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Romans 1:27

In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

 

A Christian Response to Homosexual Behavior

Some months ago a neighbor with whom I am acquainted, told me she was going to Las Vegas to attend a granddaughter's wedding. Then she said that the young woman was going to marry another woman. I stated that it was too bad the girl was intending to disobey God and violate His mandate that Eros love is designed to be for procreation, and that marriage is to be between one man and one woman.

My neighbor was upset with me, actually, she was probably not upset with me, but with her Christian understanding that her granddaughter had surrendered herself to perverted lust and had thus chosen to live 'outside' of God's laws for His creations, and instead to live in defiance of her Creator. I'm sure it is an emotional quandary for my neighbor. She has a son who is a Christian minister, after all. She has told me she is a Christian too. It is a common failing of many Christians that we deny the truth that has been told to us in God's Word: the Bible when it doesn't fit our emotional or social needs. But that is because we live in a society of sinners, and Satan's minions can be very persuasive when it suits Satan's needs.

Why is it a sin to have sex with a member of one's own sex? (I won't bother discussing why it is also a sin to have sex outside of marriage. I covered that subject in an earlier post as my subscribers know). What is important in this post is explaining why homosexuality is a sin against God as described in the Bible (and Christians believe that the Bible is the Inspired Word of God).

All people, regardless of their personal story, are deeply and unconditionally loved by God, each created with profound dignity and worth, not one more than another. This is more than mere religious happy talk - it's truth whether one is gay, straight, or otherwise. But, all people are also stricken with a terminal illness: sin. Everyone. No exceptions and to the same degree. Our sin demands our repentance and needs forgiveness, and God's love and grace are where we find both. This is basic Christianity and the great equalizer of all people.

Some claim Jesus never said anything about homosexuality and therefore is neutral on the topic. Not true. Jesus was unequivocal in saying that to understand marriage and the sexual union, we must go back to the beginning and see how God created humanity and to what end. (See Matthew 19 and Mark 10.) Jesus holds up the creation story in Genesis not as a quaint Sunday school lesson, but as authoritative - reminding us that God created each of us male and female, each for the other. And the sexual union that God created and ordains is for husband and wife to come together in physical union, one flesh.

Related Bible Study Readings

Below are a few Bible verses that support the writer's opinions in this post.

Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26-28; I Corinthians 6:9-11; Galatians 6:7.
There are many more verses throughout both the Old and New Testaments giving God's viewpoint on the evils of the practice of homosexuality. Do your own Bible study, of course, but never forget that the Bible is the "inspired Word of God".

God Condemns the Practice of Homosexual Behavior; it is a Sin God considers most abhorrent.

Marriage between one man and one woman is the only form of love that pulls all four definitions together. When you take Agape out of that complete definition of love, eros, according to God's definition, is gone. Romantic love becomes redefined. The Bible gives the sacredness of marriage as Christ is to the Church, the bridegroom and the bride. In that sacredness, the beauty of love between a man and a woman as it is shown in the singular commitment of the marital vow, I do and I will, when you say I do to the one, you say I don't to all of the others, when you say I will to the one you say I won't to all of the others. So any departure from that beauty and sacredness of the full confluences of love is a Biblical notion of what it means to be married. All departures from that are not acceptable in the eyes of God. The theological position is a consummate relationship between a man and a woman in the procreative act and in the sacredness of the act and by paying each other the compliment of taking each other at their word. Theologically this is how Christians see it, but realistically, being human beings, we are also put into a quandary. How are we going to deal with it?

Both Jesus and all of scripture approve of no other sexual union than that between a husband and wife. This is the uncontested historical teaching of Judaism and Christianity, and it is not something that true Christianity is free to adjust with the times. Yes, concubines and multiple wives are found in the Bible, but that doesn't make them "biblical." In fact, they violate the Genesis narrative Christ points us to.

 

"We love you, but your chosen lifestyle is wrong."

It is not just mere "traditionalism" that makes sex-distinct marriage the norm for Christians. It is a common grace God has given to all peoples at all times that is rooted in deeper theological reasons. The first chapter of the Jewish and Christian scriptures tells us that humanity is uniquely created to show forth the image of God in the world - to make visible the invisible. God does this not just in generic, androgynous humanity, but through two very similar but distinct types of humans: male and female. They are human universals, not cultural constructs.

When God said that it "is not good that the man be alone" (Genesis 2:18) he wasn't lamenting that Adam didn't have a buddy or was just lonely. He was saying that the male could not really know himself as male without a human "other" who equally shared his humanity but was meaningfully distinct right down to every bit of her DNA. The same is true for her in Adam. Taoists understand this in that the Yin cannot be Yin without its corresponding and contrasting Yang. In both Jewish and Christian belief, both male and female become fully human in their correspondence and contrast with one another. This does not happen solely in marriage, but most profoundly and mysteriously in marriage.

It is a new and culturally peculiar idea that human sexuality is all about intimacy and pleasure, but not necessarily babies. Babies and reproduction matter. And sure, while not every male/female sexual engagement is toward the end of procreation - intimacy and pleasure matter as well - it has been the overwhelming norm and desire in nearly all marital relationships throughout time. That some couples are infertile either by age or incapability does not diminish or challenge this reality. Infertility is the vast exception for male/female couples. It is the fact of same-sex unions, a human cul-de-sac. Heterosexual union reaches into and creates the next generation. To establish a sexual relationship without any interest in or openness to babies is contrary to God's intention for such relationships.

Every person ever born can track his origin to a mother and a father. There are no exceptions, including those artificially produced. This was the first command God gave to the first two humans: to come together and bring forth the coming generations of new divine image-bearers. Nearly all cultures in all places in the world at all historical times hold as fundamental that every child should be loved and raised by a mother and father. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes a mother and father as a basic right of every child.

To be human is to have a disordered sexuality. You do. I do. Everyone does. We all have some manner of sexual drive that compels us to disobey God's design for sexuality. But, while temptation is universal, it's different from sin. Scripture tells us that Jesus was tempted in all ways as we are, but did not sin (see Hebrews 4:15). Sexual sin is giving in to that desire in either mind or body. Faithful Christian discipleship cannot avoid temptation, but it strives to resist and master it with God's help. Doing so is not sin, but obedience and dependence upon Christ.

Many are indeed same-sex attracted, but live obediently within a Christian sexual ethic. It can be difficult, as it is for heterosexuals who are required to live in celibacy. Christianity requires that we each subjugate our sexual (and many other) desires to our faith commitment - and countless same-sex attracted believers do so willingly and joyfully.

Every Christian has limitations placed on his or her sexuality. For married Christians, it is exclusive to one's spouse. For single, engaged, and divorced Christians, it is abstinence, no exceptions. Is it unfair for so many to be forced into a life that cannot know the wonder and beauty of physical intimacy just because marriage is not an option for them? Is it fair for a Christian to be stuck in a loveless marriage? Christians have long understood that fairness is not really the question. Sex is not a right, but a gift - and the giver knows what is best for us.

One of the marks of a Christian is his or her desire to be obedient to Christ's teaching. Certainly most of us would like to rewrite the scriptures to make life easier. I would change where Christ says that lust is the same as doing the deed. Christianity is a demanding faith. The scriptures define and change us, not the other way around. A biblical sexual ethic does not, indeed cannot, change with the times.

To identify people by their sexuality is to reduce people to their sexuality. Every individual is so much more. A person's inherent and undeniable value is rooted in his membership in humanity, not his particularity, sexual or otherwise. To advocate for extending rights to someone based in particular and occasionally mutable desires, relationships, and behaviors - as important as they might be to the individual - is actually a violation of the principle of universal human rights.

The bottom line: God has given us a great gift - choice - but he has not given us the privilege of changing the expected outcome of our choices.

Homosexuality is a sin that God regards as heinous. But it is up to God to judge each of his human children. For Christians, what is expected is to "love one another as one's self". God is the judge of our sins.

I understand why my neighbor is attending her granddaughter's 'wedding', but I am sad that she could not bring herself to tell her granddaughter, in a kind and loving way of course, that by marrying another woman, she is deliberately setting herself defiantly against her Creator. I know how difficult that can be - to hold one's loved ones accountable for their actions, so my response is to pray fervently for all of the family, and let God be the Judge.

Final Thoughts

How do we know the Bible is true?

The Bible is unlike other religious writings because it is the only book that is written by many authors. The Qu'oran was written by one man. Buddha's words were written by one man. The Bible was written by many men over centuries of time. The early writings often reference the coming of Christ, and the later biblical writings fulfill those early prophesies - and all the stories are verified by historical facts.

Five hundred years before the incarnation of Christ, Daniel writes about future events that later were verified by history. Daniel talks about a brash leader of men who would lead many men and conquer many countries, then die in his twenties, at which time his four generals would split the conquered lands and out of which would eventually rise the Roman Empire. All of those predictions came to pass. Zacharias wrote about the crucifixion of the Son of God, Jesus, three centuries before it happened.

The Bible is made up of many such prophetic, and historically proven, stories.

Because of my lifelong study and historical research of biblical writings, I believe it is the true "inspired Word of God". As a true Believer, a follower of Jesus, I believe that everything in the Bible is written to show us how we are to live as Christians. We must not pick and choose which verse to believe and which to discard because it doesn't suit a situation in which we are living. Remember, Jesus did not come to 'unite' people, but to 'divide - to separate God's followers from the non-followers.

There is ample proof in the Bible to show us what God expects from His Children and what He says is sinful. His words about homosexuality are clear: it is a sin, and one that is particularly abhorred by God. Nevertheless, only God is the final judge. We, as His Children, are expected to love one another as ourselves, but we are not supposed to openly condone blatant sinful behavior. You can love the sinner, while condemning the sin. It is appropriate to tell a sinner, "you are wrong, but I love you", it is not truthful to say "you have not sinned". That in itself is a sin because you are misguiding the sinner by pretending they did not sin.

Where do you go from here? What do you think about the subject? Go to your Bible; read & study in it, listen to the Holy Spirit and remember that only God is God. Sela!

 

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