The Scriptures on Homosexuality
It has been requested of me to share what the Bible has to say about homosexuality, so if you are reading this and are thinking that I’m just picking on gays (or one of my readers in particular)… I’m just fulfilling a request. (Because, you know, I take requests!)
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. Leviticus 18:22
If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. Leviticus 20:13
Interestingly enough, the word “abomination” is only used twice in all of the Levitical code, both times referring to homosexual sex. The word translated “abomination” comes from a Hebrew word meaning “an abhorrence” or “disgusting” and can also refer to idolatry. Much later in the Bible, as we will see in a bit, the Apostle Paul very much links homosexuality with worshiping the creature rather than the Creator.
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9–10
One of the questions posed to me earlier was if I thought there was forgiveness for someone who has been gay; to answer that, I’ll quote the next verse from the previous passage:
And such were some of you. 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. 1 Corinthians 6:11
Who comprised the early church? Who were the Christians Paul was writing to at Corinth?
They were a group filled with people who had once been gay or thieves or idolaters or drunkards… people who were on the fast track to Hell but were rescued — indeed, transformed — by He who is powerful to save.
Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11in accordance with the glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted. 1 Timothy 1:8–11
A few of my readers may have wondered about the quotes from Leviticus earlier… Is the Old Testament law still valid? I don’t blame you. Plenty of people like the New Testament quite a bit better — after God took some anger management courses, so to speak. ((However, it doesn’t take much reading in the New Testament to realize that God is just as indignant against sinners as He ever was.))
Writing to Timothy, Paul points out that yes, the law is in fact good! Yes, the Old Testament commandments are still valid!
The law, after all, shows just how short we fall when measured up against God, how desperate our situation is, and how needful we are of a Savior. The law is given for the ungodly, the unholy, the sinners, the profane, the lawless, and the disobedient so that they may see their need for Christ.
Because of that, Paul could include homosexuality in the list of sins given to both the Corinthian church and to Timothy. Perhaps it is because homosexuality is classed as an abomination over and above all the other sexual sins mentioned in Leviticus that Paul includes it separately in his lists, exclusive from the more general “sexually immoral.”
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. Romans 1:26–28
This passage scares me on behalf of gays even more than the two verses in Leviticus do… Being put to death? That isn’t that harsh by comparison when you consider that the wages of any and all sin is death — it’s grace and grace alone which keeps any of us alive after telling a lie, stealing even something small, or any of a great number of other things.
Here in Romans, however, Paul details the plight of the unrepentant homosexual: God gives them up. Now, I cannot pretend to fully grasp the implications of that — likely, we’re not meant to.
What we find in Romans, however, is that homosexual acts are not only against the law of God but are also unnatural. Just as a man is not meant to have sexual relations with a beast, so is man not meant to have sexual relations with another man. Homosexual behavior is an aberration from the created order, and God so dissociates Himself from it that He turns over unrepentant homosexuals “to a debased mind.”
In addition to homosexuality giving rise to any number of other sins ((As listed in Romans 1:29–31.)), Paul reveals the homosexual’s hard-heartedness toward God:
Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:32
Such is the spiritual state of so many in our world today.
Paul says that the future holds “wrath and fury … tribulation and distress” for those who do not obey righteousness and who do evil. ((Romans 2:8–9.))
I’ll take a moment to address something which may come up… You may have noticed that these verses deal with homosexual actions. Being homosexual is not in and of itself condemned; rather, it is part & parcel of being born a sinful human. We are all born inclined to lie and to steal, to be self-centered and selfish, to hate and to covet. It’s no mystery why such things are so much easier than love and respect or why people so often emphasize that relationships are “hard work.”
Sin is easy.
For a homosexual male, is it easier for him to just act on his impulses? Excluding pressure from society, yeah, it’s going to be easier for him to live out his desires. The same, of course, goes for heterosexual men and women. ((It is also no mystery why so few virgins are marrying.))
In Ephesians 2:3, Paul says that we are all “by nature children of wrath,” and he even ties that right to living “in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind.”
God demands chastity, and He has prohibitions against fornication (sexual actions outside of marriage, and don’t fool yourself into thinking this only applies to intercourse). Sexuality, as is made clear throughout the Scriptures, is only acceptable to God within the bonds of marriage.
And marriage, as defined by creation (Adam and Eve), is something which only exists between a man and a woman. ((And there may be certain other biblical requirements which reveal that many who think they are married nowadays may in fact be living in sin rather than matrimony. Oh, and a man may be husband to more than wife, as well, but I’m uncertain of that one… I just haven’t found a way yet to argue against it biblically.))
What this means is that a homosexual person is forbidden by Scriptures to both engage in sexuality outside of marriage and to marry. Given the severity with which homosexuality is treated in the Scriptures, I hope you can see just how depraved our society is becoming as homosexuality (and/or bisexuality) not only becomes ever more en vogue but as marriage is redefined to include gay unions as true marriage.
So what is a homosexual to do, then, if they cannot live out the desires they feel within, whether he or she was born with them or whether they developed later in life?
They must do the same thing the liar, the murder, the hateful, the idolater, the sexual immoral, and the drunkard must do: Repent.
They must repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand, and they will either encounter the King as a merciful Savior or as wrathful Conqueror.
God is more than able to give homosexuals a new nature, to remove from them the unnatural affections and to replace them with godly desires.
I’m not saying the process will be easy; indeed, everyone from myself to the great apostle Paul struggles with sin, even after having experienced transforming grace. No one’s saying the termination of homosexual inclinations will be immediate.
Perhaps you’ll be able to refrain from ever again acting upon homosexual tendencies, but the tendencies will still be there. Then the goal is to refrain from acting, to refrain from even lusting after another person (whether of the same sex or different, actually), lest you commit adultery in your heart.
While it may seem right to have the feelings and be forbidden to act upon them, all I can offer is that the eternal reward for obedience is unbelievably worth it.
The alternative is to suffer the fate of Sodom & Gomorrah:
Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day–7just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. Jude 5-7