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Can Homosexuals, Drug Abusers and Alcoholics Be Saved?
by Jack Wellman
2010-08-21 09:02:40
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I know that the Bible says homosexuality is a sin and that those who do so will not inherit the Kingdom of God, but it also says that the only unforgivable sin is not accepting Jesus. If a gay or lesbian person accepts Jesus, but is not able to change his or her lifestyle, can they go to heaven? What about alcoholics, drug abusers, child molesters, etc.?
There is only one
sin that is mentioned that is unforgivable. That is the sin of not believing and not receiving Jesus Christ into your life. A gay or homosexual person can accept Christ, just as an alcoholic, a drug addict, or a mass-murderer can. In fact, over one-third of the Bible was written by murderers (Moses, David, Paul…). Jesus' offer of salvation is open to everyone. When someone is saved, it is not due to a change in their lifestyle but it does and should change their lifestyle. If someone has truly accepted Christ into their life, then nothing can keep them out of heaven. In John 10:28-29, Christ says of Christians,
“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand….and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.’
The term “no man” is repeated twice, indicating the importance of it to us. This “no man” includes our own selves or any body else. This would seem to cover every sin, even born-again Christian’s committing suicide. Here’s why: When Jesus said in John 3:16 - 17 that “….whoever believes in Him will not perish, but has everlasting life.” the condition to this eternal life is believing in Him. This whoever can be anybody. A practicing homosexual, an intravenous drug user, murderer, etc. The “will not” is present indicative or rather “it’s a done deal” in God’s eyes already. Remember that God calls those things in the future as if they already exist because he has the power to accomplish His will. That’s why the Alpha and Omega can say “…but has [presently for believers or already has] everlasting life”.
Then 3:17-18 reveals why your secure. For “He did not come into the world to condemn the world; but that through Him, the world might be saved”. If you believe in Him, your not condemned…period! The blood of Christ covers past, present and future sins. Although you still reap the consequences of them, those consequences are not losing eternal life. The only ones who are condemned are those who won’t believe in Jesus. To anyone trying to overcome homosexuality, drug abuse, etc. I hope that they understand that they will continue to sin, again and again, but one’s salvation is unaffected. Rewards may diminish in heaven, but nobody who accepts Christ can be lost by Christ.
Consider Paul, a spiritual giant if anyone ever was. He may have been the greatest missionary ever and was the greatest contributor to the New Testament. This man did exactly, time and again, what he knew to be wrong (Rom 7:15). Then he failed to do what was right, even though he was aware of it at the time (Rom 7:19). He sinned willingly but not willfully. There is a great deal of difference in the two. If a person senses change is needed or does change, that's a good sign that Christ is working in their life. They are willing to do good. To not try at all (like the unsaved) is willfully rejecting Christ since they aren’t even willing to try.
Works-based salvation (what we can do) saves no one, for no one can save themselves (Rom. 6:23). Besides, God is the only one who truly knows our hearts, but if Christ has become the Lord, then the Holy Spirit will begin to deal with the sin of homosexuality in their life. Not stop all the urges, not stop all of the returns to it, but prompt and urge the believer not to engage in such behavior as well as other ungodly acts. But neither ought one constantly worry, even to sleeplessness, about losing their salvation. John 3:16 says “that whomever would believe in Him would not perish“. It doesn’t add: unless, or except for, or in the event of….. It is clearly not conditional on any other thing or anyone (including our own selves).
Originally published on EverydayChristian.com/blogs

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Thanos2010-08-21 09:06:21
I have to admit that your article from its headline tested my “forgiveness” ability but let’s hope that it will provoke a conversation beyond prejudice and anathemas.

First of all I fully agree with something in your article, which I hope was your main aim. People of religion – any religion - and in extent just everybody, forgets – or wants to forget – that forgiveness is perhaps the most precious value in humanity and is not only forgiveness but everything that accompanies forgiveness like tolerance and acceptance of the different, the one we don’t understand or even the one millenniums of social taboos don’t let us accept.

Regarding the connection between forgiveness and religion is not my …field so I prefer not to go there but your focus to certain categories of people attracted my reaction. During my researches and of course later in my life I had a lot of chances to meet with alcoholics and drug abusers, and this is not my opinion but a scientific fact accepted even from the churches, where a lot of them especially in USA have helped and founded rehab institutes and sanatoriums doing brilliant work. These people are not sinners but seriously ill people who need help and especially professional and scientific help. The reasons that led them to drugs or alcohol might be many; social, heritage, mental, physical, insecurity, incommunicability, family and many others. That’s why they are dealt as ill, treated as seriously ill and I must emphasize again, from experts in the field.

There are brilliant works from physiologists and psychiatrists that lead in the field and have brought revolutionary changes in the treatment of those people and a lot of these professors and researchers happen to be also serving in churches and religious institutes even in Vatican. What I’m trying to say is that even the church accepts that drug abuse and alcoholism is not a sin but an illness that needs treatment and a lot of help. If faith helps – and I have seen it – is more than welcome for me BUT is just help, the cure should be left to the experts doctors and psychologists. Faith is good for the soul and the mental strength of the cancer patient but chemotherapy cures. Drug and alcohol addiction is not far from cancer and claims more victims and unfortunately less PR.

Coming now to gay people where is my strongest objection. Homosexuality is as much a sin as it is to be left-handed and thankfully to be left-handed is not dealt anymore as a sin but unfortunately gay people are still deal with prejudice, phobias and discrimination. There are countries where gay people go to prison and getting killed. Don’t forget that after the Jews and the Gypsies, homosexuals were the third target for extermination from the Nazis. To be a gay is neither choice nor a sin as it is not to be left-handed and I insist on the left-handed people since I am left-handed and I have very bad school experiences from back in 60s when I was in a monks supported school. Writing with the left hand for them was a sin and a sign of the devil which meant constant punishment and bruised arms and hands for me. And obviously I’m not talking about the 16th or the 17th century but for 1960s.

What they did was paraphrasing and demonizing what was different and perhaps could not understand while selectively quoting the bible or other books they were trying to excuse their superstitions and a criminal act – hitting a child because he is left-handed today can be faced only as a criminal act. Then it was …treatment to the sinner.

As far the church the way churches deal with homosexuality and gay people has only cost them (to the church) isolation from a big part of the society and most seriously, internal grief since the church and the religious world as a social group has a big percent of homosexuals in its own yard. So perhaps the church is about time to face reality. Do you know what I find dramatic? A very close friend of mine is devastated because a faithful Christian himself and his partner having often to deal with the prejudice their faith and devotion to their faith brings while they are outcasts from the church. But at least these two friends of mine have the power to forgive even the …church!

Last and not least I was a bit provoked by you putting gays, alcoholics in the same bucket with molesters. I find difficult to accept that. A molester is a criminal and perhaps church can forgive but I sincerely hope that justice never does. And I’m sorry to say but when it comes to church I find chilling saying “let the kids come near me” and this ‘me’ is a molester with a black robe since again the church as a social group and like every other social groups has molesters in its house. And yes this person is ill but the same time is aware of good and bad and has full knowledge that what he/she’s doing is evil – to use religious terms - and that makes a huge difference. Studies about molesters and paedophiles are still ….young since most of the research started in late 1960s and yes it has recognized some forms of pattern but again cure or at least help comes from specialists and I insist one more time – this time even stronger – this is the work for doctors, psychologists and in this case law enforcement officials and that because as I mentioned before these persons are fully aware of their act, the harm they cause and the results of their act.

Hoping that the aim of your article was to talk about the value of forgiveness and the readers see it as that, I hope we will be able to unveil a conversation beyond prejudice.

Thanos Kalamidas

Eva2010-08-21 17:21:32
This is a very very scary article.
To know there are people out there who actually think this way, and believe this to be the "truth", because "the Bible says so". People who put homosexuals in the same bracket as child molesters?
Holy ****
I don't even have words to begin a discussion on this.
Maybe it's because I don't have a Bible to conveniently give me a quote to copy/paste here.
I respect peoples' right to opinion and right to faith/religion and what not, but I'm always amazed of the fact that the most racist and most judgemental comments I've heard on peoples lives always seem to come from people claiming to have God on their side.
No wonder there are wars in this world, no wonder people are getting killed and injustice made - knowing there are people thinking like this.
All I can say is I'd happily aim for being a homosexual drug abuser and alcoholic rather than to agree with this article.

Eva2010-08-21 17:22:16
By the way, well said, Thanos.

Emanuel Paparella2010-08-21 19:07:36
I have a perplexity Jack and it is this: is willingness to try and to turn around a work of man or itself a grace of God which cannot be earned. You make a distinction between willfulness and willingness but if salvation is based on God's free grace and is not merited by the work of man then the distinction does not really matter. We seem to have reached an impass, an impass explored in the theology/philosoph of Karl Barth but probably not resolved yet. It provoked the Protestant Reformation but it is far from clear to me that man's efforts are worthless when it comes to salvation. I thought I'd mention those perplexities of mine, for whatever their worth.

Emanuel Paparella2010-08-21 19:18:12
I have an addendum: Socrates said that knowledge is virtue inplying that the drunkard, the thief, the child molester do evil because they do no know what they are doing. Christ in some way echoed this when he paryed from the cross "forgive them for they do not know what they do." Others would say that anybody who does what is not ethically wright does so because he does not know what he/she is doing; which is to say, there is no sin or blame in addictions; one cannot help oneself, period; consequently there is no sin either. But there is another view which is mentioed by Jack and it is that of St. Paul who says "I know the good but I do evil." That, I submit is different from the Socratic "knowledge is virtue." Plenty of food for thought here.

Emanuel Paparella2010-08-21 19:19:42
Errata: right.

Jack2010-08-21 19:49:12

Thank you everyone for the comments. Let me say this that the end result of forgiveness is not to do away with the criminal penalties and to do away with justice, e.g., a child molester is not to be exonerated nor to be allowed to walk free. The inference is that forgiveness by God is total and complete, yet the penalty of such crimes against humanity are not free to be absolved. I am not saying that forgiveness does not condone but such perpetrators such as child abuse for example, are still subject to the criminal justice system. The forgiveness of God as such allows for example David who committed murder and conspiracy to commit murder to permit adultery and marrying and lusting after another man’s wife did not do away with the consequences, but God’s forgiveness is complete. Saying this, the continual actions of such do not allow such forgiveness to be given if the person continues in this law breaking. That is the intent. To forgive is divine, for humans to forget is impossible, but God can forgive any sin of a sinner that is repentant and shows by their actions, that this does not continue for God changes the heart inwardly and their bent toward such sins is changed, by God Himself and the work of the Holy Spirit.

thanos2010-08-21 19:59:54
Emanuel that’s exactly the point with child molesters, that they know what they are doing and they can identify good from evil. Back in late 1960s psychologists and psychiatrists thought that there is a pattern, low IQ, bad childhood, socializing disabilities; however with more cases to study it has become obvious that it has nothing to do with IQ or growth or at least it has to do as much it has to do with any other crime. Referring to it as an illness has become the favourite of court rooms and defence lawyers just like another favourite with psychologists origin term “temporary loss of sanity” The unfortunate result of that is that nations indeed deal with it as an illness and they try to find cure using inhuman strong drugs that turn them into vegetables or even stronger acts like using knives in sensitive areas. They actually call it …cure.

However I have the sense that what motivated Jack is the resent events inside the churches which I’m afraid cover all the above groups and I hope he understand s that for certain things there is no …indulgence!

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