Closets are simply places to hang clothes, store sports equipment, stash books, and shove those piles of stuff that have no other place but beg hiding when company is coming.
But closets are also hiding places for secrets, a secret past, a secret lifestyle.
At one time, homosexuality was one such secret, fearfully kept hidden. Now as the closet doors are opening and “coming out” is hailed a virtue in some minds, frank admission is increasingly equated with acceptability, not only before society, but before God. After all, doesn’t God accept everyone, in love? Especially if they are honest? Don’t be too sure.
First, the idea of hiding this lifestyle, whether in a closet or under the cover of darkness is not new. Back in Genesis, the gay community of Sodom and Gomorrah were much bolder at night (yet they could not escape God’s eyes because “darkness and light are both alike” to Him, Psalm 139.)
“Coming out of the closet” is not a new idea either. I’ve been told the Roman army, about the time of Christ, openly encouraged the practice of homosexuality among its ranks.
We usually associate hiding with guilt. Jesus confirms the connection by saying that people love darkness because their deeds are evil. He urges all to come to the Light and be willing to have their life exposed -- but He makes it clear that coming out of hiding is not enough. The problem goes far deeper than mere avoidance of discovery.
The book of Romans, the most complete outline of man’s condition and God’s remedy, says this: “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all . . . who suppress the truth . . . because what may be known of God . . . has been shown to them . . . (but) they did not glorify Him as God . . . their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image like corruptible man (reminds me of a certain movie!)... therefore God gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves . . . the men leaving the natural use . . . and burned in their lust for one another, men with men -- committing what is shameful . . . (so) God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness: sexual immorality, wickedness . . . (and a long list of other sins) . . . who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”
Simply put, any who reject what they know about God and His truth are left to follow their own sinful desires. It isn’t that falling into such sin results in God rejecting those sinners, but their immoral lives are evidence that they have already rejected the truth God gave them. Therefore, Romans says, this lifestyle reveals a hardness of heart against the truth of God and in fact, becoming open about sin can really mean, “I don’t care what anyone thinks . . . I am going to do what I want to do.”
When I clean my closets, opening the door is just the first step. It reveals the mess. But unless I go on to straighten it out, it says a mess. Unfortunately, the gay community says they are turning on lights by “coming out of the closet” but all they are doing is letting everyone know what they have previously kept hidden.
Walking in the Light of Christ means more than that. It is repenting or turning from sin, no matter what form it takes, and walking a new way. It is becoming, by faith and the power of God, a new creature that grows in godliness.
While some protest that God loves them (therefore no one has any right to reject them) they are actually rejecting His love. He does not love with a permissiveness that leaves people in an unholy condition. In fact, the love of God is a bright light that exposes the mess with the holy purpose of making it holy.