Truly, Truly

March 31, 2017

It doesn’t matter if TV or the movies paint them as funny, emotional, gifted, misunderstood, passionate. Homosexuality is a sin. I am grieved that major charities like the Salvation Army and other charities afraid of lawsuits and loss of funding have committed to the idea that homosexuality is not a sin. That is the official stance of the national office. There is hope that the majority officers still believe in the bible. The salvation army has declared over and over that it doesn’t matter what the bible says about poverty or homosexuality, or even insurance for “alternate spouses”.

Any decision based on fear is a wrong decision, I hope the following shows what the bible truly says and the grace and forgiveness God has for all people.

Lev 18:22 You must not have sexual intercourse with a male as one has sexual intercourse with a woman; it is a detestable act.

This straightforward law prohibits all homosexual acts. It makes no distinctions as to whether or not they were consensual. It comes in the midst of a section of laws related to sexual relationships. No consequence is given here in each verse for the individual laws, but rather they are all listed as things that must not be done. All of the items in this chapter’s list are said to “defile” (Lev. 18:24) and are called “abominations” (Lev. 18:27, 30).

Rom 1:20-32 For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse. (21) For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts were darkened. (22) Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools (23) and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles. (24) Therefore God gave them over in the desires of their hearts to impurity, to dishonor their bodies among themselves. (25) They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

(26) For this reason God gave them over to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones, (27) and likewise the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed in their passions for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. (28) And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what should not be done. (29) They are filled with every kind of unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, malice. They are rife with envy, murder, strife, deceit, hostility. They are gossips, (30) slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, contrivers of all sorts of evil, disobedient to parents, (31) senseless, covenant-breakers, heartless, ruthless. (32) Although they fully know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but also approve of those who practice them.

This text discusses homosexuality more extensively than any other New Testament passage. However, homosexuality is not the overarching theme of this section. Paul wants to clearly explain the gospel. To do that though, it is necessary to show that all people are under God’s judgment and condemnation—and thus in need of the gospel. He starts by declaring that because the testimony of God is visible in nature all are without excuse for their rebellion against Him. The just wrath of God is on all ungodliness (Rom. 1). Then he shows that in condemning the sin of others we actually condemn ourselves (Rom. 2). Likewise even the Jewish people with the law are still fully under God’s condemnation for their sin. Furthermore they are incapable of remedying the situation (Rom. 2-3). Thus it does not matter whether one is apart from the law or under it. All people stand condemned without partiality. This paves the way for explaining God’s grace in Jesus—which is the good news of the gospel. There is indeed one way of deliverance from this predicament.

So this section on homosexuality occurs in the portion showing why God’s wrath is upon humanity, and how humanity is inexcusable before Him. Before moving to the negative, Paul starts with the positive good news that he is intent on sharing. The righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel which is received by faith (Rom. 1:17). By contrast the wrath of God is revealed as being upon the ungodliness of mankind (Rom. 1:18). Where is this ungodliness seen? Where is this suppressing of the truth seen? It is seen in the inexcusable idolatry of humanity. All have seen in creation the invisible attributes of God, His eternal power and nature (Rom. 1:19-20). However instead of worshipping the true creator, humanity moved to idolatry and worshipping creation (Rom. 1:23-25). The existence of nature demands that there be a designer. This truth is suppressed and turned to the worship of self or some other created thing. One of God’s judgments for this behavior is the turning over of humanity to their own sinful desires (Rom. 1:24). This giving over to sinfulness and its consequences specifically includes homosexuality (Rom. 1:26-28). It also includes a whole list of other sins more briefly mentioned (Rom. 1:29-32).

God has designed men and women with functional capabilities. According to this text these capabilities are rebelled against through homosexual acts.

From this text then, we see that homosexuality is an example of God having delivered people over to the consequences of having rebelled against Him. It is not the only sin listed, but is indeed the highlighted one. It seems that this example is given because homosexuality diametrically opposes the clear design of God. God made people in His image (Gen. 1:27) with a built in complementary design in the marriage of a male to a female (Gen. 2:22-25). To commit actions clearly opposite God’s plan at the nature level distinctly declare the reality of rebellion. It declares that God’s very design and plan were wrong and inadequate. As it is listed here, homosexuality and the rest of the sins listed, are a part of God’s immediate (though not final) judgment. Sin is a judgment upon itself—in that it reaps what it sows. Additionally, the willful exchange of the truth of God for a lie can result in God delivering people over to a depraved mind. One’s ability to reason or view things in an accurate moral way can be seriously impaired (Rom. 1:28).

However, lest any become self-righteous, Paul immediately moves on to showing that all are condemned under sin. Indeed, condemning the sin of others condemns oneself (Rom. 2:1-5). The only reason Paul can share any of this in a worthwhile way is because he is not relying on his own righteousness. He is relying on the righteousness of God. This has been given to him in Christ Jesus by the grace of God. He himself has been forgiven of his sin. The point was not to condemn others in order to justify himself. The point was to make clear the existence of sin for every individual so that the grace of God that had rescued him could be shared with fellow humans who needed deliverance just like he had needed it.

The same purpose and point that Paul had here in the book of Romans remains for Christians to share today. We too are fellow sinners. We too were under God’s full and immense wrath. I too am a sinner condemned by these truths. By God’s grace we may be forgiven. Yet even with that grace, in ourselves we are not any better than anyone else. We have nothing of which to boast. This shows God’s work to be that much more amazing. That He would love and redeem us while we were His enemies in such a deep rebellion against Him is almost incomprehensible. This same grace that has changed and is changing our lives and that will bring us eternity with God in a perfected existence is available to the whole world. No person, gender, race, nationality, ethnic group, class, or any other possible division is excluded from this offer of the gift of grace. This is the grace Christians should be offering, because it is the true grace of God.

1 Cor. 6:9-11 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, (10) thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God. (11) Some of you once lived this way. 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.

Unequivocally then this is a strong and definitive statement about sin and its consequences as well as about the one way to be rescued from them. In this context Paul is powerfully reminding the Corinthian church that these kinds of behavior are not compatible with the kingdom of God. In this portion of the book Paul has been dealing with quite a number of behavioral and ethical problems that have been plaguing the church. Their former behaviors were influencing their lives presently in a completely inappropriate way. Apparently it had gotten so bad that Paul even challenged them in a following letter to examine themselves to see whether they had truly become believers (2 Cor. 13:5).

These sins in and of themselves were nothing that would keep them from truly accepting the grace of God and becoming children of God. However a continuation in them as a manner of life11 would be an indication that they were not truly believers and not going to inherit the kingdom of God (cf. 1 John 3). Quite helpfully for us today, this is a clear statement that some of the Corinthians had become believers out of that manner of life. This should lead us to at least two conclusions:

  1. Like other sins, homosexual behavior may be forgiven. God’s grace is not limited by this or any other sin. As Romans 5:20 states:

Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: (21) That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. (KJV)

  1. Since Christians have come out of such sins, they should be the ones most desirous to share God’s love with others. As 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 states:

So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away — look, what is new has come! (18) And all these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation. (19) In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them, and he has given us the message of reconciliation. (20) Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His plea through us. We plead with you on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God!” (21) God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

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