What does the Bible say about homosexuality and gay marriage?

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What does the Bible say about homosexuality and gay marriage?

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 26, 2016 3:24 am

The main Biblical texts that address homosexuality are as follows:

(1) Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable. . . . If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads—God speaking, Leviticus 18:22, 20:13.
Incidentally, death was also the penalty for people caught in adultery.

(2) The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them—Paul, Romans 1:18-32

(3) Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God—Paul, I Corinthians 6:9-10

(4) We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me—Paul, I Timothy 1:8-11.

In addition to these, there is the well-known story of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:20-19:29), and also the lesser known but similar story of Gibeah (Judges 19); Sodom and Gomorrah is probably the more useful story because it best illustrates God’s anger and response to the immorality being exhibited in those two cities. But whenever we are considering Biblical prohibitions against homosexual behavior, it is important that we position those texts against God’s design for sexual behavior. While the prohibitions are righteously correct, they are meaningless without reference to the design and intention of sex that God created, and that comes to us from Genesis 2: The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame—Genesis 2:18-25.

We really get the true meaning of this Genesis passage from no less an authority than Jesus Christ Himself; he makes commentary on this passage in the gospel of Matthew: Some Pharisees came to him (Jesus) to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE,’ and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN WILL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE UNITED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO WILL BECOME ONE FLESH’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate”—Matthew 19:3-6 (quoting from Genesis 1:27, 2:24). Look at the truths Jesus is declaring from the Old Testament story of creation in these verses: (1) by noting that God made Adam and Eve “male and female,” he underscores the fact that heterosexual gender is a divine creation; (2) by noting that as a consequence of their God-created maleness and femaleness that a man will be united to his wife, heterosexual marriage is a divine institution; and (3) by noting God’s joining of male and female in a togetherness that no man should separate, that heterosexual fidelity (faithfulness) is a divine intention. This text, God the Son adding His commentary to the initial creation design of God the Father, also reaffirms the fact that God’s initial design is not to be subject to cultural trends, political attitudes, or any other kind of persuasion. God’s design overrules everything, and the Biblical injunctions He places on contrary behavior is meant not for ancient times, but for ALL times.

The fact is, the Bible recognizes no other “one flesh” experience other than heterosexual marriage—one man to one woman. This also means—and this is just as important to point out—that all other sexual behaviors outside of God’s original design are just as sinful. Therefore, fornication (sex between partners at least one of whom is unmarried), incest (sex between family members) and adultery (sex between partners not their spouses) is just as condemned as homosexuality—because it is just as sinful. All of these are sin because they go against God’s created, intended design for sex. In fact, God is so passionate about His intended design for sex that He uses a defiling of sex—prostitution—as a picture of Israel’s unfaithfulness in her relationship to Him; the entire Old Testament book of Hosea is set in that context. And in the book of Jeremiah, God uses adultery to present the same idea—of Israel’s lack of faithfulness to Him: “Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there. I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it. I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery. Because Israel’s immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood. In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense”—God speaking, Jeremiah 3:6-10. In a more positive sense, God presents the church of His Son Jesus Christ as a faithful bride, who in heaven will be united with her loving groom, her husband—Christ Himself. ALL the analogies which the Bible uses to portray marriage—either positively or negatively—are done in the context of heterosexual relationships; never is any kind of same-sex relationship used.

Of course, the union of male and female in marriage is ultimately a picture of the unity of God Himself—the unity of person and purpose found in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. In fact, it can be argued that one reason God created marriage—and the intimacy of sex—was to mirror Himself to humanity. Mankind started out as one united entity—Adam. When God put Adam to sleep and from a rib created Eve, He ultimately created two beings—Adam and Eve, male and female. But both are made in the image of God. So their coming together in the act of marriage is really a “reuniting,” of two truly becoming one. In man and woman coming together in marital unity is the opportunity for human beings to know completeness as God intended. As author Tim Allan Gardner said, “Sex is holy . . . because it is in sex, in the full unity of male and female, that the image of God is represented.” As psychologist M. Scott Peck observed, “Sex is the closest that many people ever come to spiritual experience. Indeed, it is because it is a spiritual experience of sorts that so many chase after it with a repetitive, desperate kind of abandon. Often, whether they know it or not, they are searching for God.” No wonder Paul used the image of that union of bride and bridegroom to illustrate the union between Christ and the church. It should also come, therefore, as no surprise that, when sex is experienced outside of God’s design, it still leaves such a massive imprint—of body and soul—on a person. Sex is designed to leave a spiritual imprint.

One final thing: One word that gets thrown around a lot these days is the word “tolerance,” usually in the context of how intolerant some Christians are to the desires of the gay community. Guess what? God is intolerant. The Bible is intolerant. God has a standard—His holiness. Anything less simply doesn’t measure up. As David said about God, You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell. The arrogant cannot stand in your presence. You hate all who do wrong. You destroy those who tell lies; bloodthirsty and deceitful men the Lord abhors—David, Psalm 5:4-6. As the prophet Habakkuk said, Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong—Habakkuk 1:13a. But side-by-side with God’s intolerance of sin is His amazing grace. Paul, in writing to the church in Corinth, gave us a list of sins in chapter 6 (which we’ve already read) that would earn God’s eternal condemnation. But listen to how he follows up that list in verses 9-10 with the priceless grace of God through Christ that he shares in verse 11: Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God—Paul, I Corinthians 6:9-11. Homosexuality is not an unpardonable sin; it is absolutely forgiveable, and those caught up in that lifestyle have the opportunity, through the intercession of Jesus Christ and the imposition of His Holy Spirit, to be healed. It may be incredibly difficult to overcome and to find that healing but, as the apostle John reminds us, [T]he one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world—I John 4:4b. The fact that it is couched in the forgiveness terms of “washing” and “sanctification” and “justification” should make clear once and for all that homosexuality, as with all the other sins Paul lists, if left unrepented, will remain unforgiven and subject to the righteous judgment of God. Sin is not a genetic dictate; it is a behavioral choice.

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