Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What God Says about Homosexuality

Why Talk About Homosexuality?

The subject of homosexuality is one of great controversy in our day. Homosexuals around the globe are seeking to engage in public discourse to make their case in obtaining special rights. Heterosexuals seem rather desirous to not talk about it and often seem to hope that the talk about homosexuality will go away.

However, the politics behind the modern homosexual movement will not allow the heterosexual to be neutral on the subject. New hate crime laws are being created in various countries to protect homosexuals from any form of criticism and expressions of hate whether spoken or unspoken.

The controversy of homosexuality has now spilled over into the church where the discussions get even more intense. Certain denominations have embraced homosexuality as a legitimate form of sexual expression, and others have responded with words of great condemnation. There are now “ordained” homosexual clergy and even denominations that pride themselves in their homosexuality.

So with all of these things taking place it is appropriate for us to state our position on the subject of homosexuality. Our desire is to abide by the Word of God, the Bible. Our aim in this booklet is to see what God says about homosexuality in the Scriptures and thereby act in accordance to it.

What Does the Bible Say?

What God says is what matters most when discussing any subject. Since the Bible is God’s written revelation to man through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we receive what the Bible says as being what God says—the two are indistinguishable.

It is important to look at homosexuality in both the Old and New Testaments. Some today act as though the Old Testament is of primary importance and others act as though the New Testament is of primary importance. We believe both are of primary importance and together give us a clear picture of God’s view of homosexuality throughout biblical history.

Homosexuality in the Old Testament

The proper place to begin studying this subject is in the first book of the Bible. It becomes clear very quickly how the Lord views homosexuality in the first pages of the Bible. And I must say that it goes against what the homosexual movement preaches today.

The Lord’s design for man and woman is clearly described in Genesis 1:27-28. Here the Creator shares His plan for His creatures—one male and one female who are to procreate and exercise dominion over His creation. Then in Genesis 2:24, in speaking of marriage, He says they are to become one flesh, one body. The design of their bodies was created in such a way for them to come together and become one flesh in the context of marriage to procreate.

Genesis 19:4-8 gives the first picture of human beings acting against the design of God in the sexual use of their bodies. Already in Genesis 18:20 the Lord said that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah is exceedingly great. In chapter 19 we have a picture of how great their sin was as the men of Sodom came out to Lot’s house seeking to have homosexual relations with his visitors. When all this was happening Lot calls their behavior wicked (19:7). The men in their great wickedness would not leave, and then Lot acted wickedly by offering them his daughters. It was a terrible situation, but God protected his daughters.

Leviticus 18 speaks much of the laws regarding morality. In this chapter Moses speaks against nakedness, incest, adultery, homosexuality (18:22), bestiality, and idolatry. All are described as abominations (18:22, 29). Those caught doing such things were to be removed from among their people (18:26, 29). God strictly forbade His people from participating in any of these abominations (18:30), and punished His people for doing such wickedness (18:25).

Leviticus 20:13 describes the act of homosexuality as a detestable act. In this verse the Lord says such people were to be put to death, and that they alone were to bear the guilt of their iniquity.

Closely associated with homosexuality is Deuteronomy 22:5, where the Lord forbade men and women to wear each other’s clothing. The Lord says that those who do such things are an abomination. The Lord in His Word leaves no room for transvestism as He is the one who has established gender boundaries. His creatures were to respect and abide by that which He established (Genesis 1:27). Homosexuals who adorn themselves in the manner of the opposite sex do an abominable deed in the eyes of God.

Judges 19 gives another parallel story to that of Lot in Genesis 19. In this instance the men of the city wanted to commit homosexual acts with the visitor. Again the owner of the house describes the behavior and desires of the men of the city as wicked (19:23).

The Old Testament always describes homosexuality as something debase, perverted, and abominable. There is no celebration of homosexuality in the Bible as we often see today. What is celebrated today brought death, separation, and destruction in the Old Testament. As Charles Spurgeon once said about homosexuality,

“This once brought hell out of heaven upon Sodom; God sent down fire and brimstone because of the lusts of the flesh that made Sodom to stink in His nostrils; the harlot and the adulterer, and the fornicator, shall know that they sin not without provoking God very terribly.”

God hates all immorality and cannot tolerate such behavior. It goes against His very design for mankind.

Homosexuality in the New Testament

The New Testament is not silent about the matter of homosexuality. The sin is no less wicked in the New Testament than we have seen it in the Old Testament. Paul mentioned the sin of homosexuality in three of his letters.

Romans 1:24-32 speaks very specifically about homosexuality. Paul mentions here how God gives people over to their lusts and impurity, which serves as a form of judgment. God takes away His restraining grace and allows the sinner to experience the results and consequences of his sin. The sinner is then exposed to all the horrors that the sin can reap. In this case physical harm, disease, and death can be a consequence.

When mentioning the sin of homosexuality Paul calls it several things: degrading passions, exchanging the natural function for that which is unnatural, indecent/shameful acts, and error (1:27). There is nothing positive here about such a lifestyle. There is no celebration of the union between a woman and a woman, or between a man and a man. Such behavior is shameful, and should cause one to want to hide instead of parading in the streets.

1 Corinthians 6:9 is another key verse in the New Testament that speaks of the sin of homosexuality. In this verse the Lord says that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. Here He lists the unrighteous people describing them as fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, homosexuals, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers (6:9-10). These are all heinous sins in the eyes of God, and people who live such lifestyles will not enter the kingdom of heaven. However, the Lord ends this passage by giving hope to such people!

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:11, “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” Here the homosexual has hope! He/she can be freed from his/her wicked lifestyle and be washed clean. When the sinner turns from a life of sin in faith to Christ, the sinner is cleansed, justified, and sanctified in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the only way for anyone to enter the kingdom of heaven.

The last passage in the New Testament mentioning homosexuality is 1 Timothy 1:9-10. Paul in this text describes the purpose of the Law. He points out that the law is not made for the righteous, but for those who are “lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching.”

Here we see homosexuals grouped with the worst kind of sinners. Homosexuality is a sin. It is abominable in the sight of God, and it is immoral. God hates immorality and mentions the importance of abstaining from such a lifestyle in other places in the New Testament.

Galatians 5:19-21 lists several sins which start with immorality, impurity, sensuality, and idolatry. Homosexuality falls into these categories. God hates all sexual sin whether it is heterosexual or homosexual. Again in Ephesians and Colossians the Lord demonstrates his hatred of immorality.

The Lord says in Ephesians 5:3-5 that immorality or any impurity or greed is not to even be named among God’s people. Again the Lord emphasizes here that no such person will enter the kingdom of heaven. In Colossians 3:5 the Lord calls upon believers to put to death sins such as immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which he says are all idolatry. No sexually immoral person is given permission in Scripture to live how they want. The Bible clearly teaches that the only sex that is acceptable in the site of God is between and man and a woman in the context of marriage.

Jesus said that God’s plan for marriage is for a man and his wife to be one flesh for life (Matthew 19:4-6). Later in the Scriptures the Lord says the marriage bed is to be undefiled (Hebrews 13:4). This is God’s plan. Any other plan is human invention and rebellion against the plan of God.

Scriptural Conclusions

All sexual immorality in the Bible whether it is homosexuality, adultery, incest, bestiality, or fornication are an abomination in the sight of God. God clearly shows in His Word in Jude 7 that Sodom and Gomorrah stand as an example of the judgment that is coming upon the wicked. Their final end is the punishment of eternal fire (Jude 7).

These are God’s Words, the words of the Bible. They may sound harsh for the person involved in a homosexual lifestyle, but they are nonetheless the very words of God. The verses examined in this article demonstrate what God has said about homosexuality. But that doesn’t mean the homosexual is left without hope. Just as there were believers in the Corinthian church who were once homosexuals and were saved out of that lifestyle, so too can homosexuals today be rescued from the judgment that is due them. It is God’s desire that they repent, give up their wicked ways and turn to Jesus Christ for salvation and forgiveness.

What Can We Do to Demonstrate the Love of Christ to Homosexuals?

It is often said, “Love the sinner and hate the sin.” That is what we are to do. It is what God does. We love people regardless of their color, their sin, or their nationality. We are to be kind to all and treat people as Jesus Christ would treat them. He died for them.

Yet Jesus did not allow people to continue on in their sin without calling them to repentance. We are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), and share with them the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. We are to be their friend and to tell them of the love of Christ.

How to Be Set Free from Homosexuality?

All sinners, whether heterosexual or homosexual, stand before God condemned. Yet God in His great love sent His own Son to come to die for such sinners to pay the penalty for their sins.

The only way to have your guilt and your punishment removed is by placing your faith in Jesus Christ to save you from the penalty of your sins that you and I so greatly deserve. When you turn to Christ for salvation God will forgive you of all your sin and give you eternal life. It is the only way you can ever enter into His kingdom.

The Bible says, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; 10 for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation” (Romans 10:9-10). A few verse later the Lord gives a promise in that “whosoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).

This is the first step to freedom—having and knowing Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. The next step is to attend a church that will teach you the Bible and help you to grow in your new relationship with Jesus Christ. Prayer and study of God’s Word are vital for Christian growth.