The Bible defines marriage in Genesis 2:24 as a union between one man and one woman. Jesus Christ upholds this definition of marriage in Matthew 19:5, as does the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:31. Any and all sexual activity which takes place outside of this context is treated as sinful, what Jesus calls ‘sexual immorality’ in Mark 7:21.
Clearly, love and commitment are virtues and so it is tempting to see a loving, committed same-sex partnership as a godly relationship, particularly when compared against unloving or unfaithful partnerships of opposite-sex couples. However, the Bible is clear that a same-sex partnership is outside of God's creation plan, namely that a marriage be limited to the union of one man and one woman (Gen 2:21-24). The Bible lists no exceptions to this model regardless of the depth of the love, the quality of the relationship or the level of commitment.
About a year ago, I confessed my struggle with same-sex desires to a couple of my friends. I acknowledged that I could not fight this battle alone. I had tried unsuccessfully for nearly 25 years. If I was going to be victorious, I needed someone to come alongside me and help me. My two friends were very loving and gracious as I unburdened myself to them. That night, I installed an accountability app on my phone and my friend, Roger, became my accountability partner. We never made any kind of formal commitment to help each other. Nor did we discuss what accountability should look like.
On 12th May, the Lord willing, I will celebrate my twenty-fifth birthday. Before anyone retorts that I haven’t aged too well, I mean the anniversary of my being born again. The day God graciously “rescued [me] from the dominion of darkness and brought [me] into the kingdom of the Son he loves” (Colossians 1:13).
Enjoying God and experiencing satisfaction in Christ are exciting elements of the Christian life. In addition to enjoyment and satisfaction though, St Paul makes this assertion in 1 Timothy 6:6: “But godliness with contentment is great gain”
Do you like God? Until recently, I had never been asked that question. But author Tim Chester posed it in his opening talk at TFT’s 2016 National Conference. Does it matter if I like God? The most important commandment, says Jesus, is to ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’ (Mark 12:30). Nothing about liking God. Like him or not, surely I just have to get on with the business of loving him. Don’t I? He is, after all, God.
When asked to write this article I was forced to the realisation that I am a 30-year-old male choosing celibacy. That is probably relatively unusual, so I must know at least something on the issue. The teacher in me couldn’t resist loosely dividing this into three areas: what does it mean to be celibate, what can help us achieve that goal and why bother?
One of the most frequently asked questions when I speak at churches and conferences on the subject of same-sex temptations is this: “Is it sinful for someone simply to be attracted to a person of the same-sex?” Trying to give an answer that is both true to scripture and practically helpful in just a few sentences is always something of a challenge, so this article is written in part to provide a more comprehensive and thought-through response.