By Keith Sharp
Woe to those who call evil good , and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
And prudent in their own sight!(Isaiah 5:20-21)
The state legislature in Massachusetts is locked in a battle over a constitutional amendment to ban homosexual marriage but recognize same sex civil unions. This was after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court declared gay marriage to be a constitutional right. The mayor of San Francisco defied California state law by performing thousands of same sex weddings. A mayor in New York State followed suit until he was threatened with a felony charge. Unitarian clergy in New York State defy state law to continue the practice. Quebec just joined two other Canadian provinces in declaring homosexual marriages legal. President Bush has proposed a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriages but accepting homosexual civil unions. In this article I will not address political issues. Rather, we are examining homosexuality as a moral issue. Does the Word of God condone the homosexual lifestyle?
Homosexuality is first mentioned in the Bible in Genesis 19. When two angels of the Lord came in the form of men to the house of Lot in Sodom,
the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot and said to him, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.’ (verses 4-5)
The word “carnally” is added by the translators, having no word in the original Hebrew behind it. Literally, the men of Sodom wanted to “know” the two men. Did they just want to get acquainted? If so, why did Lot implore, “Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly!”? (verse 7) Would it be wicked to “meet and greet” them? Lot then added, “See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man….” (verse 8) Had they never met a man? Obviously, “know” is here, as many times in the Bible, a euphemism for sexual intercourse. For example, “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain….” (Genesis 4:1) The men of Sodom wanted to have homosexual relations with Lot’s two visitors. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for this sin, and we get our word “sodomy” from this incident. The New Testament forcefully draws the lesson for us:
Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. (Jude verse 7)
The Law of Moses decreed, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22). The term “abomination” means “a disgusting thing.” (BDBG) The penalty for this sin/crime was death (Leviticus 20:13).
In Romans 1:18-31 the apostle Paul portrayed the Gentile abandonment of the knowledge of God and their subsequent moral decay. He might as well be describing modern Western society. He thus characterizes the depth of depravity men will sink to when they reject God.
For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. (Romans 1:26-27)
Regardless of whether it involves women with women (lesbians) or men with men (gays), homosexual lusts are “vile passions,” which are “against nature,” and homosexual acts are “shameful.” The resultant diseases are “the penalty of their error which was due.” Ten years ago I moderated for Jeff Asher in a debate in Denver in which a homosexual bishop of the Metropolitan Community Church defended the homosexual lifestyle. The bishop showed us a memorial book containing the names of several hundred members of his congregation who had died of AIDS.
In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, the apostle Paul warns:
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
The word “homosexuals” (“effeminate,” King James Version) is used “of a boy kept for homosexual relations with a man…. of a male who submits his body to unnatural lewdness.” (Thayer) “Sodomites” (“abusers of themselves with mankind,” KJV) refers to “one who lies with a male as with a female.” Thus, “homosexuals” are those who take the female role in male homosexual intercourse, whereas “sodomites” are those who take the male role. Neither will inherit the kingdom of God.
In 1 Timothy 1:9-10 Paul lists sins that are “contrary to sound doctrine….” Along with “murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, … manslayers, … fornicators, … kidnappers, … liars,” and “perjurers,” he lists “sodomites.”
God has condemned homosexuality in every age
So, what about same sex marriage? The divine rejection of same sex unions emphatically answers the question. Furthermore, in Matthew 19:5-6 the Lord Jesus Christ described marriage as God ordained it as a lifelong union between one man and one woman. The only exception is that one may divorce his/her mate for sexual immorality and remarry (Matthew 19:9). For the disciple of Christ that forever settles the debate over what constitutes marriage acceptable to God.
Often when the sinfulness of homosexuality is pointed out, the guilty plead, “God made me this way. I can’t change.” That is not only a lie, it’s an excuse which removes the hope of heaven from those who accept it. After declaring that the unrighteous, including homosexuals and sodomites, will not inherit the kingdom of God, the apostle thus commended the Corinthian Christians: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” They “were,” past tense, homosexuals and sodomites. But now they “were washed, sanctified,” and “justified.” To be thus they had to “Repent … and be converted.” (Acts 3:19)
I am not “homophobic.” I don’t hate homosexuals; I love them. I have for them a message of love and hope. God didn’t make you homosexual. He loves you and wants you to be saved (John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:3-4). You can change. You can repent. You can be washed, sanctified, and justified. The Lord Jesus did “not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Luke 5:32) We were all once condemned sinners. But those who are Christians repented, came to Christ, and were made righteous by His blood through divine grace. Why don’t you do the same?
Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius, Hebrew-English Lexicon.
Thayer, J.H., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament.
(For a more thorough study of this subject, I recommend
Out of the Closet, by Jeff Asher, a publication of Faith and Facts Press.)