Does homosexuality prevent you from going to Heaven?

Photo by: Zach Dilgard / A&E

Photo by: Zach Dilgard / A&E

The topic of homosexuality is one played out all over the world and many times it seems, in regards to “level” of sin, nearly equalled to murder and rape. Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson is one of the latest to find themselves in the proverbial pickle over some comments made recently in an interview with the magazine GQ. On Wednesday December 18th the television channel that runs Duck Dynasty, A&E, decided to suspend Mr. Robertson “indefinitely” from the show (Hare) based on some of his comments; you can read the entire article, What the Duck?, on GQ’s website.

It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical. (Magary)

Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right. (Magary)

In the defense of Mr. Robertson I think he was taken out of context and this entire charade is similar to the Chick-Fil-A “incident”, but with all this homophobia aside I would like to clear up some of the biggest doctrinal misunderstandings as it relates to salvation: Can someone who is homosexual enter into heaven? What are the requirements for entering into heaven? Is it enough to be a good person?

Going from the assumption that the Bible is infallible it is important to first nail down what it says concerning salvation before moving to some specific type of sin. Truth be told, as you will hopefully soon see, once the method of salvation is covered there will be no need to cover specific types of sin. Salvation is not something obscurely references in the New Testament. In fact, Paul and the others repeat themselves so many times one would think there was an extremely important doctrine they were trying to nail down. The redemption for the souls of the entire human race can be summarized into the statement ‘You are justified by grace through faith’.

Faith

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. [Hebrews 11:1,2]

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. [Hebrews 11:3]

Hebrews chapter 11 has an awesome explanation of what faith is. The first sentence is the definition and the rest of the chapter gives examples. Noah believed God and obeyed by building and preparing the ark, Abraham when promised a child believed God could make it happen (even when God later asked him to sacrifice his son), Moses believed God would use him to lead the Jews out of bondage. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. The old testament patriarchs looked forward to a time when God would bring salvation to the world and we look back, both are done in faith.

…without faith, it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. [Hebrews 11:6]

Faith is extremely important when it relates to belief in God. There will be more on this topic another time, but for now know that one can not prove God’s existence per-say. One can give really strong credible circumstantial evidence and one can have a relationship with God, but if there was some way to prove God’s existence, then it would eliminate any chance of free will. Once someone has a relationship with God that relationship itself could perhaps prove Gods existence, but that is only once you have already believed and stepped out in faith and it would only be proof for yourself. There are the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but even those have restrictions. I have never tried to explain this before, so if it seems confusing please let me know.

Grace

Grace: The free and unmerited favor of God
Unmerited: Not deserved

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. [Ephesians 2:8,9]

Grace is defined as the free and undeserved favor of God. There is nothing any one person can do to please God enough to be saved. Let me make this clear – None of these statements are my own. Going from the belief scripture is infallible these are all claims made by God. Listen, there are crappy translations of scriptures out there, some have been altered on purpose, some have been altered out of ignorance, but if Christianity was to be based on our own interpretation(s) we (humans) have become the ultimate authority of what is right and wrong. There would be no ultimate authority to which we are held accountable. If the Bible was not infallible we would have no reference to what God considers right and wrong.

Justification

Justification is defined as someone being declared or made righteous in the sight of God. Being justified and made righteous in the sight of God is what gets you into heaven. The question becomes, how do you then become justified in the sight of God?

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. (Galatians 2:16)

… for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. (Galatians 2:21)

In Galatians we see the verse from Ephesians being repeated. You are justified by faith in Jesus and not by anything you have done should that be obeying the law (old testament) or some other type of works (i.e. doing good deeds). What would be the point of Jesus dying on the cross if we can enter into Heaven through some other means? Jesus would have died for no reason if that was the case.

Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ [Romans 4:23-5:1]

For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith… what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. [Romans 10:5,6,9]

What man was crucified for our sins and later raised from the dead, so that we could stand blameless in front of God? Jesus was delivered for our offenses and was raised for our justification. We are justified (made righteous in the sight of God) by faith. If one confess with his/her mouth the Lord Jesus and believe God has raised Him from the dead, then that person will be saved.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God [Romans 3:23]

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. [Romans 3:28]

We have all sinned and come short. There is not a single person on this planet that has not sinned and in danger of fire and brimstone.  One does not have to agree with the method God has decided to use, but neither does one have a choice. The Bible backs itself up and the Bible must be the only authority on what is right and wrong, if scripture was not the ultimate authority then sin would simply be a matter of ones own perspective.

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:10-13)

There is no difference between Jews and Gentiles and neither does it make a difference what type of sin you have committed. We are all sinners. Whether you murdered someone, raped someone, stole from someone, told a white lie, whether you are homosexual or heterosexual – sin is a sin is a sin. Being gay in and of itself does not prevent you from entering heaven. Sin is what prevents you. You are justified (saved) by grace (undeserved free gift) through faith (believing and confessing Christ). You are justified by grace through faith.

With the understanding salvation is a free gift there are some who may argue, “So I can be saved, go to heaven, and keep sinning?” Be not afraid as Paul is way ahead of you. It will be another topic for another day, but I leave reader with the below verse to look up. Remember: Scripture supports scripture, so the answer will be in more than one place.

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God Forbid. Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey , his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Romans 6:14-16)

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All Bible verses King James Version (KJV)

“Grace.” Google Dictionary. Oxford American College Dictionary, Web. 21 Dec. 2013.

Hare, Breeanna. “Network quiet amid petitions calling for boycott over ‘Duck Dynast’y move.” CNN Entertainment 20 DEC 2013, n. pag. Web. 21 Dec. 2013. <http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/20/showbiz/tv/duck-dynasty-boycott/&gt;.

Magary, Drew. “What the Duck?.” GQ Magazine. JAN 2014: 3. Web. 21 Dec. 2013. <http://www.gq.com/entertainment/television/201401/duck-dynasty-phil-robertson?currentPage=1&gt;.

Riedel, Jeff. duck-dynasty-gq-magazine-january-2014-01 (1). 2013. Photograph. GQWeb. 21 Dec 2013. <http://www.gq.com/entertainment/television/201401/duck-dynasty-phil-robertson?currentPage=1&gt;.

“Unmerited” Google Dictionary. Oxford American College Dictionary, Web. 21 Dec. 2013.

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