Recently a “broadly Reformed” coalition of Evangelicals in Australia has promoted the works of individuals from ‘Living Out’, a “gay Christian” organization. One particular article suggested two things which I find to be a bit misleading and possibly dangerous when it comes to the discussion of homosexuality. The first was that, without much clarification, temptation is not at all sin and the other was that, also without much clarification, Jesus may have been tempted in every way we are, including struggling or grappling with homosexuality.
Why do we sin and is temptation itself a sin? The Reformed take is that due to the fall of mankind, we are all cursed by what we call Original Sin (OS for short). It is the notion that since Adam and Eve’s transgression, not a single person has been capable of living a sinless life because of that curse. Even those who have been made spiritually alive in Christ are still susceptible to the desires of the flesh. Temptation is that desire, it can come from both within and without. The source of our internal temptation is the heart, which is by nature (due to OS) a wicked thing. This heart is also responsible for acting upon external temptations, which by themselves are neither good or wicked.
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the God-man, is not affected by OS. The curse is passed on through the seed of man, and since He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin, it did not pass onto Him and therefore His human nature remains unaffected. The fact that He is utterly incapable of sin because He is God should be self-explanatory. The Scriptures instruct us that Jesus was tempted much the same as us. But if He is perpetually sinless, was He truly tempted as we are both internally and externally? The logical answer must be no.
Allow me to illustrate a poor example. A very attractive fit woman wearing a bikini approaches Jesus and myself at the beach. Depending on the intentions of the female, this external temptation is neither good nor wicked, considering she’s dressed appropriately for the beach. I may look upon the women and the desires of my flesh could illicit a response to lust over her form if it’s not suppressed. If I consent to this internal temptation, it is sin. Yet Jesus would not and could not ever have such a response internally and in no way consent to the external temptation of the scantily clad woman.
Jesus in many ways suffered as we do, in varying forms of persecutions from men, temptations of Satan, deserted by friends, neglected by family, poverty, pain, murder, etc. and in that regard He can relate to us. When it comes to our struggle with sin however, though He could be sympathetic to our plight knowing all things, in no way can He relate to our battle with wicked desires of the flesh in our fallen condition. To try to claim otherwise without careful consideration or clarity is to diminish the importance and necessity of the Lamb’s purity and in doing so attempts to minimize the seriousness of our sin. In the case of homosexuality, this is a slippery slope “Big Eva” is dancing around for pushing the acceptance of this cultural norm.