Many churches are grappling with how to relate to those who practice homosexual and transgender behavior in a culture that embraces and celebrates this lifestyle. How do we show the love of Christ without compromising on God’s Word or condoning sinful behavior?
Well, sadly many Christians and churches are seemingly unable to find a middle ground. We frequently see judgmental Christians who understand that homosexual behavior is a sin (1 Corinthians 6:9) but forget that God’s Word says, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites . . . will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9–11). Those who are unloving toward the lost and unsaved, will not attract anyone to Christ—all they are showing is that they’ve forgotten that every believer has been saved and forgiven from their sin! Christians are no better than anyone else; we’ve simply been saved and redeemed by the blood of Christ. We need to remember that when we’re addressing sin. Sin is utterly wrong and we need to call it what it is. But we need to do so in a humble, loving way that doesn’t forget what we’ve been forgiven of ourselves.
Of course, the other tendency that we’re seeing more and more frequently is the total acceptance of homosexual and transgender behavior. Instead of recognizing sin for what it is, many Christians and churches, in the name of tolerance and love, openly embrace the LGBT community without ever exposing their sin and pointing them toward the one who forgives all sin—Jesus Christ. This is a compromise on Scripture’s clear teachings about marriage and gender (Genesis 1:27; Matthew 19:4–5).
This is what one church in Phoenix, Arizona, has reportedly done. This church, called Rebel and Divine, under the umbrella of the liberal United Church of Christ, provides meals and meets other needs for homeless youth, especially gay, lesbian, and transgender young people. Apparently at this church, “There may not be readings from the Bible or the mention of the name Jesus, but there is a reliable, consistent togetherness.” The pastor said, "We broke the bread, we shared the cup tonight. We had community that came together with a family of choice, and we talked about hope and love and joy. . . . Many who came in here wounded still walked out of here today with smiles on their faces. And that is church to me.”
Now, we are supposed to help those in need (Matthew 25:35–40; Hebrews 13:16)—reaching out to others by meeting their physical needs is important and admirable. But as a Christian or a church, what is the point of meeting physical needs while ignoring the ever more important spiritual needs of every person? People need food, water, toiletries, a roof over their heads—but how much more do they need Christ?
Scripture tells us that, without Christ, every person is destined for an eternity separated from God (John 3:36) because the penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23). People desperately need to hear about the love, acceptance, and grace that Christ offers. Because of His death and Resurrection, we don’t have to bear the penalty for our sin if we will trust in Christ and what He has done for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). We can be freely forgiven and spend eternity with Him in Heaven. This is the message people need to hear!
Giving people “love” and “acceptance” by condoning their sinful behavior isn’t real love or acceptance. It’s ignoring the truth of God’s Word and allowing people to live in sin without pointing them to the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As Christians, we need to stand solidly on the authority of God’s Word. We need to offer aid to those in need—but we need to do so in the name of Christ. We need to gently and lovingly call sin what it is, while never neglecting to direct people to the grace and love of Jesus Christ. It’s the gospel that changes hearts and lives for now and eternity.
True love is to tell people the truth about sin, God’s righteous judgment, and God’s mercy and free gift of salvation.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.