Most conservative Christians answer Yes to that question. And same-sex-attracted persons listening feel condemned because they understand homosexuality to be their sexual orientation, just like heterosexuality is a sexual orientation.
But when conservative Christians say “homosexuality,” they usually think of gay sex, rather than sexual orientation. And that creates a lot of misunderstanding.
So back to the question, Is homosexuality a sin? And the straightforward answer is No.
Homosexuality (i.e. a homosexual orientation) is no more a sin than a heterosexual orientation. Both gay and straight person may sin sexually by engaging in sex outside of marriage, since God designed sex exclusively for life-long marriage between a man and a woman, as the Bible makes clear.
The Bible defines sin in terms of what we do or think, not in terms of who we are or how we are tempted to sin:
1 John 3:4 “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.”James 4:17 The JKV says that is is the “transgression of the law.” That has the sense of stepping across a line that is drawn, or breaking the law, as in breaking a speed limit.
Romans 14:23 “.. everything that does not come from faith is sin.” (NIV)
James 4:17 “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”(NIV)
So don’t let anyone tell you that is is a sin to be gay/homosexually oriented. Sin is something you do or think, not something you are.
That said, we are all sinners in need of saving – both gay and straight people. And that’s why Jesus came to this earth to walk among us and die for us – that all who choose to accept His saving grace and power will be saved to be eternally with Him.
“So don’t let anyone tell you that is is a sin to be gay/homosexually oriented. Sin is something you do or think, not something you are.”
Really liked the way you worded that! Alot of times when I was in high school I would be confused and think I was going to hell for sure because of my attractions. Wish someone had told me then what I know now as I went through alot of guilt and shame as I think most christians do who struggle with this.
Anyways great post.
Thanks for the feedback, AJ. 🙂 Unfortunately a lot of people still don’t make the distinction between a sinful nature, which causes our tendency to sin, and actual acts of sin.
We need to spread the word. 🙂
I 110% agree with your wording on: “so don’t let anyone tell you that it is a sin to be gay/homosexually oriented. Sin is something you DO or Think NOT who you are” I have had this discussion before with my good friends and they all agree, I haven’t talked to my family or church members about this subject yet, as they all believe homosexuality is a sin, they are of course misguided, and have been taught themselves that homosexuality is a sin. Remember whether gay or straight God loves us all the same as we are all equal in His eyes.
Hi TS 🙂 Thanks for the comment. 🙂
I believe that sometimes, before talking to friends and/or family, we have to do a little educating. For instance, most people think of homosexuality as a sexual orientation. But a lot of folks — particularly Christians — think of homosexuality only in terms of sexual acts. And God did make His design for sex fairly clear.
It is not being homosexually oriented that is a sin, but giving in to one’s natural inclinations which are contrary to God’s design. That’s true for straight people as well as gay people.
Does that make sense to you?
While I believe that you are on the right track by saying one’s orientation is not sinful, I think you are still missing the mark. It is true that the act of sex can be sinful–when it involves abusing another. However, loving committed relationships between members of the same sex are not sinful. Bible passages used to imply that all intimacy between those of the same gender are sinful have been misinterpreted and used for far too long to hurt and shame God’s beloved gay children—ones for whom it is also “not good to be alone”.
Thank you for your thoughts, Lucinda.But you’re going to have to help me a bit here to find Bible passages that imply that same-sex sexual intimacy is part of God’s plan for His gay children.
Unfortunately, all the references to same-sex sexual relationships that I’ve been able to find in the Bible are negative. In fact they condemn same-sex sexual intimacy. By contrast, heterosexual relationships are mentioned in both positive and negative terms, as in Hebrews 13:4: “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” (In the Old Testament, same-sex sexual relationships are condemned right alongside premarital sex [fornication] and adultery.)
The Bible defines “love” as the attitude God has towards us – the self-sacrificing love Christ demonstrated when He took on humanity (became incarnate) and lived and died for us so that we could learn to trust Him enough to want to spend eternity with Him. He died that we might live. And I believe that that is the same kind of love He enables us to have for one another – a love that would have us rather die than cause our beloved to sin. That takes faith – a trust that God knows what is best and that He can meet our needs and the needs of those we love when we submit our sexuality to His will. That doesn’t mean it is easy. As with other sins, we will often have to fall down at the feet of Jesus and ask for forgiveness, but He does not cast us off. He lifts us up and strengthens us to walk in obedience. And in the process of denying our desires which are contrary to His will, we become more like Christ in character, and our love relationship with Him grows deeper. That’s far more than any sexual relationship can offer!
May Jesus bless you with an understanding of His love and His will.
In His love,
“And in the process of denying our desires which are contrary to His will, we become more like Christ in character, and our love relationship with Him grows deeper. ”
So well stated and very freeing for both homosexual and heterosexual children of God, because the goal is to have a more Christ-like character. I believe we can love people of the same sex very deeply without sexual intimacy. In fact, that kind of love is pure because there is no confusion as to whether the feelings are based on true love and concern for the other person or based on physical pleasure/lust. This applies also to heterosexual relationships. Perhaps even more so, because it is just assumed that a man and woman will get married and have sex (usually the other way around these days) but….is it true love or simply the natural drive to procreate? Sex enters into the picture and makes it difficult to determine if the relationship is truly based on love.
By denying our desires “which are contrary to His will” not only does our love relationship with Him grow deeper, so too do our relationships with other people.
Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Karen, affirming that the same principles apply to both heterosexually and homosexually oriented Christians.
I especially appreciate your last sentence:
“By denying our desires ‘which are contrary to His will’ not only does our love relationship with Him grow deeper, so too do our relationships with other people.”
I am a married heterosexual christian and am feeling so encouraged by this website and the courage and Godly wisdom of many here. As a christian I have oftern felt fearful of sharing my beliefs around homosexuality with love and grace, but the education around orientation versus the actual act of sin is eye opening.
This website is a blessing and Inge your love for the Lord and your desire to please Him above all else is inspiring and challenging to my life.
God bless you.
If I may also add my opinion as I am living this right now…We had started in a sinful relationship, my partner and I, but we now are not. I am in a committed same sex NON-sexual relationship with the love of my life. I want people to know just because you are same sex attracted (which I ask God to just take all sexual desires, don’t need them anyway!)Doesn’t mean you have to live a single life, alone, without some one to help you or for you to care for a long the way. As far as I can read in the Bible is that sex is the only thing condemned between same sex people. Not loving, not loving, not living together, not even kissing or holding hands…I think out society has become so engrossed with sex, that everything one does intimately has to relate to sex. We are intimate with each other, but not sexual. As for those that may say, you are supposed to flee from all temptation…well, honestly think about it. You are in a relationship… Do you ALWAYS think about having sex with them or have fantasies? No probably not. Same way for us, we are not one big ball of lust. Just last night we were dancing…one of the dances started to become a little promiscuous, I stopped her and said we can’t do that. I fled. This is just my take on things and there’s so much more I could go into, but just not enough time.
So what your saying is its okay to think about being gay, but not act, I don’t know I know some people that seem really gay and aren’t faking it, it was how they are made, like someone with bipolar, or myself with ocd, you can’t help it, its just who you are, the worry wart, the assertive woman, etc…
I have never heard it worded quite this way, but it makes SO much sense. I feel for this community, as this sin is so much less “acceptable” by the Christian community than most sins, i.e. gossipers, liars, prideful folks. Love and Truth are the lights to shine here, not condemnation and ridicule.
How can this be a sin? Youre saying its ok to be gay just dont act on it.
I have been taught God made you the way you are,you were knitted perfectly in your mothers womb and that God is love and we are to be like him.If God made us gay and we have the feelings emotionally and physically then your saying God made a mistake,and my God does not make mistakes.I believe just as heterosexuals believe in some cases that sex before marriage is a sin so sex before marriage in a homosexual relationship is a sin also..and all sins are the same in Gods eyes.
The law in most states do not recognize that we are people…but there are many northern states and more to come who are voting it into law so if we are to go by the law and abide by it then if we get married and then make love with the one we are in love with then it shouldnt be a sin.
Also the word Homosexuality didnt exist back when the bible was written.It was translated in arabic,greek,and hebrew.In translation and over the years religious people and people of power with money and religious spirits have changed the bible to say homosexual and also change other meanings.We did live under laws…when moses was around and then Jesus came to save us.When he died for our sins our sins and old self died when we accepted him into our hearts.So,now we live under grace and mercy.NOT under a religious, ruled, condeming,fear. But under love, peace, and conviction by the holy spirit if we do what is wrong, not by what man says.
We are accountable to be as christ like as possible, but to be hurt, condemened or judged.He is the only judge.If you want to know in depth, go and get a strongs condordance and look uo the words abomination and such and then look what the meaning is in greek and hebrew and see the changes. Better yet check this book out:What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality [Daniel A. Helminiak)
I had another, but i have forgotten her name and she is a pastor from a church out of cally and is amazing. Research for yourself and look within your heart and let God be your convicter not man or religion. You can be saved and gay…also the church I attend is savedandgay.com and there are many loving places where you can praise and worship our heavenly father..remember its up to you to live your life morally whether you are straight, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, bi curious, gender queer etc.God did not just die for one race, color, sex, etc. He made us all in his image, love…so think about that.
We can take ‘sin’ a step further, Christ came to take away ‘the sin of the world’; considering Adam and Eve were separated from God ‘out of the Garden’ …spiritually speaking sin is separate in nature from that which is the Spirit of God; otherwise we would not be Born from Above , and have His Spirit in us, and have our heart of stone turned to flesh Ezekiel 36:26-28. Adam and Eve had children after they were both deemed sinners..so they engaged as sinners and birthed more sinners; and if it wasn’t for sinners they could not have given birth to same sex oriented sinners. The whole thing is ridiculous when thinking about it in regard to focusing on this one issue in particular and the sad part is that it’s been allowed to carry on for so long if not forced upon society around the world. An implication made that a persons sexuality could change by being ‘saved’ is like saying they can change their blood type. It makes no sense at all. There is also some aramaic translations out there where ‘homosexual’ in the KJV is written as ‘child molesters’..why do we not see child molesters anywhere in the bible but do see homosexual? It’s quite strange..the devil has been busy and Christians themselves are keeping him in business. In regard to morals and behavior, does that really need to be discussed? Sure, there will be non-Christian gay people that will make everyone look bad, but why doesn’t the same hold true for so-called ‘moral by appearance only’ heterosexual atheists?