Society assigns gradations to criminal behavior, and that is probably the source of feelings and beliefs of many in the “household of faith” which likewise assign degrees of seriousness to sin. Legaldictionary.net explains that many states subdivide felony and misdemeanor criminal violations into one of four degrees: first degree through fourth degree. Some in the church also think that they can prioritize violations of God’s laws.
Taking the Lord’s name in vain seems far less serious than bearing false witness. While, for another believer, a moderate case of coveting their neighbor’s stuff is certainly more of a “cupcake” sin than committing adultery. And, violation of the “Remember the Sabbath day…” commandment is not something to lose sleep over like committing murder would be. In other words, it’s not unusual to hear God’s people downplay their commission of “minor violations” of God’s law. They think they are minor. And, they do this even as they rail against the perceived, or exposed, sinful behavior of others.
Calling People Out
For example, when did same sex relationships become heaven’s “public sin number one?” No, this is not a back-door attempt to justify a lifestyle that some find a viable alternative, and others view as abhorrent. Nor, is it a diatribe against the LGBTQ community. What it is, is an effort to understand by whose authority we apply degrees of seriousness to violations of God’s revealed will and His holy law. Furthermore, just how do we discern heaven’s acceptability of one sin over another, when both are sins?
Nothing in Scripture places those involved in gay/lesbian/bi relationships at the apex in our world of sin. Now, the Bible does reference the enemies of God’s Kingdom in several places. For example, Matthew 13’s parable of the sower, tells of tares being sown among the wheat. Verse 39 tells us, “the enemy who has sowed them (the tares) is the devil.” Paul declares in 1 Corinthians 15:26 “The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.” And, James 4:4 admonishes that “Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
Curiously, even if we wanted to proclaim members of the gay community enemies of the church, that pesky Matthew 5:43 reminds us that we are to love our enemies. So, we’re still not safe. God calls for us to love, even as we love our neighbors and ourselves.
Each Will Account for Their Sins
Let’s be clear on this fact, with God, sin is sin. Romans 14:12 says, each of us will have to give a personal account for our actions—good and bad—to God. One reminder, in 2 Corinthians 5:10, is that we must all come before the throne of Christ to account for what we’ve done, to reap what we’ve sown. And, the counsel of Ecclesiastes 12:14 keeps it real: even the “secret” things will be brought into judgment. To ensure that we understand for whom these passages apply, Paul wrote in Romans 2:11, 12: “For there is no partiality with God. For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law…”
Yes, there are revisionists, who attempt to assuage any guilt felt by those in same-sex relationships by declaring the Bible is empty of any condemnation for homosexual deeds. However, that is wishful thinking. Does the Bible declare homosexuality a sin? Yes. But, it also declares fornication a sin. Not surprisingly, adultery is also a sin. In fact, the Bible declares that any sexual intimacy outside of the sacredness of marriage (based on God’s original design: one man, one woman) is a sin.
This begs the question, why are we not so quick to condemn our family members, friends, and co-workers who we suspect, or know, to be engaged in relationships of intimacy outside of marriage? Victory over all forms of sexual improprieties is available through Jesus.
God’s Word contains abundant evidence. The Old Testament offers Genesis chapter 19, along with Leviticus chapters 18 and 20. While, in the New Testament, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, and 1 Timothy 1:9, 10 all provide clarity on where God stands with sexual sins. However, please note, at no time does God suggest that He has no love for those engaged in sexual sins. His love for us is evident in that “…while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Called to Befriend, Not Condemn
So, what is our obligation? God declares in Ezekiel chapter three that He has placed us as watchmen, and watchwomen, upon the walls to warn those in sin. The Great Commission contains our marching orders, “Go, therefore, and teach…” In Luke chapter 14, Jesus instructs that we are to go into the highways and byways, compelling them to join us at Prince Immanuel’s table. Lastly, Paul’s admonition of Galatians 5:6 is that nothing else matters except faith that works by love. We are called, not to condemn, but to befriend for Jesus, in love.
This article is part of our 2019 May / June Issue