The cause of gender dysphoria may be in doubt, but as Christians we understand that the Bible defines transgender behavior as sinful behavior regardless of its cause. A person’s biology and mental health cannot be our basis for determining the morality of any behavior. Scientists have discovered possible biological predispositions to such things as adultery, rape, pedophilia, violence, and many other sinful behaviors. Just because something is natural does not make it acceptable behavior. Instead, our morality is determined by our Creator.
Those behaviors and actions which are immoral or sinful are so because they fail to align themselves with the character and behavior of God. Our standard for all behavior is determined by our Creator. In Leviticus 11:44, God commanded His people, Israel, “For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.” Also, in verse 45 He said, “For I am the LORD who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” Still again, in Leviticus 19:2, God commanded His people, “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.” These commands are then repeated to God’s people, the Church, in 1 Peter 1:14–16, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’”
God originally created mankind as holy creatures. Adam and Eve were without sin until they chose to rebel against God and place their will above God’s will. At that point, their nature was broken. No longer did their nature tend towards God. Now it was bent away from God, and this sinful nature was passed along to their offspring. This is the teaching of Romans 5:12, which says, “[S]in came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men.” Nevertheless, despite the fact that mankind was now born with a pre-disposition to sin, God continued to demand holiness. Never does God condone sinful behavior on the basis of biology. Instead, He calls mankind to overcome their temptations and to align their behavior with God’s will. God’s standard has never changed. When mankind possessed a sinless nature, God’s standard was holiness, and when mankind rebelled and received a sinful nature, God’s standard remained holiness.
With such a lofty standard, no person can succeed on his own. James 2:10 teaches, “[W]hoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” There is no room for error. A single sin permanently prevents a person from being holy through his own deeds, and Romans 3:23 teaches that every person has sinned, “[F]or all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Moreover, failure to be holy results in death. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death.” Not only will we die physically, but we will die spiritually. Revelation 20:12–15 describes this death as a second death in which a person is eternally separated from having a right relationship with God and from fulfilling their purpose for existing:
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Fortunately, Romans 6:23 doesn’t conclude with the statement, “For the wages of sin is death.” If it did, we could have no hope but only despair because every one of us has sinned. But there is hope. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (emphasis added) This free gift is forgiveness from our sins, and it is made possible through the ministry of Jesus Christ who, having lived a sinless life, paid the penalty of our sin with His own life. John 3:16–18 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
Jesus is God’s means of fixing our broken relationship with Him and forgiving our sin. Because Jesus lived a sinless life, He did not have to die. Yet, His love for man was so great that He chose to die a horrific death on a cross for any who would accept His sacrifice. However, being God, death could not hold Him, and He rose from the dead three days later. As such, He stands before God as an advocate for any who are willing to repent—which is a turning away from sinful behavior—and accept God’s charge to live holy lives. Of course, until God redeems His creation and removes the curse of sin, we will struggle with our sinful natures, but God promises to give us the strength to overcome any and every temptation, and He promises to continue to forgive our failures if we seek His forgiveness.
Understanding this, Romans 10:9–13 teaches us how to accept this free gift of God, “[I]f you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” Anyone who believes that Jesus is God, that He died as a substitute for our sins, and that He rose again from the dead can ask God for forgiveness and commit to living a life which aligns itself with God’s holy character and behavior. And anyone who does this will receive God’s forgiveness and salvation from sin. As Romans 3:23–25 says, “[F]or all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”
Having received the free gift of God, the Christian is empowered by the Holy Spirit to overcome all temptations—regardless of whether or not he may have a genetic pre-disposition toward it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” This is God’s promise to every Christian. Whether it be gender confusion, homosexual inclinations, heterosexual temptations, anger, pride, gossip, bitterness, worry, or any other temptation, we are promised enough strength to overcome it if we so choose, and if we will stand strong. As James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
From the very beginning, mankind has sought to absolve itself of responsibility for its actions, but the brutal truth is that we alone are responsible for our behavior. Regardless whether gender dysphoria is something that a person is born with, gender dysphoric behavior is sin. Every person is responsible to submit their passions and natural inclinations to the will of God. Therefore, we would do well to follow the Apostle Paul’s exhortation in 1 Timothy. 6:11–15:
But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time.
Related Paper: “Is Transgenderism a Mental Disorder?“
This article is excerpted from the the book Transitioning: A Biblical Understanding of Transgenderism.
1. Brown, Michael. A Queer Thing Happened to America, 211–214. Concord: EqualTime Books, 2011.
2. Rosenfeld, Steven. “Are Some Men Born Pedophiles? New Science Says Yes, But Sexologists Say Not So Fast.” Alternet, February 21, 2013. Accessed June 2, 2016. http://www.alternet.org/are-some-men-born-pedophiles-new-science-says-yes-sexologists-say-not-so-fast.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.