Can Homosexuals Change?
This article comes on the heels of my earlier post entitled “Romans 1:26,27: Was Paul Speaking about Homosexuality?“. I tread this subject carefully. I know there are many people who claim that homosexuality is genetic. I do not see the proof substantiating that conclusion but I understand what they are saying. Others say that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality. I have written about that in the past and I would encourage you to look at my earlier posts on the subject for further discussion. Regardless of which one of those you choose, both come to similar conclusions. #1 Either we can’t change (genetic view). #2 There is no need for change (moral view).
The problem is that the Bible makes it clear that this homosexuality is sin. Unfortunately, many see that as bigoted, hateful, and mean, but it is true. Just like those who commit adultery are in sin. Thieves, murderers, liars, and the hateful are living in sin. All of us are sinners. We are all made in the image of God and all of us have disgraced that by sinning. So, that brings us to the question of this article…Can homosexuals change?
The simple answer is yes. Homosexuals can change. I know of people who have changed. Beyond that, the Bible tells us that homosexuals can change. Let’s look at the Apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, 10 thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Some of you once lived this way. 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. -NET
The first two sentences are devastating to us, as sinners. I don’t care if you are greedy, verbally abusive, or a homosexual Paul makes it plain…these people will not inherit the kingdom of God. These people will not taste salvation. These people need to be changed. There is something that needs to be addressed though in Paul’s first two sentences when it comes to homosexuality. What in the world does he mean by “passive homosexual partners” and “practicing homosexuals”? Let’s take a look at these:
Strong’s Greek Lexicon’s definition of the Greek word malakos translated as “passive homosexual partners” as:
1) soft, soft to the touch
2) metaph. in a bad sense
2a1) of a catamite
2a2) of a boy kept for homosexual relations with a man
2a3) of a male who submits his body to unnatural lewdness
2a4) of a male prostitute
It is clear that Paul is not addressing things that are “soft to the touch” so the second definition given makes sense. What Paul is communicating is those who give their bodies to make money in homosexual prostitution will not inherit the kingdom of God. Then Paul shifts from “passive homosexual partners” to “practicing homosexuals”. “Practicing homosexuals” is translated from the Greek word arsenokoitai and Strong’s defines this word as:
1) one who lies with a male as with a female, sodomite, homosexual
In case you were wondering there is no number 2) when it comes to this definition. Many have tried to say that Paul’s word is ambiguous and ultimately unknowable, but this is not the case. In an article entitled “Is Arsenokoitai Really that Mysterious?” by C. Wayne Mayhall, Mayhill writes these words reacting to some arguments against Paul’s usage of arsenokoitai:
Proposition 1. To broaden the word arsenokoitai to include exploitive heterosexual intercourse appears unlikely in view of the unqualified nature of the Levitical prohibitions.16
Proposition 2. In every instance in which the arsenokoit word group occurs in a context that offers clues as to its meaning (i.e., beyond mere inclusion in a vice list), it denotes homosexual intercourse.17
Proposition 3. The term arsenokoitai itself indicates an inclusive sense: all men who play the active role in homosexual intercourse. Had Paul intended to single out pederasts he could have used the technical term paiderastïs.18
Proposition 4. The meaning that Paul gave to arsenokoitai has to be unpacked in light of Romans 1:24-27. When Paul speaks of the sexual intercourse of “males with males” (arsenes en arsenes) in v. 27, he obviously has in mind arsenokoitai.19
This word is not disputable. Paul wrote what Paul meant to write. Homosexuality is a sin and Paul’s word usage makes that clear. Homosexual practices will keep you from the kingdom of God. However, there is hope. God is powerful enough to change you.
Allow me to quote Paul in verse 11 again:
Some of you once lived this way. 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.
I love Paul’s words because it shows the beauty of God’s love. Some of those people in Corinth lived lives that Paul described. They were anything but lovers of God. They did not follow his truth or his law. They did not love him and they proved it by living in accordance to their wills instead of God’s. But, God didn’t leave them in that state. God reached down and saved people living in sin. Paul says that they were “washed”, “sanctified”, and “justified” in the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ work on the cross came to save them and the Spirit came to apply that salvation.
If you are living in any kind of sin God can change you. For those who define themselves as homosexual I pray that God reveals the depth of your sin. With that revelation can come many emotions but through it all I pray that God will wash you, sanctify you, and justify you in Jesus Christ.