IS THERE A STANDARD?
On what basis can we judge sexual behavior? How can we declare one type of behavior to be moral and another behavior to be immoral? By what yardstick can we measure such things? What authority do we have to label some activity as right or wrong? By what STANDARD can we say that a person is engaging in sinful conduct?
One of the darkest days of Israelite history was the period of the JUDGES. At that time "every man did that which was right in his own eyes" (Judges 21:25). Depraved men were setting the STANDARD and determining what was right. It may seem right in man's eyes, but the key question is this: IS IT RIGHT IN GOD'S EYES? Men greatly err when it comes to recognizing and following a right course of action: "There is a way which SEEMETH right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 14:12).
When man sets the STANDARD then anything goes. Sinful men can justify anything as they reject and willfully ignore God's standards as clearly revealed in God's Word. Men and women of our day are busy doing what is right in their own eyes. They justify their position in the following ways: "We must not discriminate!" "People can't help being the way they are because it is genetic." "Who cares what a person does in private?" "What does it matter what two consenting adults do as long as it doesn't hurt anyone?" "Everyone is entitled to his or her own sexual preference." Etc.
Suppose that what these people are saying is true. What if there were no real objective STANDARD outside of man? What if there were no God and no Bible and no Ten Commandments? If this were the case, then we would have to agree that we would have absolutely no basis by which we could condemn homosexuality, apart from our own personal preferences (likes and dislikes). Under these conditions man would set the standards, doing that which seems right in his own eyes.
Without any divine STANDARD of morality, what would be wrong with homosexuality (sexual relations between two persons of the same sex)? Furthermore, what would be wrong with bestiality (sexual relations between a human being and an animal)? Could not the same arguments be used? "Am I not entitled to my own sexual preference?" "What is wrong with it as long as I am kind to the animal and we don't hurt anyone else?" Indeed, with no divine rule to measure right and wrong, what would be objectionable with adults having sexual relations with animals or even with young children? You may personally have a strong aversion to such practices, but who are you to impose your own personal standards on other people?
Indeed, apart from a divine STANDARD of morality anything goes, including stealing and murder. Who is to say MURDER is wrong? It may be detestable to you, but the murderer is doing what seems right to him, is he not? What is wrong with ridding the world of some undesirable person? Apart from moral absolutes any kind of behavior or activity can be justified.
God's Plan For Man and Woman
God does have a STANDARD by which behavior and sexual activity may be measured and judged, approved or disapproved. God's perfect plan for a man and a woman is to be found by going back to the very BEGINNING (see Matthew 19:3-8). Deviations from God's STANDARD are found in abundance in our society but "from the BEGINNING it was not so" (Matthew 19:8). What did the Lord Jesus mean by "the BEGINNING"? In Matthew 19:4 the Lord Jesus quoted from Genesis chapter 1. In Matthew 19:5 the Lord Jesus quoted from Genesis chapter 2.
It is obvious that the Lord Jesus understood the first two chapters of the Bible as being accurate and authoritative. It is in these two chapters that we find God's plan for a man and a woman.
Genesis Chapter 1
In Genesis 1:27 we learn that God created man. In this brief verse the verb "created" is found 3 times emphasizing man's unique creation in the image of God. Man is not the product of blind, chance evolution taking place over millions of years. Those who see themselves as mere "accidents of nature" and the result of a long evolutionary process have tried to eliminate from their minds the all-important concept of a personal Creator-God before whom we are responsible and accountable. For the true evolutionist there can be no real moral absolutes, just the ruthless survival of the fittest in a world where there seems to be no real rhyme or reason for anything.
But in the beginning it was not as the evolutionists depict! There was a personal CREATOR-GOD who created man MALE and FEMALE. God's purpose for man was that there should be two SEXES, male and female. Every person is either a "HE" or a "SHE." God did not divide mankind into three or four or five sexes. There is only the male sex and the female sex, and every person is either a male or female because this is how each person has been made by the Creator. "MALE and FEMALE created He them" (Genesis 1:27).
It is obvious that the two sexes are not the same. They are profoundly different. Girls are not boys and boys are not girls. Women are not men and men are not women. Adam was different from Eve and Eve was different from Adam because God made them so. Today in the minds of many there is wrong and unhealthy THINKING resulting in a trend towards UNISEX (one sex). It is man's wrong attempt to try to MINIMIZE the differences which God has made. Thus women in some ways look, dress and act like men and men in some ways look, dress and act like women. God is strongly opposed to this because it is contrary to the differences and distinctions which He made at the BEGINNING: "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" (Deuteronomy 22:5).
The word "abomination" in Deuteronomy 22:5 is a very strong word. It means that God detests it, hates it and is nauseated over it. It makes God sick (as it were)! This is because it is so contrary to God's original plan. God wants men to look, dress and act like men because this is how He made them. God wants women to look, dress and act like women, because they ought to rightly represent what they are.
Genesis Chapter 2
In Genesis chapter 2 we learn that Adam was created first. Adam was made from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7) and Eve was made from Adam (Genesis 2:22). "For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man" (1 Corinthians 11:8).
How did the institution of marriage originate? Did it gradually evolve from more primitive institutions and customs? Did a group of "cave men" or "ape men" meet together and vote in favor of starting marriages? Did an ancient and powerful king send forth an edict or law declaring that men and women should be joined together in marriage? When did the first marriage take place? Whose idea was it? How did marriage begin?
Genesis chapter two answers these questions very clearly:
|Who declared that it was not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18)?
Who said, "I will make an help meet (helper suitable) for him" (Genesis 2:18)?
Who took a part of man and from it made a woman (Genesis 2:21-22)?
Who brought the woman to the man (Genesis 2:22)?
Who performed the first marriage ceremony (Genesis 2:18-22)?
Who instituted marriage? Whose idea was it?
Who is responsible for joining a man and woman together (Matthew 19:6)?
Marriage is God's holy institution. We need to pay very close attention to that first marriage so that we can learn what God intended from the BEGINNING. In Genesis 2:22 we are told that GOD BROUGHT THE WOMAN (EVE) TO THE MAN (ADAM). Notice carefully what God did not do:
God did not bring an animal to Adam for a marriage partner.
God did not bring a man to Adam for a marriage partner. (It was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!)
God did not bring two women to Adam.
God did not bring ten women to Adam.
God brought just one woman to Adam: ONE WOMAN FOR ONE MAN, THIS IS GOD'S ALL-WISE PLAN!
Based on the above facts, we can arrive at some very simple and yet important conclusions:
1. The marriage partner must not be an animal but a person.
2. The marriage partner must be the opposite sex.
3. There should be ONE marriage partner, not more than one.
Another conclusion, based on the fact that man should CLEAVE to his wife (Genesis 2:24), is as follows:
4. The marriage union is to be permanent (compare Matthew 19:6), until broken by death (compare Romans 7:2-3).
These four simple rules are what God established at the BEGINNING. Those who do not like these rules have a problem with the God who set them up. Serious problems develop whenever people DEVIATE from what God established in the beginning. In Leviticus 20 we have some examples of how people have broken God's simple rules:
In Leviticus 20:15 we have a violation of Rule #1.
In Leviticus 20:13 we have a violation of Rule #2.
In Leviticus 20:10 we have a violation of Rule #3 (If the man had remained loyal to his ONE MARRIAGE PARTNER the adultery would not have taken place.) An early violation of Rule #3 is also seen in Genesis 4:19. A massive violation of Rule #3 is seen in 1 Kings 11:3.
Procreation and God's Perfect Plan
One of the reasons God made the man and woman as He did was for the purpose of reproduction. After God made man MALE and FEMALE, He said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and replenish [fill] the earth" (Genesis 1:28). God's plan was for many people to live on the earth, not just two. God created two and from these two would come all mankind (today numbering in the billions). For this to be possible God designed the man and woman with the ability to reproduce and bring forth children. This is natural, normal and necessary for the propagation of the human race.
When it comes to reproduction it should be obvious that the man is designed for the woman and the woman is designed for the man, according to God's perfect plan and matchless design. A man is not designed for a man and a woman is not designed for a woman. Consider the illustration of nuts and bolts. You cannot put together two bolts and you cannot put together two nuts. A nut is not designed for another nut, it is designed for a bolt. To try to fit two nuts together (or two bolts) is to go against the plan and design for which they were made. It is impossible to screw a nut into a nut. Homosexuality is a violation of Rule #2, and it clearly goes against God's plan and design. It is impossible for children to ever result from a homosexual relationship. If homosexuality were universally practiced worldwide, then the human race would become extinct after one generation! This is why according to Romans chapter 1 homosexuality is unnatural and against nature (verses 26-27). Even the animals who follow their natural instincts know that a male should mate with a female, and not a male with a male. The animals instinctively follow God's order. Men often rebel against God's natural order of things.
The Marriage Relationship Involves Far More Than Procreation
Bringing forth children is important, but this is not the number one reason why God gave to man the wonderful gift of being able to have sexual relations with a marriage partner. Normally children are meant to be the fruit of a love relationship between husband and wife, but there are exceptions to this normal rule. For example, there are some couples who are unable to have any children (for a number of possible reasons). Does this inability to have children mean that the couple cannot fulfill the purpose of their sexuality? Not at all. God has given the gift of sex for the enjoyment of the marriage partners as they express their love to each other even in a physical way. This love-relationship has a physical aspect to it that ought to be precious and enjoyable whether or not God is pleased to give children.
The Blessedness of the Marriage Bed
"Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4). God intended that the marriage bed should be holy and pure and right and a great blessing for a man and his wife (see Hebrews 13:4). God and the Bible never condemn sex but only the wrong kind of sex. The wrong kind of sex is that which violates and goes against God's original purpose. But in God's purpose and in God's time, the marriage bed (Hebrews 13:4) is meant to be a place of enjoyment and satisfaction for both husband and wife.
The book of Proverbs has much to say about the wrong kind of sexual involvement, but it also has something to say about the right kind. "Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. Let them be only thine own, and not strangers' with thee. Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love" (Proverbs 5:15-19).
Within the boundaries and confines of marriage, there is safety and satisfaction and sure delight. The husband is to rejoice with his wife (Proverbs 5:18) and be sexually satisfied by her (Proverbs 5:19) and he is to be exhilarated or intoxicated with her love (Proverbs 5:19--see the meaning of the Hebrew term "ravished"). At the same time he is strongly WARNED not to look elsewhere for satisfaction but to be content and thankful for the wife God gave to him when he was young (see Proverbs 5:15-18,20-23).
The bed of marriage is UNDEFILED (Hebrews 13:4). It is pure and unsoiled and not polluted. It is intended to be enjoyable and right and pleasurable. It is a mutual expression of love as the husband GIVES of himself to please his wife and the wife GIVES of herself to please the husband (1 Corinthians 7:3). Marriage is a good thing and God honors it and blesses it: "Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD" (Proverbs 18:22).
Deviation From God's Perfect Plan
Marriage was designed in heaven for the blessing and good of mankind. It was also meant to portray a wonderful picture of the believer's relationship to Jesus Christ (see Ephesians 5:21-33). Sinful men have polluted God's purpose in marriage and have perverted the picture.
Today we live in a world system (1 John 2:15) and in a society that cares little about God's standards. Instead men approve and applaud that which deviates (compare Romans 1:32). This is done not just by pornography which is inundating the land, but also by many TV shows, radio programs, movies, videos, books, magazines, etc. Today a young person who remains sexually pure until marriage is often considered an oddity and even an object of scorn. It is a very sad thing when the violation of a standard becomes so common that it becomes the norm. Man does what is right in his own eyes (Judges 21:25), and he thinks, "If everyone else is doing it, how can it be wrong?" The believer knows that if God sets the standard in His Word and if man violates what God has said, then it is wrong no matter how many are doing it (see Exodus 23:2).
In Hebrews 13:4 we learn that God sanctions the marriage bed but He strongly warns that His judgment will fall upon those guilty of either of these two things:
1. FORNICATION (Greek--Porneia) is a general word which refers to any kind of unlawful sexual intercourse (we get our English word "pornography" from this Greek word). It would include such things as sexual immorality, prostitution, premarital sex and even homosexuality. In Hebrews 13:4 it probably refers primarily to those sexual sins committed by unmarried persons (since the next word refers to a sin that a married person commits).
2. ADULTERY (Greek--Moicheia ) is a more specific word which refers to a married person having unlawful sexual relations with someone that he or she is not married to. Thus it involves going beyond the marriage relationship to a third person. In Hebrews 13:4 it refers to those sexual sins of unfaithfulness committed by married persons.
Hebrews 13:4 does not condemn sex which is good and honorable and right and part of God's original plan for mankind when He created man male and female. However, Hebrews 13:4 strongly condemns sex which is outside of marriage (both premarital sex which is sex before marriage and extramarital sex which is sex during marriage with someone who is not one's legitimate marriage partner).
Just as on a mountainous road there are often guard rails to help keep the car on the road and prevent a disaster, so also God has good and safe BOUNDARIES which man needs to stay within for his own benefit and safety. When it comes to sex there are too many young people who are plunging off the road and falling into disaster, often resulting in wounds that never heal and scars that always remain. Do not deviate from God's road! Do not turn aside from God's path! Stay on the road of sexual purity and you will forever be glad that you did. The God who created you surely knows what is best for you. Trust and obey Him!
We hear much talk today about SAFE SEX, but the SEX that is being referred to is most often SINFUL SEX (sex outside of the marriage bed, especially premarital sex). So what people are really talking about is SAFE SIN!
The message being broadcast today is this: "It is all right to sin as long as you practice SAFE SIN. Drunkenness is OK is long as someone sober drives you home. Narcotics are OK as long as you use clean needles. Promiscuity is OK as long as you take safe precautions. It is all right to sin, but please, play it SAFE!" The Bible gives the true perspective: "Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. For THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH" (James 1:15; Rom. 6:23).
[See the newspaper ad that appeared in U.S.A. Today entitled, Safe Sin??]
SAFE SIN is a flat contradiction. It would be like talking of a "healthy disease" or "harmless poison" or "clean dirt" or a "lively death." It would be like a mouse talking about a safe mousetrap or a fish speaking of a safe hook or a pig thinking of a safe slaughterhouse. SIN IS NEVER SAFE! It is always dangerous, destructive, damning; and sin always brings with it disastrous consequences. Joseph was tempted in the direction of "safe sin" (Genesis 39:7-12) but he refused and HE ABSTAINED, fearing a holy God instead (verse 9).
What is "SAFE SEX"?
The four simple rules already discussed when taken together form God's definitions of safe sex. God has instituted marriage and within the framework of marriage there are four simple rules which God has established because God wants to outwork His holy purpose and plan for man. Those who follow these four simple rules can enjoy sex which is not only SAFE, but which is pure and unsoiled and enjoyable and pleasurable and holy and wonderful.
Let's review the rules again:
Rule #1- The marriage partner must not be an animal but a person.
Rule #2- The marriage partner must be the opposite sex .
Rule #3- The marriage partner must be ONE, not more than one.
Rule #4- The marriage union is to be permanent (compare Matthew 19:6), until broken by death (compare Romans 7:2-3).
Of course, basic to all these rules is the assumption that the sexual partner must be one's legitimate MARRIAGE PARTNER (Hebrews 13:4).
What then is God's definition of UNSAFE SEX? Any deviation from God's original purpose or plan, any breaking of the four simple rules given above, would be UNSAFE and VERY DANGEROUS SEX, subject to the judgment of God (Hebrews 13:4).
THE SIN OF HOMOSEXUALITY
Homosexuality is contrary to God's original plan for a man and woman. It is a serious deviation from what God originally designed and established for the good of mankind. As the Lord Jesus said, " from the beginning it was not so" (Matthew 19:8). Homosexuality is a violation of Rule #2--The marriage partner must be the opposite sex. Throughout the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments, homosexuality is strongly condemned by the living God.
Years ago society as a whole took God's position and condemned homosexuality. Many if not most states had laws against sodomy in the books. Today this has completely changed. Homosexuals have come out of the closet, as it were, and are demanding that their lifestyle be recognized as valid and legitimate. Homosexuality is today being defended as a normal, natural, healthy, legitimate, alternative life-style.
There are Gay Pride Days in all the major American cities as thousands of homosexuals march and chant slogans such as this: "SAY IT LOUD, GAY IS PROUD!" The idea is this: "We are proud of our homosexuality! We are proud to be gay!"
Why don't we have PRIDE DAYS for adulterers or for thieves or for rapists or for drunkards? Why should only one group of sinners be allowed to parade and be proud of their sin? Perhaps other groups of sinners should demand equal rights! This calls to mind the verse in Isaiah 3:9-- "they parade their sin like Sodom" -NIV).
Biblical Support for Homosexuality?
As we would expect, there are homosexuals who go to the Bible to try to find support for their practices and for their unnatural lifestyle. One book was titled, Jonathan Loved David--Homosexuals in Bible Times. This book makes the groundless and erroneous claim that the relationship between David and Jonathan was a homosexual relationship. They twist such verses as 1 Samuel 18:1 and 2 Samuel 1:26-- "And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul....I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women." Homosexuals who look to use such passages to support their sinful conduct are revealing their own lack of understanding as to what true love is all about. They cannot understand how a man can love another man in a non-physical, non-sinful way. This kind of love is utterly foreign to them.
The greatest blasphemy of all is when they accuse Christ Himself of being a homosexual, thus transferring their own sin upon the Person of the blessed, sinless Son of God. They refer to such passages as John chapter 11 where the Scripture refers to Jesus' love for Lazarus and the people said, "Behold how He loved him!" (verse 36). Or they might go to John chapter 13 where it speaks about the disciple whom Jesus loved and how John was leaning on Jesus' breast (verse 23). The Apostle Peter warned about such people and their abuse of God's Word: "As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest [twist], as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness" (2 Peter 3:16-17).
What does the Lord Jesus really say about homosexuality? What has the living God said in His Word about this issue? Consider the following:
PASSAGES WHERE HOMOSEXUALITY
IS CONDEMNED BY GOD
1. The Sin of the First Sodomites (Genesis 18:20; 19:4-9).
"And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous....But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them [in a sexual way]. And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door" (Genesis 18:20; 19:4-9).
Several observations need to be made: (1) God's evaluation of the enormity and weightiness of the sin of Sodom: "And the LORD said...their sin is very grievous [heavy]" (Genesis 18:20). (2) The Sodomites, thinking the two angels were men, lusted after them: "bring them out unto us, that we may know them [carnally]" (Genesis 19:5). (3) Even Lot's offer of his own daughters could not satisfy their unnatural desires (Genesis 19:8-9). (4) This terrible and dreadful sin was repeated in the land of Israel during the period of the judges (Judges 19:22-30). (5) The SERIOUSNESS of the sin is seen by the SEVERITY of the judgment. The Sodomite men were struck with blindness (Genesis 19:11) and their city was destroyed by fire (Genesis 19:28-29). (6) Their sin was forever memorialized by the terms "Sodomite" and "Sodomy." (7) The sin of the Sodomites also involved pride, prosperity and abundance of idleness (Ezekiel 16:49) and such things most often lead to moral looseness and lewd immorality. (8) The sin of the Sodomites is mentioned twice in the New Testament as warning to those who should live ungodly today (2 Peter 2:6 and Jude 7).
We are sometimes told that the sin of the Sodomites was not homosexuality, but it was homosexual rape. Those who justify homosexuality try to argue that it is not wrong for a man to engage in sex with a man, but it is wrong for a man to force himself upon another man who is not consenting. Is it permissible for a man to engage in sex with another man?
2. The strong prohibition against homosexuality (Leviticus 18:22).
"Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination" (Leviticus 18:22).
For a man to lie sexually with another man is here strongly forbidden. In the following verse (v.23) bestiality is forbidden because it is a perversion. These were the very sins being practiced by the heathen in the land of Palestine (v.24-25).
In verse 22 we have the phrase "THOU SHALT NOT." This is the strongest way in the Hebrew language to tell a person not to do something. This is the same formula found in many of the 10 Commandments. It is an absolute prohibition and it could be translated, "THOU SHALT NEVER." Literally the verse says, "Thou shalt not [never] lie with a male as one lies with a female" (that is, in a sexual way).
What does God think about homosexuality? The verse says, "It is an ABOMINATION!" This means that it is detestable, loathsome, repulsive and heinous. It is one of the strongest words to describe God's hatred of something. It is a stench in God's nostrils like the smell of vomit! It is something that is disgusting, nauseating, revolting and sickening to God. The reason it is an abomination is that it is so contrary to what God has designed and established for the good of mankind.
To understand more fully the seriousness of this sin and others like it, read the remaining verses in Leviticus chapter 18 (verses 24-30). It is these very acts that DEFILE the land (v.24-25). Because of these abominable practices God removed (vomited out) certain nations from the land of Palestine (v.27-28). God warns His people that if they should practice any of these abominations, they would be CUT OFF from among the people (v.29).
Gentile nations of the past have been severely judged by God because of such practices: "And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants" (verse 25). Americans would do well to heed this serious and sober warning.
3. The Penalty for Homosexuality under the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 20:13).
"If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them" (Leviticus 20:13).
The term "mankind" is the Hebrew term for "male." If a man lies with a male as one lies with a female, both of them have committed an abomination. This repeats the teaching of Leviticus 18:22, only now the penalty is given: "they shall surely be put to death." If you were living in the days of Moses, under the law of God, homosexuality was punishable by DEATH. "What about 'Gay Rights'?" The teaching of God was that it was RIGHT to put those who practiced such things to death. The death penalty was demanded. The Hebrew construction "they shall surely be put to death" is very similar to that found in Genesis 2:17-- "...for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou [Adam] shalt surely die." Under the Mosaic law, those caught in the act of homosexuality would surely, most certainly be put to death.
The expression "their blood shall be upon them" is highly significant. A similar phrase is found in Matthew 27:25-- "Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children." What did these words mean? The Jews who demanded Christ's death by crucifixion were saying this: "We take full responsibility for Christ's death. Pilate, His death and His blood will not be upon you, but upon us. We assume full responsibility for this death."
In Leviticus 20:13 God tells us that those men who engaged in a homosexual act were fully responsible for this deed and had to bear the consequences of it, namely, the death penalty. These men were fully responsible for this sin that they committed. Homosexuality is not some inborn, innate tendency over which a man has no control. Rather it is something that a man chooses to do, and God holds him fully responsible for that action. A man can never legitimately say, "I could not help it. I was born this way. I have no control over my sexual conduct. I am not responsible for my actions and I should not be punished for something that I could not help. I cannot change what and who I am." No, this man was fully responsible for his own death ("[his] blood shall be upon [him]") because he chose to commit a crime worthy of death.
4. No Sodomites Allowed in the Land (Deuteronomy 23:17-18).
"There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel. Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God" (Deuteronomy 23:17-18 with emphasis).
This verse deals with what was a common practice in the heathen world, namely temple prostitution. The heathen temples were cesspools of immorality and fornication and prostitution. A man could enter such a temple and for a price could choose either a female or a male sexual partner. The term "whore" refers to a female prostitute, and the term "sodomite" refers to a male prostitute. The term "dog" of verse 18 refers to the sodomite of verse 17. The term "sodomite" comes from a Hebrew root which means "holy." How could such an unholy prostitute be called "holy"? The answer is found in the fact that the basic meaning of the term "holy" is "set apart," and this man was set apart, not for holy purposes, but for very immoral purposes.
The term "sodomite" is "employed in the Authorized Version (KJV) of the Old Testament for those who practiced as a religious rite the abominable and unnatural vice from which the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah have derived their lasting infamy" ( Smith's Bible Dictionary). This term is used repeatedly in the books of 1 Kings and 2 Kings. In the days of Rehoboam, Solomon's son, we read this: "And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel" (1 Kings 14:24). In Deuteronomy God said that there must not be any sodomite among the sons of Israel (Deut. 23:17). In the days of Rehoboam there were sodomites among the sons of Israel. It was a time of great spiritual decline: "And Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked Him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done" (1 Kings 14:22).
Later, there were certain godly kings in Judah who rectified this problem of temple prostitution. Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord (1 Kings 15:11), and the first recorded right act that he did was to banish the sodomites from the land (1 Kings 15:12). Later this abominable practice again took root but in the days of Jehoshaphat the sodomites were again banished from the land (1 Kings 22:46). In the days of Josiah these sodomites had brought their tents or huts or ritual booths right into the courtyard of God's temple, but godly king Josiah got rid of them (2 Kings 23:7).
It is interesting that the godly kings of Judah drove the Sodomites out of the land. Today in America we invite them into the White House!
5. Homosexuality is a Result of Rejecting the Creator (Romans 1:24-27).
"Wherefore GOD also GAVE THEM UP to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause GOD GAVE THEM UP unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into 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, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet" (Romans 1:24-27).
In the above passage, notice the words and phrases which are used to describe the sin of homosexuality:
It is UNCLEAN, filthy, morally foul, morally polluted.
It DISHONORS THE BODY, it is degrading.
It involves VILE AFFECTIONS (dishonorable, degrading and disgraceful passions).
It is AGAINST NATURE, contrary to the original intention of the Creator.
It is UNNATURAL ("leaving the natural use"), contrary to God-ordained sex relations.
It involves BURNING LUST, being sexually inflamed, boiling with unnatural lust.
It is UNSEEMLY, shameful.
It is ERROR.
According to this passage, why do people do such things? It all begins with a REJECTION OF THE CREATOR: "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead [deity]; so that they are without excuse: Because that, 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" (Romans 1:20-21).
The great error and sin of these people was twofold: (1) They did not honor God for WHO HE WAS; (2) They did not thank God for WHAT HE HAD DONE. They rejected HIS PERSON and HIS WORK. As a result God GAVE THEM UP to their own hearts' lust. They ABANDONED God and therefore God ABANDONED them and gave them up to the horrible sins mentioned in verses 24-32. The result was not evolution and progress but degeneration and regression. They became FOOLS (verse 22). Homosexuality, according to Romans 1, is the predictable result of a society that fails to honor God and recognize His truth (verses 18, 21).
6. Homosexuality is contrary to sound doctrine (1 Timothy 1:9-10).
"Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine" (1 Timothy 1:9-10).
Sound doctrine is that HEALTHY TEACHING of the truths of God's Word which results in HEALTHY LIVING (living God's way for God's glory). The term "them that defile themselves with mankind" is the same term that is found in 1 Corinthians 6:9 ("abusers of themselves with mankind"). This term refers to a male homosexual, a pederast, a sodomite.
Consider the list of sinners mentioned in 1 Timothy 1:9-10. Notice that homosexuals are grouped together with the following: "the ungodly," "murderers of fathers," "murderers of mothers," "manslayers," "fornicators," "kidnappers," etc. If homosexuality were really a legitimate, alternate life-style in God's sight, then we would not expect homosexuals to be listed together with the worst kind of sinners imaginable. What is even more fascinating is that Paul groups himself with these sinners in verse 15. He says, of all the sinners, "I AM CHIEF (first)." Picture, if you would, the sinners listed in verses 9-10 forming a parade and marching down the city street. Marching in this parade are murderers, kidnappers, homosexuals, liars, etc. In verse 15 Paul was saying, "I want you to know that I was at the head of that parade. I am the CHIEF sinner, because I persecuted the church of God." Why was Paul's sin so great? Because he attacked the body of the Lord Jesus Christ (see Acts 9:4-- "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?").
Thus in this passage we find great HOPE for homosexuals. Paul was saying that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Paul was saying, "If He could save me, the CHIEF sinner, then He can certainly save a homosexual or a murderer or a kidnapper or an ungodly person." "Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting (1 Timothy 1:16). The GRACE of the Lord Jesus Christ is far GREATER than the SIN of homosexuality. Has the grace of God conquered your heart?
7. The Cure For Homosexuality (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? 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 Corinthians 6:9-11).
In this passage two of the terms refer to homosexuals:
1. effeminate--one who is soft (Greek malakos ; compare the English term "sissy"), effeminate, especially a catamite (a man or a boy who allows himself to be used in a homosexual way), a male who submits his body to a homosexual, taking the female or passive role. This is a PASSIVE homosexual.
2. abusers of themselves with mankind--a male homosexual, one who practices anal intercourse, a sodomite. Literally this Greek word ( arsenokoitoi ) is made up of two parts: (1) male; (2) bed (euphemism for sexual intercourse). Thus the term means one who goes to bed with a male. It carries with it the idea of a man lying with a man as one would with a woman (compare Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13). This is an ACTIVE homosexual.
Verse 9 teaches that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom. They will have no part in God's kingdom. They will be excluded. Compare Matthew 25:34 which describes the blessed state of those who inherit the kingdom and verse 41 which describes the cursed state of those who do not inherit the kingdom.
The term "unrighteous" in verse 9 is further defined by the list of life-dominating sins that are mentioned in verses 9-10. For example, adulterers will not inherit the kingdom. These are people whose lives are dominated by the sin of adultery. David committed an act of adultery, but his life was not dominated and characterized by this sin. He confessed this sin and turned from it (Psalm 32 and 51). In verse 10 it mentions "drunkards." Noah got drunk on one occasion, but his life was not dominated and characterized by this sin. Is there HOPE for those whose lives are dominated and characterized by the sin of homosexuality?
There is great HOPE to be found in a gracious 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 Corinthians 6:11). Notice that it says, "and such WERE some of you." It does not say, "and such ARE some of you." Some of the Corinthian believers WERE homosexual (and some of them were drunkards, adulterers, etc.). But they had CHANGED. They were homosexual in the past, but after they met the Saviour they were homosexual no longer. Their SALVATION involved a CHANGE in their life-style and an abandonment of sexual conduct which was contrary to God's Word. Some of these Corinthian believers were at one time homosexuals, but now they were EX-homosexuals. This gives great HOPE to every homosexual or lesbian because this means that such a person can change. By the grace of God such a person can be JUSTIFIED (declared righteous in Christ), SANCTIFIED (set apart for God's service) and WASHED (judicially cleansed of all sin)--see verse 11. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Is Homosexuality a Sickness?
It used to be fashionable in our society to consider homosexuality as some kind of SICKNESS. If homosexuality is a sickness, then there is no hope for the homosexual. There is no cure! There is no pill that the person can take. There is no operation which a doctor could perform to remedy this problem. No hospital, no doctor and no medicine can provide help for such a person.
Today society has regressed to the point that it sees homosexuality as a HEALTHY, alternative life-style, and not a sickness at all. It is seen as something good and healthy and right and beneficial for those who are so oriented. Our society once wrongly labeled it as a sickness, but at least it was recognized as a problem and as a disorder. Today it is often viewed as normal and healthy.
The homosexual must recognize that he has a problem and that the problem is sin before a holy God. If homosexuality is a SIN, then this means that there is great HOPE and great HELP! If it is really SIN, then there is really a SOLUTION! There is really a SAVIOUR who died for SINNERS. The remedy and the cure is found in Christ.
Is Homosexuality Inborn and Genetic?
If we tell people that homosexuality is something that they are born with, then we are telling them that there is no hope for change. If I am born with it and if this is part of my physical make-up, then how could this possibly be changed? If you are born with green eyes, this is something that can't be changed. If you are born with genes that determine that you are going to be 5 feet 11 inches tall, then this is how tall you are going to be. There is no way to change it.
There are certain scientific studies which have gained much media attention which suggest that homosexuality is genetic and inborn. The author of one such study is Simon LeVay, a neurobiologist at the Salk Institute near San Diego. He himself is homosexual. In 1991 he published evidence of a structural difference between the brains of homosexual and heterosexual men. However, LeVay is quick to caution that his work does not prove that sexual preference is hard-wired into us before birth. Listen to LeVay's own words:
It is important to stress what I didn't find. I did not prove that homosexuality is genetic, or find a genetic cause for being gay. I didn't show that gay men are "born that way," the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work. Nor did I locate a gay center in the brain. [See Discover Magazine, March 1994, p. 66]
Dr. Martin Bobgan has given the following critique of LeVay's work:
When LeVay's work was examined, flaws soon emerged. He had, in the course of post-mortem examinations, studied the brains of 19 homosexual men, 16 heterosexual men, and 6 women, looking at a particular part--the third interstitial nucleus of the anterior hypothalamus (INAH3). His findings were not clear-cut for some of the homosexual men. Worse still, the study was confused by major unknown factors, such as the fact that the 19 homosexual men had died of AIDS, and it is not known what effect AIDS may have on the dying brain.
As it happens, there is no clear-cut evidence that the INAH3 area of the brain is its "sex-centre." We simply do not know that. Also we do not know what effect homosexual activity itself may have on that part of the brain.
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a brain scan technique which examines the metabolism of the brain. Studies have been made of patients who suffered from obsessive compulsive problems, and who were being treated by means of behaviour modification techniques which required them to carry out certain assignments, and to learn to think in certain ways. PET scans of these patients have yielded extremely interesting results, showing that patients undergoing behaviour modification therapy underwent a definite change in their brain metabolism.
The following question may well be asked: If behaviour modification directed by psychologists changes the metabolism of the brain, may it also be affected by the adoption of homosexual activities?
These matters are so complex that we dare not come to conclusions until there is much more information, and some of that information may not come for years. But it is possible that the people on whom Simon LeVay carried out post-mortem examinations had undergone some change in the INAH3 portion of the brain as a result of their homosexual activities. -- [ Is It Genes or Choice? Article by Dr. Martin Bobgan, East Gate Publishers, 4137 Primavera Rd., Santa Barbara, CA 93110]
In October 2003 a research study was published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior (Vol. 32, No. 5, pp. 403-417) entitled "Can Some Gay Men and Lesbians Change Their Sexual Orientation?" The author was Dr. Robert L. Spitzer. The conclusion of this study sent shock waves across the "politically correct" establishment because it demonstrated the following hypothesis: "Some individuals whose sexual orientation is predominantly homosexual can become predominantly heterosexual following some form of reparative therapy" (p. 405).
This finding totally contradicts the prevailing opinion that a person is homosexual because he is born that way and there is no hope of change. But Dr. Spitzer, a psychiatrist at Columbia University, gave evidence that those struggling with homosexuality can leave that lifestyle behind. The accepted dogma of the day is that therapy designed to change a personís sexual orientation is not only useless, but also harmful. For example, the American Psychiatric Association published this position statement in 1998: "...there is no published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of reparative therapy as a treatment to change oneís sexual orientation....The potential risks of reparative therapy are great, including depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior." In other words, their position is that a person is born homosexual and no therapy can change this fact. This kind of therapy can only cause harm to the person who is deceived into thinking that he can change.
Dr. Spitzerís research totally contradicted this idea that gays can never change their sexual orientation. His research is all the more interesting in light of the fact that he was one of the major forces in removing homosexuality from the American Psychiatric Associationís list of mental disorders in 1973.
Dr. Spitzer's most recent study involved 153 men and 47 women, all of whom reported that they had left homosexuality behind, after undergoing counseling. Also they had maintained the change for at least five years. Spitzer concluded that 66 percent of the men and 44 percent of the women had arrived at what he called "good heterosexual functioning."
Dr. Spitzer describes his research in his own words:
Although initially skeptical, in the course of the study, the author became convinced of the possibility of change in some gay men and lesbians (p. 412).
This study indicates that some gay men and lesbians, following reparative therapy, report that they have made major changes from a predominantly homosexual orientation to a predominantly heterosexual orientation...The changes encompassed sexual attraction, arousal, fantasy, yearning, and being bothered by homosexual feelings. The changes encompassed the core aspects of sexual orientation (p. 413).
Change in sexual orientation following some kind of therapy does occur in some gay men and lesbians. This is contrary to the conventional view that true change in well established sexual orientation does not occur (p. 413).
Mental health professionals should stop moving in the direction of banning therapy that has as a goal a change in sexual orientation (p. 414).
Dr. Spitzerís concluded his article in this way: "This study provides evidence that some gay men and lesbians are able to also change the core features of sexual orientation" (p. 415).
As expected, Dr. Spitzerís findings sparked enormous criticism from the pro-homosexual community. His study flatly contradicted their belief that a person is born gay and can never change: "Iím gay. Thatís who I am. Iíll always be this way. For me change is impossible." But the evidence does not support such an understanding of homosexuality. Change is not only possible, but countless numbers of ex-gays are demonstrating the reality of such a change.
A friend of mine is a national spokesman for those struggling with homosexuality. He has also been active in exposing the radical and militant gay agenda, and their attack on the traditional family. My friend himself was gay and he was convinced that he was born that way and could not change. For over a decade he indulged in the gay lifestyle and had over 100 same sex partners. Then one day a friend shared with him the gospel of Jesus Christ. Today he is happily married to a beautiful Christian woman and is the proud father of two wonderful children. He is a living example that a homosexual can change and can live a satisfying life by being the man, husband and father that God would have him to be.
The Bible clearly teaches that a person under the bondage of the life-dominating sin of homosexuality can CHANGE and be an EX-homosexual (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). This indicates that homosexuality is a conduct and behavior that can be changed, not a birth defect that a person must ever live with. It is a sin which can be repented of and turned from.
We must never forget that people are homosexuals because of their own personal choice. They are fully responsible for the sin which they commit-- "their blood shall be upon them" (Leviticus 20:13). At the same time, we recognize that there may be certain physical or environmental factors that may predispose a person towards homosexuality, but the choice to behave that way still rests with the individual.
For example, certain factors may predispose a person to the sin of drinking (drunkenness). Certain persons for a variety of reasons are strongly tempted by alcohol. Due to background, make-up and environmental influences, there are others who may never have the slightest temptation to drink. One man may be strongly tempted in the direction of pornography but the thought of shoplifting would never cross his mind. Another man might not be drawn to pornography, but the temptation to steal from a store might be very strong. We all have certain sins towards which we are more prone than others. One person might be prone to homosexuality; another man might be prone to the sin of adultery. In either case sin is sin and must be avoided. The adulterer commits adultery because he chooses to do so. The same must be said of the homosexual.
Homosexuality will never be conquered until the guilty person acknowledges that it is a sin against God and sees it as God sees it. Only then can victory be won through God's Son and the deliverance which He alone provides.
The Believer's Attitude Toward the Homosexual
What should our attitude be towards homosexuals? It should be the same as our attitude towards any other kind of sinners. Homosexuals should be loved as people for whom Christ died. We should desire and seek their salvation. We must love the person with Christ's love, even though we must hate and detest the sin as Christ does. Remember, the Church of Jesus Christ is filled with ex-sinners of every kind! What a testimony to the grace of God that He can take a practicing Sodomite and transform him into a new creature in Christ!
God's standards have not been lowered. God's moral absolutes have not changed, in spite of the moral shifting of our godless society. God's people need to set the example. To the married: Exemplify what God's kind of marriage is all about. Let the world see a holy and healthy marriage relationship where the Lord Jesus Christ is honored and where absolute faithfulness and loyalty to one's marriage partner is practiced.
To the unmarried: One of the best gifts you can give to your future marriage partner, if God should have this for you, is your own sexual purity. Keep yourself pure. Learn to wait on the Lord for His good pleasure in His good time. Sexual purity is something that can never fully be regained once it is lost.
To those who have failed: There are many in our day, even among professing believers, who have violated God's standards and have disobeyed God's commands relating to purity, chastity, faithfulness, etc. If the Lord should mark iniquities, who would stand? But with the Lord there is mercy and forgiveness, that He might be feared (see Psalm 130). In humbleness of soul and in honesty of heart, acknowledge your sins before a holy God. The Lord is able to forgive and cleanse. Remember, regardless of past failures, you can always start right where you are. Get your heart right with the Saviour. "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up" (James 4:10).
To the homosexual: God has good news for you. You can come to know a great God and Saviour who can satisfy the deepest needs of your heart. You need to know that you are homosexual, not because you were born that way, but because you were born in sin which you inherited from your father Adam. It was the first Adam that got you into the trouble you are in (Psalm 51:5; 58:3; Isaiah 53:6; Romans 5:12). It is the last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, that can get you out of trouble:
"Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous" (Romans 5:18-19).
"But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name" (John 1:12).
-- George Zeller, 9/1/94 revised 4/5/95 and 2/27/04