This is the last of a five-part blog series on same-sex attraction. Be sure to read part 1 (“Why we have such a problem talking about same-sex attraction in the church”), part 2 (“Is same-sex attraction wrong? If so, why?”), part 3 (“What do I do if I’m attracted to people of the same sex?”), and part 4 (“How do I love my gay friend?”).
Sexual ethics are important, but they aren’t the center of Christianity. C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity, closes his chapter on sexual ethics by saying, “Does this biblical teaching on sexuality bother you? Well, then punt it for a while…because the center of Christianity isn’t sex; it’s the lordship of Jesus.” I have found that to be a helpful guide. If you just can’t accept this area of Christianity yet, then punt it. Take time first to figure out who Jesus is. And if you conclude, as I have, that he is Lord, then let him lead you on this issue.
For those of us who believe, we must retain the attitude of Paul as well as the theology of Paul. With Paul, we humble ourselves, knowing that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom we are the chief. And we continue to preach that whosoever calls on the name of the Lord—gay or straight, black or white, rich or poor—will be saved. There is, after all, only one kind of sinner. And there is only one Savior.
As a church, we must let the cross shape how we engage this issue. Like Jesus, we must be full of grace and truth. So we will, in truth, be faithful to what God says. But even if they nail our hands, I pray that God would give us the grace to say, as Jesus did, “Father, forgive them.”
Like the cross… if they nail our hands, may God give us grace to say “Father, forgive them.
I close with this letter from Jared, a young man at our church, telling me about his journey with same sex attraction. It illustrates much of what this series has been about:
“When I came to the Summit, I heard you preach on the cross, and you explained that Jesus took away all of our guilt and shame by bearing it himself; that we’re not just forgiven, we’re made pure by the blood Christ… and then, for the first time, it all began to make sense.
My same-sex desires don’t define me. My identity is now built on something so much greater—my resurrected Savior Jesus Christ. God knew me from before the foundation of the world, he knew my sin, he knew what my struggles would be, and he still chose to send his Son to live the perfect life I could never live and die the death that I deserved. On the cross, he traded places with me, taking my sin and shame and giving me his place of righteousness with the Father. Now, with my same-sex desire I am in Christ; I am a new creation.
I began to see my struggle with same-sex attraction as a way for me to draw closer to Christ – as a way for me to see my own sinfulness and be driven even more to treasure the gospel; to treasure the fact that in Christ I’m fully known and fully loved. And the thought of eternity then became so much sweeter – knowing that, even if I struggle in this world for the rest of my life, one day I’ll be with my Savior and be completely freed from sin. Forever.
All of that is to say thank you for being relentlessly committed to the gospel. I’m proof that faithfulness to the Gospel in this area is crucial. At a fragile time in my life, when I could have been driven to despair or to an abandonment of Christian faith, I heard, submitted to, and treasured the Gospel, and I thank you and The Summit Church for your role in that.”