This article is a follow-up to a previous article that was published a couple of weeks ago, “Same-sex Marriage, the Gospel, and what does either have to do with the other”. If you have not read it, or wish to revisit it before continuing with this article you may do so here. http://wp.me/p4FyFa-1P. If you have not previously read this article, I strongly suggest you do so, as that will provide the foundation upon which this article is built.
I will do my best to not repeat or rehash what has previously been stated and instead address new material, but I do want to emphasize our baseline starting point.
We are all sinners, separated from God as a result of sin in our lives. God, in His foreknowledge, knew that sin in man would destroy our relationship with Him. God created us for a relationship with Him and part of His plan in creation was reconciliation because He loves us despite our sin. What greater love could He have shown than to become one of His creation in the person of Jesus. Jesus was the only human ever born who did not come from the sin stained seed of Adam, as Mary was directly impregnated by God. What other than a great and unconditional love could motivate Jesus to humble Himself, born as baby, enduring the struggles of growing up as a human, enduring the pain, ridicule, torture, injustice and finally death on a cross in order to pay the penalty for our sin and taking the punishment we deserve. Jesus, being God, could have stopped at any time saying, “I have had enough of this”, and gone back to heaven. But He persevered and pressed on because of a deep and enduring love for you and me and every individual He created. Only a sinless human could substitute himself for the sin of another and no one can live a sinless life other than God Himself. There were no other options and Jesus willingly laid down His life for ours out of a great love for humanity. No one forced Jesus to go through the crucifixion and the nails didn’t hold Him there. His love did.
The Bible describes sin as anything that is contrary to God’s nature. This includes, but is not limited to lying, stealing, adultery, complaining about things that are not wrong, and the list goes on and on. I do not look down on anyone as being “more” or “less” sinful because of any particular sin. I too, was born in sin and am in no position to judge anyone. I only look up to Jesus as my Lord and Savior. There is nothing I can do to save myself, nor anyone else themselves. I also could not have endured my trials when I was injured in 1990, nor the struggles I have had since without the hope I have in Jesus. He is in control and when my life here and now comes to an end, I will spend an eternity with Jesus in heaven. I endure because I can view all I go through now as light momentary affliction compared to the glory that awaits me in heaven. The Bible describes our lives as a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. This will seem like absolutely nothing when compared with an eternal dwelling in heaven. We were made for eternity and must view the short time we have here in this lifetime in light of eternity. Where we spend eternity, whether in heaven or hell, will depend on our response to God’s offer of salvation.
The Bible deals with each type of sin in its own light and articles could be written regarding each one. The question at hand here is whether homosexuality is to be listed among the sins for which Jesus died and therefore requires our repentance? Secondarily, is Biblical marriage at all applicable to a same-sex relationship? In this article I am in no way personally condemning or judging anyone, but merely passing on what I have found as the Biblical basis for a discussion about how God views homosexuality, made known to us through revelation in his word. If there is any judgment felt here, it is not coming from me but God speaking to your heart.
The first thing that must happen in any discussion of homosexuality with regard to the Bible is to define what it is exactly that we are referring to when we use the term homosexual. The easiest place to start is to state what we are not talking about. Throughout human history, there have been men who have had very close friendships with other men and likewise women with women. These individuals enjoy spending time with one another and enjoy each other’s company in such a way that they could say they prefer the company of their friend more than any other individual at any given time and may feel love toward them. They may share a room at college as roommates or share an apartment or house to consolidate expenses. They may love each other with a brotherly or sisterly love, but their relationship is not sexual in nature in any way. These individuals may say that they are more comfortable in the company of their own sex over the opposite, but do not entertain sexual fantasies or activity with such company. One example from scripture of such a friendship is between David, before he became king, and King Saul’s son, Jonathan. They enjoyed a very close friendship, but it was in no respect sexual in nature. These types of relationships are condemned no where in scripture nor by God. These types of friendship relationships do not make you gay or lesbian, but merely a close friend. In such a relationship, marriage is not even a consideration as the circumstances do not fit into the purpose and design of what marriage is all about.
So, what is marriage, and what is it all about? Marriage was instituted by God as a means of uniting two complimentary individuals, a man and a woman, in such a way that they are no longer two but one for the purpose of mutual growth, support, and procreation. This is intended to be a permanent union joined by God that nothing short of death should separate. The institute of marriage was created by God immediately after He formed and brought together Adam and Eve. And they were united, laying the foundation for all future marriages, and instructed to multiply and fill the earth. This was also the institution of the family.
God created humans, and all other creatures with the means to reproduce. He wanted the earth to be populated. So of course He made it pleasurable. But it was also designed to be an engagement between two committed, life-long partners. Within the bounds of marriage there would be a real, lasting commitment to the teaching and upbringing of children resulting from sexual activity. Reproduction can only happen between a man and women, and that is the only type of sexual activity that is supported in the Bible. It is only in this context, a man and woman coming together to build a family and grow God’s kingdom, that Biblical instituted marriage applies.
So what exactly do we mean by homosexuality, with regard to the Bible? Homosexuality, as opposed to close same-sex friendships, is the engagement in sexual activity of a man with a man or woman with a women.
In Leviticus, same-sex sexual activity is lumped together with having sexual relations with animals, both being unclean, perversions and abominations. These behaviors are among those practiced within the nations which God condemned, and supplanted by the Israelites.
Lev 18:22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. 23 And you shall not lie with any animal and so make yourself unclean with it, neither shall any woman give herself to an animal to lie with it: it is perversion. 24 “Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, 25 and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants.
In addition, Sodom is described as being wicked and sinful throughout scripture. It is alluded to that this wickedness included same-sex sexual relations. God does not change, nor do His ideals and opinions about activities in the past, present, or future. If he felt that this type of activity was an abomination following the exodus from Egypt, he still feels that way today.
In the New Testament, Paul is even more forthright, clear, and direct and, for the most part, I will let God’s word speak for itself.
Romans 1:26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
1Co 6:9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,
1Ti 1:10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,
James speaks more generally about sin, and as such, this applies to the sin of same-sex sexual activity.
James 1:13 ¶ Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Same-sex sexual activity may be a legitimate desire, but like pornography, drunkenness, drugs, adultery, etc, it is not natural, and when conceived, gives birth to sin. Same sex sexual relationships are never portrayed within scripture in a positive manner. Every positive marital/sexual relationship within scripture is between a man and woman and the contrary is condemned.
The argument is often given by those engaging in same-sex sexual relations that they were born the way they are, and because of that, should be accepted, embraced, and by no means encouraged to change. I would whole-heatedly agree that they were born the way they are. We all were, and we are all encouraged to change. From the first sin of Adam and Eve onward, we were all born with a sin nature and it is just a matter of the life circumstances we live in and around as to what temptations we are presented with throughout our lifetimes. What is clear from scripture is that we are all responsible for how we respond to temptation and because no one has lived a life free of sin, we all deserve God’s judgment. But that was the whole reason Jesus was born, lived a sin free life, died on the cross and was raised again after three days. God loved us while we were sinners and provided the means for us to receive his forgiveness, reconciliation, and salvation through the death of His son. Jesus took the penalty for our sin on himself and died in our place. But while this gift of salvation is free for us to obtain, we still must choose to accept it by placing our faith and trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Each individual must understand that they are dead in sin and believe that there is nothing that can be done to earn salvation apart from what Jesus has already done at the cross.
Regardless, however, what an individual may feel their emotional sexual orientation may be, God made each person at birth with either the sexual reproductive organs of a male or those of a female and they are incapable of functioning according to the opposite sex. God is not a God of confusion and would not have programmed people contrary to their genetic profile. This world, however, is corrupt and full of temptation and it is very easy to be drawn into a sinful lifestyle from such an early age that it truly feels natural.
Another argument that is often raised regarding the Bible and homosexuality deals with the Bible’s treatment of slavery and tries to make a comparison between homosexuality and slavery. This, however, appears to me merely a smokescreen and excuse to try to discredit the Bible and justify ignoring what the Bible says. Inhumane treatment of other human beings is a sin, just as same-sex sexual relations are a sin. While there did exist much slavery during the Biblical time frame, it was not of a form we are now accustomed to from recent past. Slavery at that time was more humane, akin more to a servant master relationship similar to military tenure than our more recent slave trade. The Hebrew scriptures also laid out strict governing guidelines to protect slaves according to moral grounds. The Bible also makes it clear that masters are subject to judgment for sin and, as with all of us, to be held accountable for our words and actions. For further information related to slavery and the Bible, please refer to a very comprehensive and informative article on the topic of slavery and the Bible. http://www.bible-researcher.com/slavery.html
If you still insist on believing that the Bible supports Homosexual marriage, please allow me to refer you to another article with some things to consider. http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2014/06/17/five-questions-for-christians-who-support-gay-marriage/
In conclusion, homosexuality, as defined in the Bible as same-sex sexual activity is a sin, and Biblical marriage is only applicable between a man an woman. As such, same-sex marriages are not condoned by scripture and should not be condoned by followers of Jesus. That being said, I personally do not judge or condemn anyone as I too am sinful and must rely on Christ’s saving grace in my life and for my salvation. What I do is present what the Bible says and warn that one day all of us will be found before one who will judge all mankind and we will all give account for every word and deed, whether good or bad.