Practicing Homosexuals Can Go to Heaven?


Can a homosexual go to heaven? I know what the Bible seems to say, but is the minute portion of the Bible dedicated to this "activity" enough to, without a doubt, say all practicing homosexual will go to hell? See 1 Cor. 6:9


This is a complicated question that involves many aspects of theology, and Christians don't always answer it in the same way. But as I see it, it's essentially a specific version of the broader question "Can sinners go to heaven?" I believe the answer is that some but not all practicing homosexuals will go to heaven, and others will go to hell.

Homosexuality is a sin - a heinous sin! But so is adultery - another sexual sin. However, homosexuality is not blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (generally understood to be attributing the Holy Spirit's works to demonic powers; Matt. 12:31-32). Therefore, salvation is still a possibly for homosexuals. Salvation in Christ Jesus alone is their / our only hope.

It is important at this point to distinguish between four different types of practicing homosexuals:

  • (1) Genuine Christians: Those who are regenerate and genuinely repentant and sorrowful over their sin, but who can't "presently" seem to break out of certain sins (cf. Rom. 7:14-25). These need loving biblical counseling and the work of Church discipline in their lives. The WCF states in Chapter V: Of Providence, 5: "The most wise, righteous, and gracious God does oftentimes leave, for a season, His own children to manifold temptations, and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and, to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon Himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends." However, note the words "for a season." This condition is only for a particular time. It is not a permanent state! A genuine Christian should continually fight against against such sin. And they should hope to be delivered in Christ (cf. Rom. 8:1). If there is not a continual fight, then we should question whether or not this person is truly saved (cf. Rom. 8:7-8). Others may genuinely love and trust Christ, but be deceived into thinking that homosexuality is not a sin (see point 4 below).

  • (2) Unknown Sin: Those who are regenerate and yet have not "presently" been renewed in the knowledge of the truth concerning certain sins (cf. Rom. 12:1-2) and therefore still act sinfully in certain areas. Certain cultures do not know that certain behaviors are sins "yet." They need to be firmly instructed in the truth. However, after the knowledge of sin is taught, understood and Church discipline applied (cf. 1 Cor. 5:1-5) the elect in time will turn to the Lord (2 Cor 2:5-11) more fully, repent and walk in the Spirit.

  • (3) Victims of Human Trafficking: Those who are regenerate, but who are presently victims of sexual abuse, human trafficking, etc. Some are trapped in these type of situations. They are forced into particular sexual situations. They not only need our prayers, but the intervention of both local, state, Federal and international authorities. There are different programs churches may be involved in to be more proactive in assisting these victims of crime.

  • (4) The Lost: Many never make a profession of faith and others join the visible Church but are yet unsaved. They continue unconvicted by Scripture and the Holy Spirit that homosexuality is a sin. Some will look for inventive ways to justify their sin as if it were not a sin (Heb. 10:26). Some embrace The Queen James Bible or the Study New Testament For Lesbians, Gays, Bi, And Transgender: With Extensive Notes On Greek Word Meaning And Context, et. al. (see below). Many of these people are mere professors of Christ (unsaved) and not possessors (saved). If they remain in this unrepentant state they will go to Hell.

The first three kinds of homosexuals (# 1 - # 3 above) should be embraced by the Church. They should be instructed in the faith and lovingly disciplined as Jesus commands (Matt. 18:15-20). Both the sinner and the Church should expect repentance (note the word "presently" in # 1 and # 2, i.e. change is expected). Prayer, fasting, and instruction are mandated. However, the latter kind (# 4 above), who having the knowledge of God, who purposely sin against God, make excuses for their sin, seduce others into sins and have no intention to stop sinning; these have not true salvation.

1 Corinthians 6:9 speaks about wanton and unrepentant homosexuality (#4 above). See "Is Passive Homosexuality Permitted in Scripture? - 1 Corinthians 6:9" below. These will not inherit the kingdom of God. However, it is not speaking of all types of homosexuals (#1-#3 above).

Some in Corinth, even though they were truly saved, thought they could still act as they once did. Paul was instructing them otherwise. Now, if a person has any of these types of sins in their lives (homosexuality, adultery, cheating, swindling, etc.), they should check themselves to see if they are truly "in the faith." As Paul says, "Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves" (2 Cor 13:5). Present habitual sins of these sorts may be very probable indicators of yet being unregenerate! See A Salvation Check-Off List. Paul is stating - if you are truly saved, now that you have learned the fuller truth, act like the new creations you claim to have become.

Even so, let's not miss Paul's point - swindling, robbery, homosexuality, etc., are hideous sins, and Christians are commanded not to do them. In fact, Paul taught in the prior chapter that if Christians persist in these actions without repenting, they are to be excommunicated (1 Cor. 5:9-13). Still, the point of excommunication is ultimately salvific - professing Christians are excommunicated in the hopes that they will repent (1 Cor. 5:5; cf. Matt. 18:15-20). The unsaved are excommunicated in hopes they will repent and come to Christ.

God knows our hearts (Jer. 17:10; Rom 2:6). Our hearts are extremely deceptive (Jer. 17:9). Don't be fooled; don't fool yourself into thinking you are something you are not! Just like every other sin, homosexuality is dependent upon the person's disposition towards the sin in question: if they are repentant and embracing Christ and fighting against the sin then this is an indication of salvation. If not, then they are lost.

"Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves" (2 Cor 13:5).

Related Links:

Were Ruth and Naomi Lesbians?
Same-Sex Love?
Antinomianism and Homosexuality?
Is Passive Homosexuality Permitted in Scripture? - 1 Corinthians 6:9
The Queen James Bible?
No Cake for You?
Homosexuality and the Centurion's Servant?
Homosexuality or Inhospitality? - Genesis 19:5
Was David a Homosexual? - 1 Samuel 18:1-4
Isaiah and Homosexuals? - Isaiah 56:3
God Hates...

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).