Question:

As a young adult, I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. I believe that Jesus paid for my sin on the cross and paid for by eternal salvation. Later I started living a homosexual life. I've tried many many times to stop the homosexual life. Several different times, I have prayed for God to change me. And then I fell back into the sin. About five years ago, I ask God to please give me another chance to change. I thought I could change then and asked God for one last chance. I didn't make it out of the sin then. And now again, I'm trying to get out of the sin. My question is that after years and years of sin, will God now forgive me? After I have repeatedly over the years not found repentance even though I said I would, will God still forgive me now? After asking for that "one more chance" five years ago, and then failing again, will God still forgive me now? I want peace with God, but I feel as if I am out of hope.


Answer:

But the point is that it is all feeling and not facts. You expect God to be like you or other people you know. You give up on people, but God isn't like you or I.

"Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:6-9).

The amazing thing is that not only does God not think like we do, but that He invites us to give up our behaviors and thoughts to take on His behaviors and thoughts!

Jesus taught that people deserve forgiveness as often as they repent of their sins -- that means changing your mind about the sin, as well as changing your behavior. "And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, 'I repent,' you shall forgive him" (Luke 17:4). If we are to treat each other that way, how much more does God treat us? "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9). There really is no reason for you to stay in sin. "But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live. "Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?" says the Lord GOD, "and not that he should turn from his ways and live?"" (Ezekiel 18:21-23).

Among the Corinthians were former homosexuals who left their sins behind. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (I Corinthians 6:9-11). Therefore, it is doable. You aren't the only one who has struggled with this.

There are a number of reasons people fail to leave sin. One is that they never really leave. Oh, they make claims, but they insist on doing things their own way, never really submitting to the will of God. I suspect that is one of your difficulties because you say you accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, but that isn't how the Bible teaches men to be saved from their sins. See What Must I Do to be Saved?

Along with that, many don't really change their mind about their sins. They might understand they ought not do certain things, but they don't really see those things as wrong. The result is a half-hearted struggle against sin. "For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter" (II Corinthians 7:10-11).

Another failing is that people focus on removing sin from their life, but they forget to replace it with things that are better. "When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.' And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation" (Matthew 12:43-45). If you leave a vacuum in your life, eventually it will be filled. Instead, you fill up your life with so much good that there is no room for sin anymore. "Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts" (Romans 13:13-14).

Yet another problem is that we are too quick to give up. Being a Christian doesn't mean you'll never sin again. It isn't that sin is acceptable -- quite the opposite. But the reality of living in this world is that we will slip up. What separates a Christian from the rest of the world is his attitude toward sin. The Christian can't stand remaining in sin. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (U John 1:8-2:1).

Finally, for now, another reason for failure is that too many people think they have to do change on their own. Pride gets in the way of seeing that they need help and asking for help. "Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16). Things are so much easier when you know there are others rooting for you.

The question has never been about your past failures but about your future. You tried your own way under your own terms. Are you ready to yield to God and His way? "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up" (James 4:7-10).