A common argument for the acceptance of homosexuality and same-sex marriage is that, if God is love, He would not condemn the love of others. The main problem with this is what kind of “love” we’re talking about.
First John 4:8 says, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” The “love” referenced here is the Greek agape. This type of love is the conscious act of sacrificing one’s own desires, comfort, and even well-being for the sake of another. It is love that sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins (Romans 5:8). And the love that led God to send Him (John 3:16). The greatest fulfillment of this love is to sacrifice one’s life for another (John 15:13).
The question, then, becomes what constitutes the well-being of another? The world and maybe even our own sensitivities might say that to allow another to live in a homosexual relationship is to see to their well-being. The Bible says otherwise. Romans 1:26 says it is disgraceful and dishonoring. First Corinthians 6:9 says it will keep a person from the kingdom of God. First Corinthians 6:18 says that homosexual behavior is a sin against one’s own body.
If this is true and homosexual behavior is dishonoring, a separation from God’s blessing, and self-harm, then the loving thing to do is to stay away from it. To encourage others to indulge in sin is to encourage them to reject God’s blessings on their lives. It is the opposite of love.
That being said, those with homosexual attractions are in desperate need of love. Even if they agree with the Bible that homosexuality is a sin and resolve not to seek fulfillment of their sexual desires, they must still find love in other relationships—the self-sacrificing love of agape and the friendly companionship of phileo. When our emotional and social needs for love are met, we are less likely to seek fulfillment in unbiblical ways. It’s no different for single heterosexuals than for those with homosexual attraction.
Can someone with same-sex sexual attraction be healed and become heterosexual in thought, desire, and deed? It is possible, but it is not certain. Being saved and forgiven does not rid one of temptation. For the believer, as long as same-sex attractions are present, abstinence is crucial—as it is for anyone not in a heterosexual marriage. Believers should not condone sexual relationships outside of a heterosexual marriage, even as they show agape and phileo love.
It is a lie that all humans need sexual fulfillment (Matthew 19:12). It is a lie that sex equates to love. The God who created us insists that sex is an expression of love between a man and woman who are married to each other. Outside of that context, sex is harmful and very much unloving. If we love others, we will not encourage them to sin, bringing harm to themselves. Instead, we will follow the greatest commandment and provide for them the real love they need from us.