Contrary to popular opinion, God is not against sexual relationships. He devised them! He designed the human body with its male or female attributes, gave to the human mind its sense of beauty and appreciation of form, and implanted in the human brain the ability to feel pleasure and the desire to give it. But God also knew that for such relationships to produce all their pleasurable and stabilizing effects on individuals, families, and society, they must be enjoyed in the context for which they were designed, that is, in marriage. As Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”
Of all the distortions of the marriage relationship in which people indulge against God’s design – such as pornography, fornication, adultery, and divorce – homosexuality has been the one most thoroughly judged by God: “God … turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them with an overthrow, making them an example unto those who after should live ungodly” (2 Pet. 2:4,6)
This is the definition of “Sodom” in the dictionary: “A wicked city in ancient Palestine. Any place well known for vice and corruption.” Below this definition are the definitions of “sodomite” and “sodomy,” which refer to the male aspect of homosexuality. The dictionary defines homosexuality as “sexual desire or activity with another of the same sex, male or female.” Paul discusses the equal ungodliness of both in Romans 1:26-27: “For even their women did exchange the natural use for that which is against nature; and likewise also the men leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working that which is unseemly.” In Romans 1:16-32, he shows that homosexual practices become acceptable when people choose to reject the knowledge of God that they have. The rejection of this knowledge which God has put in every human heart begins this way: “When they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” And it ends this way: “Who, knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”
What else does the Scripture say about homosexuality? In the Law given to Israel, the Lord says, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination” (Lev. 18:22). Strong words, indeed. And in Deuteronomy 22:5 we read, “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.” Thus even the appearance of desiring to change one’s God-given gender is unacceptable to Him.
In the days of the kings of Israel, some kings removed the sodomites who were active in the land, while others did not; but the sodomites’ practices were clearly associated with abomination and idolatry. Jesus had no recorded dealings with any who practiced such things, but apparently there had been some homosexuals in the church at Corinth: “Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:9-11).
Out of Sodom
Since God has demonstrated His judgment on those who do such things, are they beyond the gospel? No, certainly not, as 1 Corinthians 6:11 so graciously shows: “And such were some of you: but ye are washed … sanctified … justified in the name of the Lord Jesus.” All who are saved were once lost in trespasses and sins, and any who repent and turn to Christ are accepted by Him. There are missionaries today who go to gay and lesbian gatherings in big cities just to talk to individuals about their eternal life. Other believers, who themselves have been saved by grace, minister to their neighbors or co-workers who may be caught up in this lifestyle. They can be saved, too, as anyone can, through “repentance toward God and faith towards the Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:21). Christ’s sacrifice on the cross covers even the sin of homosexuality.
If this sin is one that you have been involved in, repent, turn to Christ for forgiveness, and you, too, will be accepted. Just as for those living in adultery or addicted to drugs, it may be difficult to leave your relationship and change your lifestyle. The same power that raised Christ from the dead is waiting to enable you to live godly in Christ Jesus.
The real iniquity behind homosexuality is found in Ezekiel16:49-50, where God speaks to spiritual Israel as having corrupted her way more than the people of Sodom: “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister, Sodom: pride, fullness of bread (overindulgence), and abundance of idleness were in her and in her daughter, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before Me; therefore, I took them away as I saw good.” It was the combination of pride, overindulgence, idleness, and neglecting the poor which gave occasion for the abomination of homosexuality to be manifested.
What have we exhibited concerning pride (1 Tim. 6:4)? Have we submitted ourselves to godly doctrine, or do we love to argue over what God’s Word really means? How about overindulgence (1 Tim. 6:6)? Are we content with such things as we have, including the spouse we may be joined to? Or are we seeking someone new and different? Concerning idleness (1 Tim. 5:13), do we use our time profitably for the benefit of our families and others, or are we wrapped up in forms of entertainment (TV, movies, sports, surfing the net, games, etc.) which are at best time-wasters, and at worst temptations to sin? And concerning neglect of the poor (1 Tim. 6: 18), if we focus on doing good and being “rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate,” will we have time for sinful pursuits?
Israel was compared to her “sister, Sodom” because she spiritually left the natural relationship she had with her God and formed unnatural relationships with the world. Is the Church any better today? “So, then, because thou art lukewarm … I will spew thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, ‘I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing,’ and knowest not that thou art wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:16-17). What a wretched sight it must have been to see the men of Sodom, young and old, surrounding Lot’s house and demanding the “men” (really angels) to come out that they might perform sodomy with them. How wretched to see this practice, which God has so clearly condemned, condoned by some in the Church. The situation was so bad that Lot offered those wicked men his own daughters to do to them anything they wanted; and later those daughters followed the ungodly reasoning of the neighbors among whom they had grown up. The angels blinded those men and saved Lot, yet even in blindness “they wearied themselves to find the door,” so bent were they on their abomination.
How blind are we if we do not recognize that the widespread acceptance of homosexuality is a “sign of the times,” and that we must warn people against it, even if it means incurring the world’s wrath. God laid waste the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, exposing them to the judgment of their iniquity as if they were naked in a desert sandstorm. We need to realize that only the righteousness of Christ covers our nakedness before God, never our self-complacent self-righteousness. God turned those well-watered plains into a poor wasteland. How poor we are if we don’t stand for God’s Word. The Lord said, “Remember Lot’s wife” (Lk. 17:32); her heart was in Sodom, so she became a valueless, useless, pillar of salt. Are we spiritually like Sodom, not caring that our relationships to this world are unnatural and an offense to God, satisfying our lusts and calling it natural?
The condemnation of homosexuality is no worse than that of neglecting God’s authority and claim over you. Let’s repent of our careless neglect, and cling more closely to Him who died to make us His spotless bride.
By Tom & Susan Steere
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org