I believe that this is an explosive issue. Next to abortion, this may be the most controversial issue of our day. As I write this, I am trying to be very careful and considerate. Therefore, I will attempt to speak the truth in love. If you are a homosexual, I have tremendous compassion for you. Why? Because you are just like me. We are born into a broken and corrupt world, and we are ourselves are broken and corrupted. This is due to sin entering into the world way back in the Garden of Eden. For my skeptical friends, please don't dismiss that biblical account as myth, out of hand. Let me explain how "the fall" in Genesis chapter three explains much of what we are trying to understand. When Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying God, everything changed. Everyone born of man from that point forward would inherit a sin nature that corrupted what God made very good. Adam was made straight and upright, everyone after him is born bent. How that manifests itself may be different from one person to another, but it's corruption nonetheless. So you and I have the same desire for that which is forbidden. You desire the same sex, which is forbidden by God, and I have a desire for more than one member of the opposite sex, which is also forbidden by God. So in a sense we are both in a similar situation. I recognize that there is a glaring difference. I have an outlet, where as you, a homosexual, do not. Personally, this is very difficult for me. That is why I say that I have tremendous compassion for the homosexual community. Your burden is simply greater than mine. Before I can offer you hope, let's stare this issue right in the face.
So what are the Bible verses that speak to this issue?
- "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination." Leviticus 18:22
- "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltness is upon them." Leviticus 20:13
- "For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper." Romans 1:26-28
- "Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God." 1 Corinthians 6:9,10
These are the verses that get cited, sometimes in a very combative way. I don't know any other way to interpret these except for the obvious way. They seem to be very clear. I do know that there are people who will attempt to dodge the clear and obvious message from God concerning sexual immorality. This can be done in a number of different ways. Let's take a look at some of the common objectives.
Homosexuals are born that way. Therefore it is natural and good.
What about the person who doesn't have sexual attraction to the same sex but rather has an attraction to younger individuals? Can't the pedophile say the same thing? He's just born with a desire for young boys, therefore it must be ok? Are you saying that only homosexual attraction is genetic and morally good where pedophilia is not? If so, why the double standard? And, to step further into the darkness, what do we do with those who are born with the desire to rape? Shouldn't that be morally acceptable as well, since they may claim that they were simply born with that desire? If not, why not? You may be thinking that equating homosexuality with pedophilia and rape is preposterous, but please try to just look at the consistency, or lack thereof, of the argumentation. To the extent that biological or even social factors may contribute to a person's bent toward homosexual behavior, this does not excuse it. Some people have a strong bent toward lying, stealing, or committing adultery, that doesn't make it ok. When it comes to the actions that violate civil law, such as theft, the kleptomaniac who says he was born that way must still choose to engage or not engage in that behavior, and the law rightly holds him accountable.
God finds acceptable two individuals who are inside a committed and loving homosexual relationship.
This is simply unbiblical. Where in the Bible do we find such examples? Rather, we find only verses that speak of a man leaving his father and mother and cleaving to a woman. Same sex relationships are never mentioned in the same way. Homosexuality is never defined in the Bible as an acceptable behavior if it were practiced by individuals who had a loving relationship with each other. The hard truth is that homosexuality, whenever it is mentioned, is always condemned.
You pick and choose which Old Testament laws to follow, why don't you follow all the laws in Leviticus?
The Old Testament laws are categorized in three groups: the civil, the ceremonial, and the moral. The civil laws must be understood in the context of a theocracy. The Jewish people were often headed by a king, but it was a theocratic system, where they were ultimately governed by God. Those laws that fall under this category are not applicable today because we are not those people at that time. The ceremonial laws dealt with the priesthood who served as representatives of the future and ultimate High Priest, Jesus Christ, who offered Himself as the all-fulfilling sacrifice for His people. Since Jesus fulfilled those ceremonial/priestly laws, they are no longer necessary to be followed and are not applicable now. The moral laws, on the other hand, are not abolished because the moral laws are based upon the character of God. Since God's holy character does not change, the moral laws do not change either. Therefore, the moral laws are still in effect. In the New Testament we do not see a re-establishment of the civil or priestly laws, but we do see a re-establishment of the moral law. This is why we see the New Testament condemn homosexuality as sin, but it doesn't carry the sentence of the death penalty because that was a civil law that was enforced under theocratic rule.
Is there any hope?
There is hope. God forgives and cleanses a person who repents. Turn away from all sin, by turning to Jesus. This includes the sin of homosexual behavior. As well as forgiveness, God's grace brings with it the power to live a life that is pleasing to God. Many people have been rescued from the bondage of homosexual sin (and other sin) by the power of the Holy Spirit, that will not only cleanse, but also give you the desire and power to overcome all kinds of sin in your life. It won't be easy, but the only hope is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ.