Linked to the article in which the question of whether gay Christians can go to Heaven was another article that gave the “Scriptural” explanation of why they cannot. I confess that this is the kind of thing that gets me riled. It is one thing to reveal your prejudices. It is quite another to use Scripture to support them.
The key passage this person used was from 1 Corinthians:
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. 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 6:9-11
I find it fascinating that a person could read this passage and come out with a judgment against gay people. Of course, the passage, shortened to the pertinent words, does say, “…the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God… nor men who practice homosexuality.” So there it is, right?
There are two things that must be pointed out (which the author of the linked article apparently could not see). First, whatever applies to gay people in this passage also applies to a lot of others. Anyone who is sexually immoral. Anyone who is an idolator (and how do we apply that today?) Anyone who steals. Anyone who wants what others have (greedy or covetous). Anyone who drinks to excess. Anyone who is a mischief maker (reviler—gossip, dissenter, backtalker, spreader of lies or half-truths, etc.) Anyone who extorts money from others (perhaps by suggesting that the tithe is still binding on Christians?) (And, while we are still in this part of the text, any young boy slave used by a wealthy Roman citizen for sexual purposes. That word is left out of the NIV, which this person quotes, but it is in the original text.)
So, there you go. Have you met any of these folks in church? Well, none of them will go to Heaven, according to this interpretation. I would guess that we could add another whole list of things that Paul forgot also.
But what about the rest of the passage? This writer seems to completely miss the point. “Such were some of you.” That means that they are not that now. They were thieves, or immoral, or homosexual, or greedy but they are no longer. Why? Was it because they stopped doing the things associated with these labels? Was it because they conquered their sins and lived perfect lives? Was it because they never again allowed their feelings to dictate their behavior? What was it that took them from what they were to what they are?
“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.”
This passage is not a judgment on gay people! It is a celebration of what Jesus has done for His people. He has changed us. He has taken our sins away. He has re-created us. He did it . . . and it had nothing to do with us changing our behavior.
It grieves me to think that this condemnation is the only message many will hear from the church. Guilt, shame, rejection. That is not the gospel and it is not the heart of God. He loves us and He does for us what we could never do for ourselves. And listen: even if we still can’t seem to change, at least not yet, He still loves us and He still brings us to Himself.
It isn’t about what you do. It’s about what He did and continues to do.