Why do some people say that homosexuality was not in God's plan for us, and that it’s a sin. I ask this question because there are a lot of individuals, men and women, who say that they've always been attracted to the same sex since they were kids. If it is a sin as some have preached and stated, why would God allow that to happen if he knew us before he came to be as he states in Jeremiah 1:5?
We say that homosexuality is not in God’s plan for us and that it is a sin because that is what the Bible says. Jeremiah 1:5 is about God knowing his plan to call Jeremiah as his prophet. It says nothing about God approving every one as they are. Sin has made people into something God never intended them to be. The following statement summarizes our view on homosexuality on the basis of the Bible.
The dispute over whether homosexuality is an inborn disposition or a free choice, the national debate over the legalization of same-sex marriages, the conflict that is rising in many denominations over the ordination of practicing homosexuals, and the sharp disagreement about the blessing of same sex marriages by the church are among the current issues that may lead people to ask, “What is WELS’ stance on these issues?” WELS does not have an official statement on these issues, but our public teaching and practice is based on what the Bible teaches concerning homosexuality.
The best place to begin a discussion of the issue is with 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, because this passage emphasizes both the law and the gospel elements of addressing this issue.
“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
On the basis of this and other passages of Scripture we must draw the following conclusions about homosexuality.
Scripture declares that homosexuality is a sin, which is contrary to God’s intention in creating man and woman. Sinful resistance to the revealed will of God is a factor in this sin. People may become slaves to this sin (Romans 1:18-31, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
Many factors contribute to individual acts of sin: the sinful nature we are born with, the weaknesses of our bodies, evil influences in our environment, temptations and encouragement from other sinners, and our own sinful choice join together lead us into sin. All of these factors contribute to homosexual sin. The proportionate role of these various factors may very from case to case.
We must warn the impenitent that homosexuality, like all sins, excludes people from eternal life (1 Cor 6:9-10).
We are happy to assure the repentant who are struggling against this sin that they have complete forgiveness through the blood of Christ. When Christ died for all of the sins of the whole world, he gained forgiveness for homosexual deeds, for homosexual desires, and for the inborn sinful nature which produces these sins (1 Cor 6:11).
We should sympathize with all who are struggling against this sin, remembering that we too have “pet sins” which may have a strong hold on us. We warn against a “selective morality” which harshly condemns homosexuality or other sins which we observe in others while treating those sins which are present in our own lives more lightly (Mt 7:1-5). We should be impartial and unbiased in warning against all sins.
We all look forward to the resurrection of the body. Then all the weaknesses of body and soul which now lead us into sin will disappear forever. Then all of us will be able to serve God perfectly and purely in everything we do.
Note on Homosexuality as Innate or Chosen:
Some advocates of legal and religious tolerance of homosexuality claim that homosexuality has a genetic cause. Some reports claim that some homosexual men share a particular pattern in the X sex-chromosome which they received from their mother. Other researchers have claimed the existence of other types of biological similarities between homosexual men. These researchers acknowledge that their discovery cannot account for all homosexuality and may merely be associated with homosexuality rather than being a direct cause of it. Most researchers conclude that the origins of homosexuality are complex and varied and may never be fully understood.
How should we evaluate such claims in the light of the biblical teaching of sin? Is homosexuality a free choice or an inborn tendency?
Like many such either-or questions, this question poses a false dilemma. Every sin is both a choice of the will and the expression of an inborn tendency to sin. Our sinful will is guilty of consent whenever we sin in thought, word, or deed. As a result of our sinful nature we take pleasure in our sins and defend them. This universal tendency is apparent also in the efforts of gay rights activists to condone their homosexuality and to deny that anything is wrong with it.
Although the consent of our sinful will is present in every sin, it is also true that we are born as slaves of sin. We may also yield to a particular sin so often that we no longer control the sin, but the sin controls us. We may find ourselves yielding to sin even when we don’t want to.
Sin infects both our body and our soul. The body we now have is not the perfect body which God created for Adam and Eve. It has been contaminated by the effects of sin. There is no reason to maintain that the specific effects of sin have been identical in each one of us or that we are all equally susceptible to every sin. Our individual degree of susceptibility to some specific sins may be due in part to differences in our bodies. Abuse of alcohol and a hot temper are just two examples of sins which may be affected by the chemistry of our bodies. Few would deny that the pressure to sexual sin is greater at 18 than it is at 8 or at 88 and that a primary reason for this is the changing chemistry of our bodies. It may well be that a person’s susceptibility to homosexuality or to certain other sins depends in part on bodily differences.
Even though the weakness of our own body may be one factor which leads us to sin, God holds us responsible for all of our sins, even those sins which enslave us and those sins which we are not aware of. We need God’s forgiveness even for those sinful desires which we resist and do not act upon. These desires too are sin. (Read Romans 7 for a treatment of slavery to sin).