The New Testament on Homosexuality, I
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C H A P T E R – T W O
What Does the New Testament Say?
Romans 1 is a very familiar and foundational New Testament passage. Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith.’ For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:16-18).
It is imperative that we see ourselves as God sees us. This passage illustrates that truth. Man is guilty of suppressing the truth that God has revealed about Himself. God is revealed even in creation (Romans 1:20). Because man will not acknowledge God’s “invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature,” he is without excuse.
God has given enough revelation of Himself in creation alone to condemn a man. Sufficient evidence exists to prove that man is in continual rebellion against God and His revelation. It is out of this rejection that the sinful character of man is illustrated. In Romans 1:21, Paul said, “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” This is in reference to total darkness, both spiritual and moral. Those who have their foolish heart darkened live in a realm that does not let in the light of the truth of God’s Word. They exchange “the glory of the incorruptible God” (Romans 1:23) and create their own false god.
Those who reject God must accept the judgment of God. He turns them over to their own sinful desires. He does not cause them to sin, but He withdraws Himself from them and allows them to pursue the sin that they love. They get to do what they want. This is a display of God’s wrath because He allows the unbeliever to be consumed and destroyed by his sinful desire.
Paul said, “God gave them over” three times in Romans 1:24, 26, 28. The natural sinful character of man is allowed to play itself out. The result is depravity. Paul said, “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” (Romans 1:26-27). Homosexuality is given as an example of the kind of behavior that is a result of the rejection of God. It is not the only example of sinful behavior that is listed in Romans 1, but it is the example that is given the most attention.
The list of depraved behavior at the end of Romans 1 only serves to illustrate that the ills of society cannot be cured apart from God. The root of the problem is mankind’s rejection of a righteous God and His Word. A clear picture of that is the example of homosexuality in Romans 1:26, 27. Romans 1:26 says they “exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural.” Homosexuals and lesbians are in direct rebellion to the established rules of creation that God outlined in Genesis 1. The “unnatural function” occurs when women “exchanged the natural function” and “in the same way” men “burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts.”
Romans 1 is God’s evaluation of homosexuality and lesbianism. It has nothing to do with homophobia or irrational fear and hatred of homosexuals. It has everything to do with understanding that God is sovereign. Ultimately everyone who rejects God will stand before the judgment throne of Christ to give an account of his deeds. In Romans 1:26, 27, the Creator clearly indicates that homosexuality violates the natural relationship between a man and woman that He established at creation. It is sin.
What about the intense desires homosexuals have for one another? Often gay people say, “I have known I was a homosexual since I was young. Even then, I had a burning desire to be with other men/ women. That’s just who I am.” Well, that is not the way Paul deals with homosexuality in Romans 1. This is not a denial of the fire that is burning within a homosexual. However, God defines that “burning” as the consequence of rejecting Him and living in sin.
Today, many people-even Christians-are saying that those who oppose homosexuality on biblical grounds are not caring enough, and don’t truly understand homosexuals. Romans 1:26, 27 tells us in no uncertain terms that God understands homosexuals completely and identifies their activity as a mark of depravity.
The end result of sinful behavior is made clear in Romans 1:32. “Although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.” Remember the account in Judges 19 when over 25,000 Benjamites died as a result of their approval of the homosexual/ raping activity of the wicked men in that city. The principle is clear: those who give approval of sinful behavior are worthy of judgment along with those who practice such things. The position of the Church should be obvious. Christians cannot in any way approve or support such behavior. This does not mean to stop showing love to people who practice such things, but there is a difference between showing love and showing approval.
First Timothy 1:8-10 addresses this situation as well. Paul said, “But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching.” It is clear that homosexuality is completely contrary to the truth of the Word of God with which Paul had been entrusted (1 Timothy 1:11). It is classified among activity that is considered ungodly and sinful, being placed alongside such sin as murdering one’s parents, immorality, lying, and kidnapping.
It is interesting that all these sins have increasingly become accepted in our society. Many cases of parental murder have been heard in courts across the nation during the past several years. Sentences of the guilty are reduced in some cases because of alleged verbal or physical abuse. Psychologists testify that the murderers had reason or excuse to kill. These examples and those involving adultery and other sins, indicate that the nation as a whole gives hearty approval to those who practice these types of activities.
It should not be shocking that the world considers homosexuality acceptable behavior. Those who have rejected the one, true, Living God dwell in a realm of complete spiritual darkness. When the Church embraces homosexuality as normal, however, it raises serious questions as to the spiritual condition of those who voice acceptance. Second Peter 3:16 says, those who twist the Scripture do so to their doom: “Which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.”
Paul warns us about such behavior as homosexuality. He said, “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 . . . shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10). Those who continually practice these types of activities will not inherit the kingdom of God. Why? Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3:3, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Unless one is born from above, no matter how the Scripture is twisted, he will not inherit the kingdom of God. Paul warned us directly: “Do not be deceived.” Those who twist and distort Scripture to their own liking will come up with all kinds of arguments why they are right, but the Word of God stands true. “Do not be deceived . . . homosexuals . . . shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10).
By: Pastor Gil Rugh http://www.ihcc.org/
Retrieved from: Bible Bulletin Board http://www.biblebb.com/