If you do not identify as a Christian,
Christians cannot judge your moral actions.
If you have ever wanted a Christian to answer the question: “Is homosexuality a sin?” The answer is: “That is between you and God.”
Here is what our Scriptures say:
“But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother or sister if he or she is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges.” – I Cor. 5:11-13
Your actions are evaluated spiritually and morally between you and God, not you and me, and its important that we leave it at that.
In the last post I explained that sin has been misrepresented by religion as synonymous with immorality, but immorality is to sin what a stuffy nose is to a cold. Immoralities only represent the symptoms of sin. Treating the symptoms masks the virus while it continues to run its course.
The word “sin” has become loaded, and it is crucial to understand – in a fresh light – why the Christian homosexual works to leave their homosexuality behind:
It is because they consider it to be deadly, and the Christian seeks to overcome all desires that lead to death.
Furthermore, this is because of relationship. They identify as children of their Father in Heaven, and are temples of His Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit dwells inside a Christian, they no longer belong to themselves.
Here is a little of how that works. If you are not a child of God, you remain the sovereign of your own life. Your body is the temple of your own heart, mind and soul, and you make and keep your own moral code. One of your inner laws could be that seeking justice for the marginalised is the highest good you can accomplish with your life. Additionally, you may have formulated your own sexual identity, and have personal expectations that surround your sexual practices. All of this is tailored according to your values, beliefs and worldview.
But for the Christian, God is writing His commands on their heart. This means He is not applying them externally – He is transforming the heart so that its desires actually turn toward Him. That is what repentance is. A Christian cooperates with this process by having forsaken their own laws, and being willing to let go of their own desires. We are motivated to do this because we belong to someone who loves us deeply and knows us intimately and who will never leave us or forsake us…and all of this is to birth life in us – eternally. God has put His hands on our lives in order to retrieve us from death and to make us pure and ready us to inherit immortality.
So a Christian is not trying to stop sinning for the shallow goal of moral perfection. Ceasing from sin is profoundly personal. Also, we are not performing. We are not becoming anything by sheer will power. When God calls someone to become His child, He gives them the right to do so, and helps them so that they can overcome everything that holds them back — so long as they want that above anything else.
And that is the true question.
Jesus came to knit us into a family. Jesus came to bring proximity between us and our Creator – who created us so that He could one day elevate us to the status of His children and give us authority to rule with His Son.
The gospel speaks this, “Turn away from following your selfish ambitions, which lead straight to death. Forsake the world and its dreams and instead become a child of God.”
The chains of our selfish desires are what separate us from God (see Sin Began…). And sin becomes the thing that tests us in this life. It tests our hearts. Do we prefer the passing pleasures of this world more than we desire the purity of our God? Do we trust in the goodness of our Father? Do we want to be like Him? Do we want to be near to Him? No matter what the cost? Would we gouge out one of our eyes (metaphorically – would we gouge promiscuity from our life) in order to choose Him?
You see it really is all about love. Our love for God.
He already loves us. And here is the final word on that: What more could He do for us than what He has already done?
I sing my girls this lullaby sometimes:
“Oh how He loves you and me, He gave His life, what more could He do? Oh how he loves you, Oh how he loves me, Oh how He loves you and me.”
If we love God, then we will choose Him. We will prove that we choose Him by receiving His love and obeying Him in return.
Obey? In our day and age this is a repudiated concept. “No one is going to tell me what to do. No one is going to control my life. No one is going to command me (my paraphrase of Elizabeth Elliot).”
But the word obey has a deeper connotation. It has to do with trust. It has to do with faith. Its not about control. See, if we thought it was about control – then Christians would essentially have no faith. We would be among those who rather than trust God scrutinise Him.
But skepticism is not the heart of a child who is bonded to a loving parent. That child trusts implicitly and obeys the one who cares for them. I am the caretaker of my children, they will not always be children, but right now my commands protect, strengthen and even comfort them.
And the truth is, we will also not always be children in our relationship with God. We will grow. We will mature (1 Cor. 13:9-12). Just not in this life. In this world, we are in the initial process of being reunited with God, and we are like newborn babies. We show by our obedient actions that we are running to Him, that we want His protection, strength, provision and care – that we recognise that we need it and that we are humble enough to receive it. Those of us who choose that enjoy the security that comes with it.
Whether you believe in God or not – that is what True Christianity is. The Christian religion has made a mess of these things – Religious Christianity (see Three Kinds of Christian) is what is responsible for shaming people and telling them to shape up and become moral. That is not God’s message to us. God’s message is that we have our own desires at work within us. We get to choose to live according to those desires, or to become free of them. We may not want to be free of our desires – that’s natural. No one wants to separate themselves from pursuing immediate pleasure. So the Bible gives us an important motive: so that we will live.
Its a choice to be reunited with our Heavenly Father, and its a choice to sever our right arm (the pleasures we love most) and choose lasting life instead. What good is it if we live our entire lives seeking our own pleasures and then die (Mark 8:36)? When we could live our lives chasing eternal life, obtain it and then enjoy pleasures that have no guilt or shame associated with them.
Sound too good to be true? Well heaven’s not about playing a harp. Self-actualisation is a popular notion, but its flawed. Its a promise that a person can obtain their highest good in this life. But everyone dies. So no matter how good any of us makes it, we’re going to lose everything we have in this world, eventually.
Spiritual Christians invests all of that in the future. We are waiting for the promise of a new & perfect body, and to live in a place where there is no longer death or even sickness & pain. A place where everyone has an an unbroken family forever. And don’t think we’ll be sitting around doing nothing. There is an eternity to explore and we will be the royal family of it.
That’s the hope of Christianity. Its also a piece of the power. The Christian anchors her mind in these things.
Those outside Christianity can think what they will of our hope, but a Christian’s choice to leave homosexuality for their love of God — well, that’s between them and their God.