Christians and Same Sex Attraction: What Does the Bible Say?
By: Dr. Dillon Burroughs
[References to names and gender have been altered to maintain confidentiality.]
A viewer recently wrote to share that they had recently become a Christian from a homosexual background. Though this person had accepted Christ, the person continued to have thoughts regarding same-sex attraction.
Because the Bible speaks about homosexual activity as a sin and it is included in lists of those who will receive God’s judgment, this person wondered whether it was even possible they were a Christian. What does the Bible say?
Below is an edited version of the email sent in response to this question. While this is certainly a sensitive subject in our time, our goal is to provide both a biblical and loving response to those who genuinely desire answers.
Thank you for your email. While this is a very sensitive topic in today’s culture, the Bible does offer much information regarding this topic. I’ve included a short response below and hope this is helpful. Please feel free to follow up with any additional questions you may have. Please also note that we are not a counseling service and should not be understood as such. All information is based on my understanding of the biblical information and principles related to your email.
First, the Bible is clear that people from all kinds of backgrounds come to faith in Christ. When the apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth, he mentioned homosexuality, and then said, “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” (1 Corinthians 6:11). Some of these believers appear to have been involved in same-sex relationships (v. 9) before coming to faith in Christ.
Second, the Bible speaks about actions related to same-sex activity as sinful. It is important to note that there is a major difference between attractions and actions. A person may have a natural affinity toward any variety of actions, but it is when these thoughts are nurtured and acted upon that they can become displeasing to God. James 1:14-15 teaches, “Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
Third, the Bible offers guidance for those who come to faith in Christ and want to please him in the area of sexuality. The options are to marry someone of the opposite sex or to remain single and celibate. This is a summary of Matthew 19:1-12. Jesus taught there was a way God had designed and intended marriage, that divorce was to be very limited, and that sex is intended within the marriage relationship and not in other contexts. The alternative is to remain single and celibate.
These principles can be applied to those who have come from a background involving same-sex attraction. Once you have become a Christian, your goal is to grow in a lifestyle that is sexually pure. Unless you intend to marry someone of the opposite gender, then remaining single and celibate is the calling God has given. This can be used for much good, as it allows you to focus more of your time to serve God (1 Corinthians 7:32).
Finally, I hope you will understand our goal is for you to grow in your relationship with Jesus. We pray God will bless you as you continue in your efforts to live for him.