6. Q: Did God create people so wicked and perverse?
A: No. God created them good and in His own image, that is, in true righteousness and holiness, so that they might truly know God their creator, love Him with all their heart and live with Him in eternal happiness for His praise and glory.
7. Q: Then where does this corrupt human nature come from?
A: From the fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in Paradise. This fall has so poisoned our nature that we are born sinners–corrupt from conception on.
8. Q: But are we so corrupt that we are totally unable to do any good and inclined toward all evil?
A: Yes, unless we are born again, by the Spirit of God.
from the Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 3.
People from time to time ask me if I was born gay. The prevailing notion is that if I was born gay, then that must be the way God made me and I should rejoice in that, treat it as a gift, and strive to live in that gift, embracing it as a blessing in my relational outlook on life and possibly pursue a mate in keeping with that orientation.
But the rebellion narrative of Genesis paints a very different picture. The rebellion of Adam and Eve in the Garden filters down. As a covenant head of humanity, Adam’s sin reaches even me, multiple thousands of years later.
In short, the fish rots from the head.
Some folks dispute this, asserting that mankind is essentially good. I’m not sure anyone can biblically defend this without ripping the Bible up into tiny pieces since it’s clear that the intentions of man are evil from birth. They aren’t misguided, or poisoned from without. Instead, the very condition of men’s hearts are evil from the very start.
So what am I to do with this? Am I supposed to simply embrace it? Or am I supposed to fight it? Is there a third option?
The Gospel seems to indicate a third option that makes the second option viable. Christ’s death on the cross and subsequent gift of faith to me enables me to do good works which God has ordained for me to do, as his quickened (aka, made alive) child (Ephesians 2:10). Apart from this union in Him, I cannot do anything worthwhile to fight sin at all…even sin so deeply ingrained it feels as if it’s just the way I am.
This is why, in dealing with sinners (which is, by the way, everyone), it’s important to remember (and disclose) the Gospel. Fighting sin has its practical outworkings…avoid porn, pray, read one’s bible, etc. But if those things are done while assuming rather than resting in the Gospel, we have a big problem. Without the Gospel, one cannot adequately fight sin. Without the comfort of the Gospel, we grow weary of fighting and prefer instead to embrace that which seems comfortable and natural.
Pastors, especially, must give this sweet assurance to their congregations every week. Preach to show the sweetness of Christ; behavior change rooted in faith will follow the proclamation of the Gospel. It’s the promise of Scripture.
David Lee said:
Greetings in the Lord!
The question I then ask to you is this: did God create you gay? Did God ordain you to have emotional feelings for men and to be attracted to the same gender?
I am sensing that you hold the position that you were born gay because you were born depraved and sinful. This all a result of indwelling sin (to sound a little Owen’ish) and total depravity in heart, mind, soul, and will. That your homosexuality is a symptom/product of a larger thing called sin? If we are born in God’s image like Scripture says, then does it make any sense for us to be born with unnatural and ungoldy attractions?
The other question I have is this: the natural order God established is for men to seek after and love women. Does healing from homosexuality restore that natural order (or at least provide a reorientation of feelings and emotions?) Rather, do you believe that God just leaves people in their homosexual emotions and attractions? Or do you believe that God graciously reorients one’s emotions and attractions toward women as they remain faithful, obedient, and repentant? Basically, I am asking this because I am in the middle of the battle right now. If sanctification is increasing in holiness and looking more like Christ, then won’t God remove these unnatural desires as grow in sanctifying graces? Basically, do I ever have the hope of loving women and being attracted to them?
I am not trying to debate. I am a fellow brother in a Lord. A Reformed guy too (PCA here). A college student that recently stepped out in faith and left my lover behind. I am still hurting over that fact, but the Lord called me to leave that sinful situation and seek Him above the world.
Thank you for your ministry! I have already gleaned much from it!
Grace and peace!
Wow I was so in Awe! By reading This. I am a christian mom who has a gay son. and i have prayed and searched the scriptures on this matter. the only thing that keeps coming to my mind and heart is. The Cross. Jesus dying for our sins. and another thing i wonder about is the scripture in revelation where
God say’s He will cast into Hell the Devil and all his imps. (paraphrasing Revelation) Could it be just maybe. If he roams the earth (satan) with his imps (demonic spirits). Could this not be the spirit that dwells in the flesh of God’s Children. That cause’s this same sex attraction. and therefore. This is what will be Cast into Hell The Spirit that tormented the Child of God………. I to have been so confused on this topic of “Love for one another”. Jesus said Love your neighbor. and also leaving with this to think about. When you look into the eyes of others your looking into the eyes of GOD!…… “The Cross!
Greetings in Christ:
I can’t say that I have the absolute answer to your questions. I am 47 and have been a believer since my early 20s and celibate all my life, but I have not done so well at resisting homosexual sins of the heart lately. What I can say is this. God can heal us from our homosexuality and will do so eventually if we have saving faith in him, but as is the case of other products of the fall such as disease, there is no promise that he will heal us of our homosexuality before we see his face in glory. Generally speaking people who are not gay, also find themselves fighting the same temptations and sinful tendencies over and over again. We have not been singled out in this. For example few alcoholics ever get to the place where they can drink at all without falling back into the addiction.
I want to share with you a gem from 2nd Corinthians 12:1-10. Paul using the third person speaks of visions and revelations he was given where he was allowed to see into the third heaven, which is presumably the thrown room of God. Then Paul speaks of a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, being being given to him to buffet him to keep him humble. Some have argued that this thorn in the flesh was some sort of physical ailment such as eye trouble. I absolutely do not think this at all. What ever this thing is, it is demonic in nature. It could be the persecution that follows him around. But I tend to think that it is a besetting temptation which does not depart from him and which probably more than occasionally led him to actual sin. For all we know it could be a homosexual orientation, but to claim this would be pure speculation with no evidence to back it up beyond Paul’s apparent life long singleness.
I have two reasons to think that Paul is speaking of a besetting temptation. First it is a messenger of Satan. The demonic real primarily operates in the realm of temptation followed by accusation. This makes me think that it is an area of weakness that Satan exploits when he sends temptations, and it is probably something in Paul’s life about which he can bring accusation against Paul. Satan can provide external temptations such as opposition. We know from Job that Satan can even bring disease on believers with God’s permission. But usually Satan works more directly on our hearts. The second reason to think that this has to do with a besetting temptation and sin is on account of God’s response to Paul’s request for him to take it away. Paul said that he has prayed three times to take the thorn away. By the way these are not three individual prayers but three seasons of intense prayer. Anyway, Paul said that each time the Lord’s response was, “my grace is sufficient for you.” Mind you, grace is about forgiveness of sin. So there is no promise to take the thorn away, but Paul gets a promise that the Lord’s grace is sufficient for him even as he continues to struggle with the thorn. In the Bible, grace is generally God’s answer to dealing with sin in his children. The fact that God’s grace is sufficient even in the context of Paul suffering with the thorn in the flesh which is a messenger of Satan makes me think that this is a persisting temptation in Paul’s life and that it is a temptation that ether does or potentially may result in Paul falling into sin.
If I’m right about this, and I am pretty sure that I am, this tells us a few things about our besetting sinful tendencies whether they are homosexual or not. One is that God is under no obligation to remove them while we are on this earth, and indeed he may and probably often does choose not to remove them so that we remain dependent upon his grace. I promise you, your temptation to pride and self worship is always going to be a more dangerous sinful tendency than your homosexuality. I absolutely know this about you because like me you are also a descendant of Adam. If there is one thing good about being gay, it is that it does make it a little harder to be a Pharisee even though I can be really self righteous at times. “The heart is deceitful above all things; who can know it?” Anyway, God’s answer to Paul was essentially three fold. 1) No, I’m not taking the thorn away, or at least I’m not committing to it. 2) Whatever failings this causes in you, I have you covered. In other words, I got you even if you fall. 3) Shut up and stop wining about it. (Paul only had three seasons of prayer about this thorn in the flesh, so this was apparently one of the messages Paul got out of the Lord’s response.)
But after this the Lord says something very encouraging and then Paul adds something in response which should encourage us even more. Let’s get Paul’s full quote from the Lord Jesus’ answer: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect (complete) in weakness.” In other words our weakness even in the areas where we continually fall to sin creates a context in which the Lord’s power gets displayed and made complete. Then Paul says I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me. By the way, if ever there is a reason why gay Christians should not be closeted this is it. The example Paul gives is that we boast in our weaknesses and not hide them. My gayness creates the context in which God demonstrates that he is powerful enough to even save a gay man even though I will likely dye a gay man and will at least in my mind fall to homosexual sin from time to time throughout my life. It is in the context of my weakness that Christ’s power to keep me in the gospel is shown to be complete in me, to the demonic realm and to the watching world.
Wow, it just hit me. This is the answer to those who have a problem with us identifying ourselves as “gay”. As Christians we do not say we are gay because we are proud of our homosexuality. Instead we say that we are gay because our homosexuality is our besetting weakness and shame. My weakness brings Christ glory, therefore I will boast in my weakness. If my homosexuality brings me shame and Christ glory, then why should I not call myself a gay Christian to the glory of Christ. This of course does no mean that we should pursue homosexual practices.
The last thing Paul says concerning this is: For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. For me, my homosexuality was easier to deal with when I was in my 20s than now. I don’t want to discourage you, but when I was in my 20s I mostly had to fight against a craving for sex which is hard enough. Now I crave companionship, human touch, and intimacy. You see, my brother died a year ago, and I slowly lost my mom to Alzheimer’s over the past two years, and she died about three weeks ago. When you are a gay Christian man, who can really touch you but your mom? Who else can lawfully kiss you given our culture? My brother was the only male that I could really be close to without sexual temptation, and my mom was the only person that could give me the human touch that I so desperately crave. Now they are both gone, and believe me this has waken up a level of homosexual craving that I have never encountered before. I can’t tell you that your homosexuality is going to go away in this life. It probably wont. I hope it gets easier both for you and me. I’ve had good seasons and bad ones. This is the worst one so far. But if Paul can be content in his weakness and the insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities that spring out of his thorn in the flesh, on account of it bringing glory to Christ, then so can I and so can you. This is not an easy calling. There will be days when being Christian and being gay at the same time will feel like the cruelest cosmic joke imaginable; at least there have been days where it has felt that way to me. But if you belong to Christ, his grace is sufficient for your weakness, so that you can rest content in him even if you have to actively resist homosexual sin sometimes successfully and sometimes not until your last breath. Thanks and God bless.
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Hello, Dave, from another mom of a gay son.
I recently stumbled onto this blog, and having read several of your articles I have been wonderfully edified, blessed and encouraged. Thank you too, Marcus, for your generous responses to others in here, which also have been so helpful to read.
I’ll *try* not to write a blog post of my own here..but want to share just a bit; my son’s coming out, as it were, (rather “accidental”) ended up being the catalyst for my own salvation, and later my husband’s.
In those first few months I began sharing bible passages and such with him, naively (!) thinking this would bring him back to his “Christian” upbringing and “change his mind” about being gay (though we, the parents, were false converts). It soon became obvious that wasn’t going to work because God, whoever that is, was not even an issue for him. He just didn’t believe in our God anymore. He’d heard gospel teaching since a very young age (mainly through years of Christian school) and the Gospel has been clearly explained to him since coming-out but he’s rejected it. He soon brought up psychology and the findings of the APA and “arguments” of that nature with me, patiently continuing the discussion and debate over several months until finally, as I wasn’t giving in, his resentment began to bleed through louder and clearer. I had to leave the issue alone with him or lose the relationship we had.
Again, 6 years later and looking back I was ridiculously naive both in theology and about homosexuality/s in general, and he was amazingly patient and respectful (although I likely infuriated him at times). God grace abounded, I was saved from myself (so to speak) and our relationship is good today.
All that to say, in everything God has been so gracious to teach and show me over the yeras in His word and excellent teachers, there were/are elements to my son’s being gay and to homosexuality in general and God’s sovereignty in it all that I really struggled to understand. Reading this blog has been a huge huge blessing and great help in clarifying so much of those things..Thank you!
Brothers, may you continue the fight abounding in the Spirit all the more in strength and perseverance, encouraged in the hope going always before you until the day you stand before the One who knows your struggle more than even yourself, and says to you “well done faithful servant”.