This article needs to be read after Part 1 to appreciate the context of the discussion. The Bible is not a tool to bash sinners, but it can be used to help us discover the root of a problem.
Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Rom 1:18-31 ESV, emphasis added)
Again, Paul’s specific use of the word “unrighteousness” is a clear indication that this portion of scripture is addressed to sinners (unbelievers) and not to saints. Paul constantly refers to “them” in these verses, whereas he would normally refer to “us” and “we” when addressing issues pertaining to believers in his letters.
We see from verse 24 onwards that after repeatedly and fruitlessly attempting to reveal Himself to an unbeliever through His wondrous creation (verses 19-20), God would “give up” such a person to their own fleshly lusts, which would sometimes lead to men burning with desire for other men and women for other women (verses 26-27). So for someone to become a homosexual, they had to have made a conscious choice again and again to deny God’s existence. Their heart had to have been as hard as stone at some stage. The only point in God “giving them up” like this would be for the destruction of their flesh (just like Paul commanded that certain men had to be handed over to Satan – see 1 Cor 5:5 and 1 Tim 1:20), in other words to bring them to such a state of helplessness and despair that they would not have any other avenues of fulfillment to explore other than to accept Jesus into their life.
So now a homosexual person becomes born again, what now? Well just like any other sinner, their spirit is instantly transformed into the image and likeness of Christ (Eph 4:24), they are seated with Christ in heavenly places (Eph 2:6), they receive remission of all their sins (Heb 8:12) and they are filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13). Their spirit is 100% holy from that moment on for all eternity. But their mind is not.
Our minds are trained to think according to the desires of the Spirit that lives in us, whether it is Satan or the Holy Spirit. Before a person is born again, their mind is programmed and trained to operate according to the desires of the devil. Thought patterns and habits are deeply engrained, depending on the level of surrender of the person to the evil which dwelled inside them. But when they are born again, this evil nature is circumcised out of them (Col 2:11) and buried with Christ (Rom 6:3-4). They are given a completely 100% righteous spirit man on the inside (Col 3:10). The only thing left to do now is to retrain or “renew” the mind (as Rom 12:2 calls it) according to the desires of the Holy Spirit who now lives inside them. Unfortunately this doesn’t happen overnight.
Habits which might have taken years to form (in the case of homosexuals there are distinct mannerisms, thought patterns and strongholds) most often take a good while to disappear. The rate of outward behavior change is directly proportional to the rate of mind renewal, which is directly related to the amount of time we give ourselves to communion with God through prayer, Bible study, listening to preaching on Grace and Righteousness, spending time in fellowship with other believers etc. What we previously spent time and energy on to put into our minds, we need to spend time and energy on to replace with new beliefs and convictions. Mind renewal is one of the things which God commanded us to do:
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Rom 12:2 KJV)
If God had to renew our minds as well when we were born again, we would have become zombies. But He didn’t – He left us with the choice.
What if a Born Again Christian Decides to “Become” Gay?
This is the same as a Christian who decides to start using drugs, or to start stealing, or lying, or committing adultery. It’s simply a sign that there is a part in their mind that has not yet been submitted under the authority and Lordship of Christ:
… pulling down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought into the obedience of Christ; (2 Cor 10:5 MKJV)
These thoughts may have been suppressed due to external pressure to conform to certain moral ethics or to start reflecting the “holy lifestyle” which is expected of Christians after they have come to Christ. Then, once the dust storm died down and the person neglected to give himself/herself to renewing their mind in this area, it is quite possible that the evil desires (which was programmed into their mind by the (now dead) evil nature which lived inside them before) could start rising to the surface again. If left unchecked a Christian can definitely fall back into their old ways. The only difference is that they now force the Holy Spirit (who lives inside them) to be a witness of whatever they do. Sin doesn’t make Him leave, since sin was conquered at the cross. But it does quench Him and grieve Him, since He is not allowed to manifest Himself in and through that person to the extent that He wants to.
Homosexuality is simply a stronghold in the mind. It’s not natural. Like all the other sins mentioned in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 it does not belong in the life of a believer. But also, like all other sins, it has already been forgiven. There is now a vast ocean of Grace that covers all the mistakes that God’s children make as they discover their true new identity. For some it takes a simple few years of unlearning and reprogramming to start oozing with Holy Spirit love. For others it takes years of hard fought battles, long troubled roads, endless nights of anxiety and the loss of friends and family to start reflecting God’s light in their lives. And it all happens as we realize that He loves us.
Our identity and security is found in His unconditional acceptance, in the chambers and hallways of His love where we find that any habits, beliefs and attitudes in our lives that does not reflect Christ actually becomes meaningless and irrelevant. There is no anxiety about morality with our God – there is only welcoming arms. There is no fear of punishment, there is only perfect love (1 John 4:18).