Has it ever occurred to you that nothing ever occurs to God? This has been a question that has brought incredible peace and security to my own heart through many conflicts and trials throughout my own life. There have been many times that I have wondered why I am the way that I am in my own particular weaknesses and did God actually place these in my life. The only conclusion is that while God is sovereign and makes all things to work out for our good (Romans 8:28), He Himself does not place evil within us and cannot be culpable in our sin. Sin is the result of Adam's rebellion and because of his sin, all of us are born with the sin nature. Therefore, before we can consider the remedy of sin, we must admit that we are born in sin and are already condemned (John 3:18) before the most Holy and Righteous God. As such, we have no standing whatsoever to accuse Him of creating our sinful condition. It is only after our repentance can we say with Paul, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (I Corinthians 5:17) At that point, we can make a new start. It is with this background in mind that I discuss this news story.
As many of you have undoubtedly already heard, Ray Boltz, writer of such songs as “Thank You”, “The Anchor Holds,” and “I Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb,” has announced that he is a homosexual. Before I go any further, I do not believe that homosexuality is any worse of a sin than any other. I have sin in my own life that rank right up there, so I do not want this discussion to come across as self-righteous in any way.
Honestly, my first reaction to Ray's announcement was one of pity, because any type of sexual sin, from simple lust while surfing the internet (a much too easy temptation these days!) all the way to the most brutal sexual assault, is devastating not only to the one committing the sin but to their family and friends as well. My second reaction was one of fear for Ray's soul. The Bible clearly teaches that the only path of reconciliation with God comes only through repentance and faith. In an interview with the Washington Blade, Ray said,
“I'd denied it ever since I was a kid. I became a Christian, I thought that was the way to deal with this and I prayed hard and tried for 30-some years and then at the end, I was just going, ‘I'm still gay. I know I am.' And I just got to the place where I couldn't take it anymore … when I was going through all this darkness, I thought, ‘Just end this.'”
No mention of repentance. This is so typical of the “Come to Jesus, He has a wonderful plan for your life” message that is so prevalent in a great many methods of evangelism. In discussiong his conversion to Christianity, Ray later said,
“‘That evening had a profound impact on my life,' he says. ‘I realized that this was the truth and that Jesus was alive … that's really where I made a commitment to Christ. I decided I could be born again and all of the things I was feeling in the past would fall away and I would have this new life.'”
Again, no repentance. It appears that Ray tried for many years to deal with his feelings by his own strength and merely used his Christianity to mask the problem in his heart. But isn't this all of our problem, whatever our besetting sin is? We have absolutely no ability whatsoever to be able to change ourselves. John MacArthur refers to this as total inability. Ray went on to discuss why he came out:
“‘You get to be 50-some years old and you go, ‘This isn't changing.' I still feel the same way. I am the same way. I just can't do it anymore.”
Ray is absolutely right. We cannot do it. Only by the grace of God and His transforming power through His gift of faith and the killing of our old sin nature and His gift of a new nature can we ever hope of changing. Ray continues,
“I basically lived an ‘ex-gay' life – I read every book, I read all the scriptures they use, I did everything to try and change.”
The problem here is that we cannot do it. It must be a supernatural work of God. If we had the ability to change ourselves, we wouldn't need God.
For me, the most disturbing part of the article came at the end:
“He doesn't want to get into debates about scripture and has no plans to ‘go into First Baptist or an Assembly of God church and run in there and say, “I'm gay and you need to love me anyway.”
For him, the decision to come out is much more personal.
‘This is what it really comes down to,' he says. ‘If this is the way God made me, then this is the way I'm going to live. It's not like God made me this way and he'll send me to hell if I am who he created me to be … I really feel closer to God because I no longer hate myself.'”
This is the crux of the situation. Without the solid foundation of Scripture on which to build one's life and worldview, all that is left is what we FEEL is right. At this point, who is to say whether ANYTHING is right or wrong. Without the objective moral standard of Scripture, we could use any of these arguments to justify any of our behavior. Let's say if a heterosexual adulterer used the same logic that was used in the last quote, that would be an absolutely absurd argument. Why is this any different?
In Romans 1, Paul talks of those “who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” (Romans 1:18b, ESV) Ray does not seem to be interested in the truth, but only seems interested in following his feelings. Honestly, I fear for his soul. Is homosexuality any worse than any other sin? Absolutely not. What I am saying is that when someone allows any type of sexual sin to take root in their heart, it takes hold and grows deep into the heart and can only be rooted out by the power and grace of God. This is why Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 says, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (ESV) If you have never fallen to the temptation of lust, consider yourself blessed and do everything in your power to guard your heart! Christ did not pay the price of redemption so we could go and violate the very law He came to fulfill in us. Please note that I have no other agenda here but only to warn anyone who has fallen to this type of sin that when you are living in total rebellion against God, whether overt or covert, you are in a most dangerous place.
On a personal note, I had the privilege to work with Ray on his 1989 album “The Altar” and found Ray to be a genuinely friendly guy, which I hate to say was all too infrequent during my Nashville years. I still consider it to be one of the greatest events in my musical career and in my life. On that project, Ray wrote one particular song that I think is fitting in many ways. “Let's Begin Again” has one line that I believe sums this up. “Let's begin again, trusting Him and not our feelings.” The Gospel is the good news of Repentance and Faith. Without these, there is no way to begin any new life in Christ. Ray, there are many of us who are sad over your decision and certainly do not agree with you, but please know that we really do love you and are praying earnestly that you will come to repentance and “true” faith in Christ.
For anyone who is not sure of their faith, please take the time and go to http://www.needgod.org. There is nothing more important that your eternal soul and we want you to escape the condemnation that all mankind is under without Christ. Why not do it now!