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A View from the Altar / How a deed became an identity
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How a deed became an identity

Time was, biblically literate Christians looked upon a homosexual act as a sin, period.  As I’ve often said, homosexuality is not the unpardonable sin, but it is a sin.  And people who understood the Bible viewed it this way.

But the Bible has some stern things to say about sin.  The one who sins is a slave to it, says Jesus (John 8:34).  And how does a person deal with the fact that he is a slave to a certain sin?  Obvious right answer: Seek deliverance from Christ.

But there’s another option pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous, which is to take on your sin as an identity.  “I am an alcoholic,” they say, even when they’ve been dry for fifty years.  They manage their sinful desires by creating a fictional identity and building a set of rules around it:  An alcoholic has this incurable genetic condition.  The condition (not me!) makes self control impossible when alcohol is near.  Thus, he can never drink, but neither will he ever be anything better than a sober alcoholic.

Homosexuals have done much the same thing, only with a twist.  “I am a homosexual,” they say.  “And since I am this way, I must have been born this way, and if so, then it’s no longer a sin; it’s just what I am.”  In this way, “homosexual” has shifted from an adjective describing the nature of a sexual misdeed to a noun naming the core identity of a person.

That’s had other effects.  The percentage of people who, once upon time, did something sexual that was male/male or female/female is actually pretty large.  But it’s become the sin that straight people can never confess because so many other people have bought into the notion of homosexuality as an unchangeable identity rather than error to be repented of.  That’s all the more reason for the church to insist on biblical definitions of things.  God never forbade anyone from being homosexual because (dare I say it?) there is really no such thing, at least not in the way the gay political movement affirms.  What the Lord did say was, “Men must not lie down with other men, nor women with women.”  It’s a deed that’s forbidden.  It’s a sin that gets committed.  And it’s an error that the Lord bids men to turn from.

And it would help people enormously who are enslaved to this particular sin if they realized that it’s just a thing they do, a habit, maybe even an addiction, but it’s always something Jesus Christ can deliver them from.  You can’t get away from what you are, but with the help of a Redeemer, you can change what you do.

otherbrothersteve@gmail.com

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