The main reason for writing this is because someone whom I know wanted a clear Biblical representation on the subject. This is not an attempt to single out homosexuality as being worse than any other sin but merely to point out why it is a sin against God. It is not my intent to provide any comprehensive solution to becoming free from the sin of homosexuality but to Biblically define why it is a sin. This is where one must begin in order to be truly free. We must first agree with God's assessment. (The title of this article includes a play on words. The word "gay" is used to mean cheerful or happy as it was originally. Hopefully, by the time you read this, you will clearly understand that homosexuals have no reason to be "gay" just as adulterers, liars, thieves, drunks, witches, and others.)
I remember talking to a young lady once who told me she was living with her boyfriend and proceeded to justify it because of her parent's divorce. She obviously had become disillusioned with the idea of marriage. She ended her defense with, "Some people think its wrong and some don't."
In order to counter the flood of moral relativism unleashed in this nation, we must be able to solidly defend what we believe, based on the eternal Word of God. All moral laws and boundaries have existed in God from eternity. They existed before the creation of humanity and have not changed. Because of this, the fluctuating tides of public opinion, personal whims and sentiments, and twisted Biblical interpretations have all failed to erode the universal moral law of God. God transcends all of His creation and any of its influence. Moral erosion has taken place only within the hearts and minds of those people who subject themselves to the encroaching darkness.
The Old Testament states:
Leviticus 18:22 - "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination."
Leviticus 20:13 - "If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them."
God's commandment here is clear and it remains unscathed to this day.
So, am I saying we should kill all homosexuals based on this commandment? What did Jesus declare? "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved" (John 3:17).
"The Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them" (Luke 9:56).
Jesus knew that the world and everyone in it are already condemned; all people have been declared guilty of violating God's moral law (Romans 3:19-26).
Behavior such as homosexuality (along with many others) are deserving of death according to Romans 1:32, but such infliction of punishment and how and when it is done is God's responsibility and not ours. Within God, there exists both Judge and Redeemer. In the earth, the primary role of civil government is punitive and that of the Church is redemptive. Both are to represent God as he has prescribed and are subject to His judgment.
Although Jesus did not "condemn" or judge the world, He spoke the truth in love, as a father reaching out to his rebellious children. By doing so, He proved the guilt of the world. There is a difference between condemning or wrongly judging and proving guilt (also known as conviction of sin). Too often, when people accuse others of "judging" them its only a feeble attempt to sidestep their guilt before God. As Jesus stated: "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (20) For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. (21) But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God" (John 3:19-21). God's light first exposes sin to prove our guilt and then bestows the hope of the Gospel to set us free.
We, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, must make sure, while condemning homosexuality as an abomination before God, that we clearly portray Christ's great love toward all. Apart from the grace of God, we are all on the same sinking shipsinking into the abyss, never to rise again. By portraying Christ's love, the claims that we are promoting hate crimes against homosexuals will have no legitimacy. Nonetheless, there will always be those who will attempt to manipulate civil law for their own selfish gain, seeking to gain public support for their shameful deeds, but their condemnation from God will be just.
Someone might respond with a New Testament quote from the Apostle Paul: "We are no longer under the law but under grace. Therefore, those Old Testament laws are not applicable in the New Covenant." While the quote from Paul's writings is, without a doubt, true, it does not imply that we are no longer liable to meet the righteous requirements or demands of the moral law.
Romans 8:3 states: "For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, (4) that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit."
The righteous requirements of the law still demand obedience from all people but the only way to meet its demands is to surrender to the Holy Spirit of God who changes our hearts and leads us away from temptation. He enforces Christ's death and resurrection within the believer. Since we could not meet the requirements of the moral law, God did it through Christ in our behalf.
God's moral law can only demand righteousness and pass judgment on us (who cannot live up to the standard), while the Spirit of God gives us divine life, including the ability to meet the standard acceptably before God. As the result, the punishment (condemnation) required by the law is set aside (Ro 8:1). The ability to "meet the standard" can be summed up in two words: trust and obey (having faith in God and proving it by our works of love).
In the Old Testament, there existed the ceremonial and the moral law. The ceremonial aspect, which all foreshadowed Christ, became obsolete when He, the Word of God, became flesh, suffered and died, resurrected from the dead, and ascended to the Father in Heaven. Although true believers in Christ are "under" grace and not the law, they are still under God's authority. The moral law (i.e. the Ten Commandments) defines God's righteousness (the opposite of sin). He has not changed His mind concerning what sin is. The grace of God freely gives to us righteousness (what the law requires) when faith in Christ's finished work is present within the heart. That same grace also transforms us by engraving the moral law into our hearts.
The three promises comprising the New Covenant confirm this: "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (11) None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. (12) For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more" (Hebrews 8: 10-12).
"But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, (22) even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; (23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (24) being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:21-24). Righteousness through faith in Christ is separate from (is not accomplished through) the moral law but does fulfill its demands. While the moral law of God declares everyone guilty and deserving of just punishment, the grace of God offers pardon to all who surrender their lives to Christ as the only way of redemption (ransom) from sin. This wipes the slate clean of the judgments passed by the law against us because of sin (Colossians 2:11-15).
There is yet more proof.
1 Corinthians 5:1-2 reveals: "It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentilesthat a man has his father's wife! (2) And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you." How did Paul come to the decision that it is sexually immoral for a man to have his father's wife? (The obvious reference here is to a step-mother without regard to whether or not his father was living.)
Before he came to Christ, Paul was at the top of the pecking order of the Pharisaical religious sect. He knew the law in its entirety. In these verses, he was referring to the laws governing sexual immorality as defined in the book of Leviticus. Listen to God's commandment written by the hand of Moses: "The man who lies with his father's wife has uncovered his father's nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them" (20:11).
[There are those who are this day twisting the Scriptures to their own destruction, portraying the grace of God as a license to sin but their condemnation will be just.]
Listen dear ones: We are no longer under the law as a tutor (teacher) that brings us to Christ. God's grace now instructs us in His ways (Titus 2:9), but God's righteous requirements have not changed. Those demands are still in force. God's grace exalts us from a criminal and slave status to that of sons and daughters. We are no longer under the moral law's condemning influence but are now under God's fathering influence. Grace is that fathering influencethe power, moral courage, comfort, wisdom, healing, and deliverance that enables us to live pure, holy, and moral lives that the moral laws of God require.
We can only live by the power of Christ's endless life and not by a mere knowledge of good and evil. To the carnal or natural mind of people, the moral laws of God are nothing more than the knowledge of good and evil, inciting rebellion within them. To the Christlike spiritual mind they are a lamp unto their feet and a light unto their pathmore desirable than the finest of gold.
Listen to the Apostle John: "And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. (23) And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. (24) Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us" (1 John 3:22-24).
The Apostle Paul sums it up: "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'" (Galatians 5:14).
Faith in God and love for others completely fulfill the moral law. Therefore, God is pleased because His retributive justice has been satisfied. His desire for us not to perish has turned into a song of joy solely because of what Jesus has done for us. This is the only way that God could remain just and also justify sinners or law breakers (Romans 3:25-26). God now offers us righteousness as a gift that cost Jesus His life. It is free but not cheap.
Overcoming Doctrinal Stumbling Blocks
How often have you heard someone quote the following verses in light of our "not being under the law" anymore?
"All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any" (1 Corinthians 6:12).
"All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify" (1 Corinthians 10:23).
Note that these verses refer to "all" things as being lawful.
The Apostle Paul also stated in Romans 14:20:
"All things indeed are pure"
[The use of "all" in Scripture does not always indicate every single person, place, or thing referenced. Quite often, it means "most" or "some of all kinds." Example: "Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins" (Mark 1:5). Did every single person from the land of Judea and Jerusalem come out to John to be baptized? The answer is obvious.]
So, it would seem that we have a contradiction in Scripture. If all things, including every act of sin, are pure and lawful then sin no longer exists for the believer. Is this true? Absolutely not! These verses, that seem to contradict other Scripture, must be interpreted in their context. In all three verses, Paul is referencing all food as being pure and lawful. Read them in their context! Taking one verse out of its context could cause us to become hindrances to people coming to Christ and being set free.
To further prove my point with a little humor, Matthew 27:5 informs us that Judas went and hanged himself. Luke 10:37 states: "Go and do likewise." So, the Bible says that we should all go out and hang ourselves as Judas did. Wow! What a revelation. The whole point is: why should we ever attempt to understand any Scripture out of context? There is such a thing as spiritual common sense (rightly dividing or discerning the Word of God), which some Christians, to their shame, have forsaken and have gone after doctrines that may make sense to the natural mind but are antagonistic to the Spirit of truth, sound doctrine, and moral law. Such teachings only puff up those who think them up and appeal to the naïve, carnal minds of people.
There are other potential possibilities here but one thing is sure: Whatever the case, Paul was not teaching anything contradictory to the moral law of God, the righteousness it requires, and its universal and binding application on all creation.
We must keep our power of reason (opinions; conclusive thought; exercise of thought and meditation) under Christ's yoke of meekness.
"I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes" (Matthew 11:25, 28-30).
"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. (13) These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (14) But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:12-14). As a babe is totally dependent on its mother so is the spiritual mind dependent on God. Any other state of mind is hostile toward God and His Word and is left to its own dark devices of reason.
If Only Romans Chapter One was not in the Bible
Romans 1:18-22 paints a clear picture of God's stance toward homosexuality.
1) Verse 18 states that the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against those who suppress (refuse and resist) the truth in unrighteousness. The implication here is that if a person can only become righteous before God by receiving His truth. ("Wrath" is best defined as punishment inflicted by a court of law, in this case by God Himself.)
2) Verses 19-22 details the moral depravity of idolatry and how God's "wrath" is revealed against those who refuse and resist the truth and embrace idolatry. Notice it does not state that God's wrath is revealed against their sin but against them. Wrath is, therefore, reserved for God's execution only, as He asserts, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay" (Ro 12:19).
3) Verses 24, 26, & 28 use expressions such as "God gave them up (or over)." This indicates how God as the Supreme Judge is inflicting punishment (wrath) on them in accordance with verse 18.
4) Such acts in which men and women burn in their lusts for their same gender are referred to as:
i. Unclean and dishonorable to the body (v. 24)
ii. Vile passions and against nature (v. 26)
iii. Shameful behavior that will not go unpunished (v. 27)
iv. Improper behavior that is the fruit of a debased mind (v. 28)
v. Deserving of death (v. 32)
5) All this evidence categorizes homosexuality as a direct result of God implementing punishment (wrath) on idolatrous humanity.
6) The "Gay" lifestyle is therefore completely unacceptable to God and must be unacceptable to His Church. The Good News is that Jesus came to save those who are lost but cannot if they are hiding behind a refuge of lies promoted by compromising religious leaders in the Church in the name of "compassion" and "tolerance." God hates mixture. We must fear Him more than men.
7) The Old and New Covenants are in irrefutable agreement in reference to what is a violation of moral law and its just punishment or remedy.
In conclusion, if you are a child of God and are in a battle to be completely free from homosexuality, then there is no condemnation to you. Walk in the grace of God given directly to you and indirectly through faithful believers.
To those who profess to be Christians and at the same time profess to be homosexuals and have found community among similar people then consider this. If you are without chastisement (correction, rebuke, discipline), of which all of God's children are partakers, you are illegitimate and not sons (Hebrews 12:8). If God is your Father, you could not continue in any such lifestyle. His fathering grace would not allow it. Possibly, the reason for your state is because you have failed to endure chastening as a son and have been turned over to your sin.
Lastly, to those of you who are seeking to justify your homosexual lifestyle, then that in itself is proof that you are already under the wrath of God. You have refused the truth by embracing a refuge of lies about yourself and God. This would include those who claim to be atheists, agnostics, or deists.
Do you think that your disbelief exempts you from God's moral law? You are resisting (suppressing) the truth (of God's moral law), keeping it from working in your life and thus bringing you to repentance. Why would you seek to justify a lifestyle that is at the bottom rung of the moral degradation of a society? Such a lifestyle is only proof that you have exchanged the truth of God for a lie. God, in His sequential, temporal judgment, has turned you over to sexual perversion because you have resisted worshiping Him as Creator and His loving attempts to draw you to Himself. You have worshiped vanitypreoccupied with your own desires, emotional pain, and debased self-fulfillment. Read Romans 1:16-32 and agree with the condemnation of your sin, clearly portrayed, and then turn to Christ's blood as the only source of freedom. You will not be disappointed. You will become the "gayest" that you have ever been in your life.
Gary H. Patterson is happily married and a father to a wonderful daughter. He is devout Christian and a graduate of Christ for the Nations Bible College in Dallas, Texas. They reside in the mountains of North Georgia and he serves as an ordained minister and elder in a local church.