An honest answer to this question is sure to anger someone, probably many someone’. Despite the animosity and contention over this issue, a sound Biblical answer is possible and necessary. One who loves the Word of God and loves others will want to know what the Bible says about homosexuality and the spiritual condition of homosexuals. Space requires some generalization in the answer. Sexual behavior has become a part of the identity of many individuals and transforming that behavior is no small task. Genuine change will take much time and will involve many failures and disappointments. While recognizing the difficulties in addressing such life-dominating behavior, the Bible still provides clear direction and understanding on this volatile topic.
For the sake of this article I am going to draw a distinction between those who struggle with romantic or sexual desires towards those of the same sex and those who are habitually engaging in homosexual activity. Whether they identify as transgender, bisexual, homosexual or pansexual, will those who regularly engage in homosexual behavior go to heaven?
The Bible teaches that one who genuinely turns to Jesus for salvation will begin to live differently. One who is genuinely saved will show that salvation in the way he lives. Transformation of life and being is the inevitable result of salvation. If a person is not changed there is cause to question the genuineness of his salvation. Not only is transformation the inevitable result of salvation, but the Bible describes certain kinds of behavior that are incompatible with genuine salvation.
To put it succinctly, those who are really saved will not live in certain ways. These ways are plainly listed in several passages: Galatians 5:19-21, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and Revelation 21:27. The following patterns of behavior are all contrary to Christ: theft, immorality, adultery, verbal abuse, armed robbery, lying, drunkenness, uncontrolled lust, homosexuality, pedophilia, idolatry, covetousness, sorcery, witchcraft, hatefulness, strife, jealousy, anger, self-promotion and murder. One who is the child of God, whose sins have been forgiven and is in fellowship with God will not live in these ways. One who lives in these sinful ways shows he is not truly saved.
A crucial distinction needs to be offered. The occasional failure in one of these matters will not negate a Christian’s salvation. A battle against a tendency to sin in one of these ways does not cancel out true salvation. A lie here and there does not undo salvation, but a perpetual liar shows that he is not genuinely saved. A homosexual act will not exceed God’s grace, but a life of homosexuality shows forgiveness has never been received. A professed Christian who lives a life of habitual sin shows an absence of genuine Christianity. Obedience is not necessary to become saved or to keep salvation. Obedience is the indispensable result of salvation. Obedience is the visible evidence of the internal reality. Obedience is the certain result of being born again by the power of God. Sexuality is one of the hardest areas of life to submit to the rule of God, but it, as all other areas, must bow before the command of God. Practicing homosexuals will not go to heaven. Homosexuality is not heinous beyond forgiveness, but a life of sin shows one to be without life in Christ.
God’s Word provides incredible comfort and assurance to any one who is trapped in a life of sin. After listing many deep and controlling sins, Paul tells the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 6:11, “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” The grace of God is greater than any sin. All those who will turn to Jesus for forgiveness will be saved and washed clean. The result of this cleansing will be radical change in every part of life. Sin will no longer rule, but God’s grace will transform the heart and the behavior. Those who are forgiven are set apart to Christ and will live in holiness to Him. Homosexuals are not beyond hope of forgiveness, but no one may stubbornly cling to his sin and cling to Christ for salvation.