What God asks of us is beyond our human capacity to accomplish! This ought to bring us to our knees in humble supplication to the omnipotent Creator-Redeemer, that He might fulfill His law in us. Instead, we often find ourselves diminishing the standards God has set forth in His Word to match our lowly human attainments. Rather than looking to Scripture as defining how we ought to live, we substitute our natural inclinations or that which we observe in nature as normative. For us as Christians, to do this is almost pagan and amounts to accepting a form of godliness but completely denying its power to make us like God. God does not just want us to act like Christians, but He wants us to be like Christ.
At the declaration of His intention to create humanity, God was clear that they were to be made in His image. In their maleness and femaleness, humanity was created to reflect aspects of God’s characters. A man alone would not suffice, nor would a woman alone. Two men or two women would not fit the bill. To fully bear the image of God, humanity had to exist as male and female.
The reality is that the existence of same-sex attraction is the result of our sin-damaged nature. It is not the only result, nor the worst result, as some posit. However, man-man and woman-woman sexual intercourse is unequivocally condemned in Scripture and is one of the few sins labeled an “abomination” (Lev. 18:22; 20:13). It is also one among many sins that will exclude people from the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9–11).
Citizens of the kingdom of God do not identify in terms of hetero-/homo-/or any sexuality, nationality, former behaviors, or any other imposed category. As Paul states, “such were some of you” (1 Cor. 6:11) but they no longer define the New Jerusalem Christian. Succumbing to the temptation of same-sex attraction results in sin (James 1:14–16). So, one seeking the righteousness of Christ should be looking away from these tendencies and looking forward to what God may have in mind for that individual, whether that be singleness (see lesson 3) or marriage within Creation-parameters (Matt. 19:4–6).
Some suggest that God is only interested in the innate conceptual attributes of a sexual relationship. But it is not only about the quality of the relationship itself, in terms of commitment, duty, affection, and love. There is the structural prerequisite of different-ness, namely in gender, that God has formally and structurally created in the creation order of sexuality. On a broader level, the character of God is revealed in two different ways through maleness and femaleness and not in one gender alone.
One way of humanity’s understanding of the divine is through the means of marriage and sexuality. In the revelation of one gender, a need for the understanding of the other is created already. This is the clearest revelation of need of the other gender, the incompleteness of the self apart from relationship, and the inadequacy of the singular gender alone. This concept does away with misogyny, misandry, agenderism, and any other form of gender abuse. All are incomplete, partial, and lacking in something. That absence can be learned (but not fulfilled) by the other. That completion comes only through the indwelling fulfillment of Christ.
As has already been addressed, the Bible points to the gender attributes of both male and female as reflective of Him. However, these attributes may not necessarily be manifested in a particular male or female life. A man may find himself far from the servant leader ideal, and a woman may find that she is not a Proverbs 31 woman. And this may cause some to despair. Moreover, those who may experience same sex-attraction, while acknowledging God’s ideal of sexual difference for marital sexuality, sometimes have their struggle compounded by social stigma.
Certainly, the practice of homosexuality is biblically unacceptable, but the church has too often responded poorly to those who struggle with these feelings. Christians are called not to despise those of same-sex attraction, but to welcome and encourage them as they seek to live a morally pure Christian life—as we should do with anyone struggling with any sinful urge.
We are all sinners in need of a Savior and through dialogue, gentleness, forbearance, and patience the gospel of hope must be communicated and allow the Holy Spirit to change the heart. Those who have embraced this balance have found a great opportunity for ministry to those struggling with same-sex attraction. We must live by Christ-like example, embracing sinners and challenging un-Christian attitudes that members display toward sexually deviance.
God’s ideal for His people is higher than the highest human thought can reach. We are all in the same boat—we cannot of ourselves attain to His standard for the citizens of His kingdom. But that is precisely why we need Jesus! He has never intended that we should do His will independent of His strength, but His strength is made perfect in our weakness. By His strength, we may be representatives of a higher-order society even while here on earth. Will we invite Jesus to transform us into the men and women who will be reflectors of His image in this sin-sick world? And will we be to others a harbinger of hope as they pursue a relationship with Jesus?