Homosexuality: The Sin Is the Act and Desire

Sometimes a homosexual or someone who claims to be “same-sex attracted” will, when they claim to be a Christian, say they refrain from the act, but they say little about their homosexual desires being an obstacle to following Christ. They believe their celibacy is all they need to be right with God and their homosexual desires are innate or even a part of how they are created.

First, I commend them for recognizing homosexuality as a sin and their struggle against acting out homosexual desires. Heterosexuals can also commit sinful sexual acts and have sinful sexual desires. Additionally, we all seem apt at somehow rationalizing our particular sin struggle, whether we are homosexual or heterosexual. Such is true in a galaxy of other areas as well.

In any case, repentance does not mean much if actions do not follow. Actions do not mean perfection; to wit, that we do not struggle. Instead, it means that we walk in daily repentance (change of mind and direction) while focusing on strengthening our faith (belief) and walk of faith (Jude 20).

Rather than using sexual orientation as is common among homosexuals, I think it is closer to the teaching of Scripture to use a phrase such as having an early-onset, strong, and persistent sinful desire.[1] People can have an early, long-term (maybe for life) particular sin attraction that is stronger and different than other people have. This can be true of other sins such as a life-long battle with debilitating pride (I do not mean the typical sinful struggle with pride that characterizes humanity), lying, or using innate talents to con or control issues. I’m speaking of extraordinary struggles with a particular sin that is not true for everyone, which does not diminish humanity’s universal battle with sin.

Lastly, refraining from a sinful act is valuable and does honor God, but we must remember the thought from which the act emanates is itself sinful (like thinking of committing adultery in our hearts, Matt 5:28). Consequently, whether it is sinful heterosexual or homosexual desires, we must repent when we have them because refraining from the physical act alone does not leave us right with God. We must recognize that the act and the desires for the act are each sinful (Rom 1:24, 26); therefore, people need to repent and refrain from both the thought and the act. For more clarification on these matters, see “The Gay Christian? Some Thoughts.”  

For example, a homosexual/heterosexual must repent every time they commit the physical act of sex outside of monogamous heterosexual marriage. They must also repent of their sinful desires for sex outside of marriage, even when such desires are not carried out in the physical act. When we accept sinful desires or acts without repentance, we are no longer walking with God. Moreover, because marriage is only heterosexual, all homosexual acts and thoughts are outside of marriage and, therefore, sinful. Lastly, we must never forget that repentance is always faithful to take a child of God back into the presence of our ever-loving and forgiving Father.

Accordingly, the homosexual that feels free to have homosexual desires so long as he does not commit the act is not walking with God. He can only live for God if he recognizes all homosexual desires (unlike some heterosexual desires, e.g., for one’s spouse) come from his sinful heart and are not due to a natural orientation or creation. They are, instead, due to sins of his lustful heart, and, therefore, must be repented of even if he lives a physically celibate life.

[1] This thought is not original with me. For an excellent presentation of this concept, see the book, The Grace of Shame: Seven Ways the Church Has Failed to Love Homosexuals, by Tim Bayly, Joseph Bayly, and George von Hagen (Bloomington, IN: Warhorn Media, 2017).


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Ronnie W. Rogers