm that God does in fact love you just the way you are.  Romans 5:8 says that "God demonstrates His love for us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."   God does not require that you start changing and then he will make himself available to you.  He comes to you just as you are.  This is true of every sinner.

However, He does not intend that you stay just as you are.  If He has in fact saved you, He will begin changing your heart.  He will not necessarily take away the sinful inclination, whatever that may be.  But, He will cause your desires to grow toward pleasing Him over yourself.  He will reveal Himself to you through the preaching and reading of His word and He will not contradict Himself.  Through prayer and careful reading of scripture, we come to know God as He molds us into the image of Christ.

If we have truly had a heart change, then we have experienced a conversion from sinner to redeemed.  We are no longer identifying as a sinner enslaved to sinful tendencies from a heart hardened to God. We now identify as a redeemed child of the Most High that desires nothing more than to please Him and is actually free to resist sin and experience victory.

We also learn to trust that God loves us and always has our best in mind not just in this life, but in the life to come.  He will lead us into all righteousness and satisfy our every need.  He will teach us how to experience satisfaction in Him that makes everything else pale in comparison.

This is the glorious truth of the gospel and it's amazing effects on the life of the believer.  

However, if you choose to reject this truth and live according to your own desires, then like any other impenitent sinner, the homosexual will die an eternal death. Gay or not, this will be evidence that God has not saved you and I pray that if this is you, something in you will be discontent and cry out to God to save you .  It is not too late until you are dead.  Once you pass from this life, there is only judgement.

You might ask, if God is a God of love, then why does he let those He created in His image go to hell.  The answer is because He is also just and holy.  Because he is holy, he cannot amd will not tolerate sin in His presence.  Because He is just, he must punish impenitent sinners.  If one has placed their faith in Jesus, then the price that Christ paid covers their sin and they are not longer seen as sinners by God.  That is the beauty of the gospel.  Grace is not deserved by anyone but is available to all who believe in him by faith and evidence that faith through repentance.

However, if one rejects the price paid, then they must suffer God's holy and just wrath.  This occurs as eternal, conscious torment in an existence where the only experience of God's presence they will ever know is one of judgement and wrath.

With tears in his eyes the great evangelist George Whitefield described Hell this way:
"the torment of burning like a livid coal, not for an instant or for a day, but for millions and millions of ages, at the end of which souls will realize that they are no closer to the end than when they first begun, and they will never, ever be delivered from that place."
So many Christians get a bad wrap for using words like judgement, condemned, etc. as if there is a hateful heart behind it.  The truth is many of us understand that the description of hell above still pales compared with the reality.  It is out of love that we use these words as warnings to any and all sinners, not just homosexuals. That just happens to be the hot button sin in our culture at the present. We speak of these things because we do not want to see anyone experience that reality.

Please, I beg of you, don't make that description of Hell the end of your story.  Cry out to Jesus. Repent and believe the gospel.  It is not too late.  It does not matter if you are gay or straight, a ten year old child or twenty-five year old rapist and mass-murderer.  Sin is sin and the gospel works the same way, no matter the sin.

He saved the Apostle Paul from a life of angry, murderous persecution against Christians, to become one of God's Apostles himself.  He was used mightily of the Lord and wrote a large chunk of the New Testament.  No one is out of God's reach.

Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart. Today is the day of salvation.(Psalm 95:7-8, Hebrews 3:7-8 & 15, 2 Corinthians 6:2)

I pray you will trust and obey in Jesus name,


No comments:

Post a Comment