I read your response to the inquirer about ‘Will homosexuals go to hell’. I agree with your answer to the question. Would you give me your Biblical insights on ‘besetting’ sin. For example, what if a homosexual repents of their sin, accepts Christ as Lord and Savior but continues to practice homosexuality? In that case would they still have salvation? You can plug in any sin into my question. Please help me by supporting your response with appropriate scripture references. I do not want to experience Matt 7:21-23 !
If there is any possibility at all, I suggest you come to our conference Christianity and Culture June 14-16 here in San Diego. You will find the information at the web site. We will spend quite a bit of time on this very question with an expert on the topic, Guy Hammond. He is flying here form Halifax, Nova Scotia. You can also go to his web site strengthinweakness.org
I am not an expert on this topic, but let me make a couple of comments and refer you to the experts, such as Guy Hammond. The way I see it, there are two issues. They are not completely separate, but they are largely separate. First of all, God clearly condemns sexual activity between members of the same sex. I am not going to prove this, as, from the tone of your question, you are familiar with the biblical evidene for this. For a person to become a Christian, they must repent of their sins. This is true for those who have involved themselves with heterosexual activity outside of marriage as well. When we become a Christian, we are still sinners. All Christians struggle with lust, although some struggle with this more than others. For a baptized Christian whose attraction is to people of the same sex, they will likely still have lust issues toward people of the same sex. This does not mean that they cannot marry a member of the opposite sex, but they may still experience some same-sex attraction. To immerse oneself in this attraction is clearly sinful, but to have these attractions does not mean that one is not a Christian.
Having said this, there is the second issue, which is for a Christian to engage in actual sexual activity with a person of the same sex. Such behavior is clearly absolutely not permissible to a disciple of Jesus. But then again, neither is heterosexual activity outside of marriage, so in that sense we are all in the same boat!!! No, the one who is a Christian will not involve him or herself in a sexual relationship with a member of the same sex. Period. This is not acceptable and can result in losing salvation and in church discipline. I assume that, since you ask about “practicing homosexuality” you are talking about this second category. To struggle with a sin–to fall into a sin after baptism is normal to all Christians. The person with same-sex attraction will still be tempted in this area and will, presumably fall into temptations in the thought area. However to “practice” that sin is to risk losing our salvation. This is what Hebrews 10:26-31 clearly teaches. Therefore, if a Christian decides to actually enter into a long-term homosexual relationship this clearly would put them in danger of losing their salvation.
How this applies to other categories of sin is a difficult question. Some sins cannot simply be fallen into. You cannot accidentally smoke a cigarette. A person who struggles with pride will probably still struggle with this sin to the day they die and their salvation would, arguably, never be in danger. A person who struggles with heroin addiction seems, on the face of it, to be a different thing. To take heroin requires a willful act of volition which is blatantly and willfully sinful. To give in to our anger and say something unloving, which is no less sinful, seems to be a different category in terms of willfulness. Hebrews 10:26-31 makes a distinction between willful sin and sin which is not deliberate. Robbing stores is deliberate, but having a materialistic attitude may not be. It is really hard to give absolutes here, but if there is an absolute, then practicing homosexuality, if defined as living with and willfully immersing oneself in homosexual behavior falls into the category of willful sin.
I hope this helps.