Homosexual activists are fond of quoting the first half of John 8:11: “Neither do I condemn you.” They are not so fond of quoting the second half. In fact, they quite pointedly ignore it as if it weren’t even there. But wishing it away doesn’t make it disappear.
John 7:53-8:11 preserves for us the record of Jesus’ encounter with a woman caught in adultery. She was apprehended in flagrante delicto, in the act, and was dragged by the scribes and Pharisees to the feet of Jesus.
(There is no word, by the way, about the fate of the miscreant male in this sexually illicit liaison.)
The scribes and Pharisees insisted that she be executed and that Jesus be the one to pronounce the sentence. Instead, Jesus stooped and wrote something on the ground, and finally stood up and authorized any sinless man in the crowd to toss the first rock. (Since he was the only one without sin, he alone had the moral authority to stone her to death.)
The scribes and Pharisees, beginning with the most mature among them, began to slink away in silent shame, retracting their self-righteous condemnation through their guilty retreat.
Jesus, the one man who did have the right to put her to death, said, “Neither do I condemn you.” But then he immediately added these powerful words: “Go, and from now on sin no more.”
Homosexual activists intent on justifying their sexually abnormal behavior often cite the first half of this passage in their own defense, as if Jesus were condoning this woman’s behavior. But he was not condoning her behavior, he was forgiving it.
If her behavior was not sinful, there would have been no need for him to forgive it.
In fact, the next words out of his mouth use the very word “sin” to describe what she was guilty of. Christ’s message to her was simple and yet profound: “I forgive you of your sexual sin. Now, in response to my grace and mercy, you must leave your life of sexual sin.”
Now homosexual conduct is sexual sin just as adultery is. In fact, it is a worse form of sexual sin because it deviates even further from God’s design for sexual union than adultery does.
Jesus stands ready to forgive all sexual sin. The one caveat is that his forgiveness must be preceded by genuine repentance. Genuine repentance says that what I did was wrong, and with God’s help, I do not intend to commit that same sin again. Jesus is always prepared to forgive on that basis, no matter how grievous the sin.
But this is the kind of repentance self-justifying homosexuals are not prepared to offer. In fact, quite in contrast to this adulteress, they do not believe they need to repent at all. They do not believe that what they promote and celebrate is in fact sexual sin at all.
They do not want Jesus’ forgiveness for their sexual sin. They want his approval. This is something he cannot and will never offer.
Thus the truth is that unrepentant homosexuals, like all unrepentant sinners, are not even in a position to claim the first half of Jesus’ statement, “Neither do I condemn you.” Forgiveness is reserved exclusively for those who repent of sin. It’s not available to those who defend, justify or celebrate it.
Jesus’ words, therefore, to unrepentant homosexuals are not his words to the woman taken in adultery. They are the same as the very first words he spoke in his public ministry: “The kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).
But he has a different word, a word of compassion and hope, for repentant homosexuals today: “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”