Question: I have encountered a minister who considers himself to be a non-practicing homosexual. He has said that his sins are forgiven. Will he be accepted by God into heaven? I do understand that having faith in Jesus Christ for what He has done for us recognizes that He has nailed our past, current, and future sins to the Cross. This minister considers himself to still be a homosexual but says he isn’t involved with the sinful homosexual acts. My question is this: If a homosexual is not involved in those sinful homosexual acts but still considers himself a homosexual, will he/she go to heaven?
Response: The individual you mention may be deceived by the idea that homosexuals are born that way and cannot change. But one of the glories of the power of the gospel is that we can be changed. Drunks can cease to be drunks, homosexuals can cease to be homosexuals. The habits of a lifetime may be extremely difficult to overcome, but the Scriptures assure us that we can be changed. One of the worst ideas humanity has ever come up with is that one cannot change. For example, 12-steps programs teach that one will always be an “alcoholic.” Where is the victory that we are promised in Christ? In fact, 2 Corinthians:5:17 states, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (emphasis added).”
With this in mind, in 1 Corinthians:6:9-10 Paul lists those who will not inherit the kingdom of God: “Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” This means active involvement in these practices. And lest anyone feels hopeless about shedding the image attached to his former sin, Paul continues in verse 11: “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
This minister states that he lives a celibate life. This is good and is perhaps an indication that he truly has been saved. What he says about remaining a homosexual, however, puts him in direct conflict with Scripture. It’s one thing to say that you’re not a practicing homosexual, but is that action the result of a changed heart? Does he fully understand how God views homosexuality? God was very clear in the Old Testament about this matter, calling it an abomination (Lv 20:13, et al.). He is equally clear in the New Testament, particularly in Romans:1:18-32, on the consequences of giving oneself over to that lifestyle. And yet, in both the Old and New Testaments, God’s directions are explicit regarding those who belong to Christ who sin: “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Prv 28:13); “And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 Jn:2:1).
If this man is truly a born-again believer (even though deceived by popular but unbiblical ideas), he will go to heaven. But even so, he still needs to discard the world’s ideas and embrace the promises of God. What a testimony he will have if he yields himself entirely to the Lord to forgive him, wash him, and make him as “white as snow”!