I would like to thank Paul for once again bringing up the issue of sexual immorality and more specifically the issue of homosexuality. One of my great prayers is we would stop throwing all the money we do at this issue, from either side. Sure many of the English translations use the word homosexual, and relate it to not "getting in". Yes as a United Methodist pastor I understand the churches stance on homosexuality as incompatibly with Christian teaching. I also understand the pain and hurt which has been caused by the church around this issue. I understand people feel like they are not welcome to be a part of the body of Christ. So what are we to do. No one can be ignored, especially the scriptures.
First, we must strive for greater understanding of the scriptures. Instead of simply plucking a few of these verses out of context, they must be understood as a part of the whole. In 1 Corinthians 7, the context is how we interact with each other and how we treat that which is holy. It must be seen that homosexuality is listed among a list of sins here, sins that are often seen as more acceptable. The essence is not who gets in and who is not allowed, this issue at hand is are we honoring God in all we are doing? Not honoring God with all our life, any aspect is a big deal.
Second, we must see what Paul writes about next. "Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial." This shows for us the great struggle of Christ. Because Christ has set us free, and the grace of God allows for that freedom to grow we do not live by a rule book of do's and don'ts. However, just because we can do something does not mean we should, and does not mean that would be honoring to God.
Third, we must display the grace shown to us. None of us lives perfectly. It is only through grace that we are made righteous. No human secures that grace, and therefore no human is allowed to say how that grace is metered out. God and God alone is the one who makes those decisions.
Finally, when issues like homosexuality come to the forefront, trouble always ensues. Division is highlighted and the mission of Jesus Christ is lost. Jesus was constantly in ministry with those who the religious establishment discarded. Would it be the people we brush aside that Jesus would be in ministry with?