Over the years, I have known several individuals who were homosexual. One man was a youth pastor. This position of ministry gave him the opportunity to have sexual relations with the young men in the church. After his sin was discovered and he was confronted, he found it very hard to stop. It was a struggle. This sin captures the passion and the heart. Some call it an addiction, but scripture calls it sin. The book of Romans tells us why homosexuals engage in this activity. This is a serious sin, and it calls for compassion from those of us who are Christians. But that must not diminish what we call this activity – SIN.
God calls homosexuality sin. A quick look at several passages in scripture reveals that God does consider homosexuality a very serious sin. He has given us several Old Testament illustrations to make His point.
Sodom and Gomorrah. The first one is the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Why did He destroy Sodom and Gomorrah? Our first clues come from Genesis 13 and 18.
Now the men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the LORD . . . (NASB) Genesis 13:13
And the LORD said, “The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave. (NASB) Genesis 18:20
What was their sin? Come and see! God was planning to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah so the scriptures tell us that God sent two angels to rescue Abraham’s nephew, Lot, before He destroyed the cities. When the angels arrived, Lot gave them lodging for the evening. Then trouble started. Here is what happened.
Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; 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 have relations with them.” But Lot went out to them at the doorway, and shut the door behind him, and said, “Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly. Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like; only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof.” (NASB) Genesis 19:4-8
The males of the city were attracted to these two angels. They wanted to have a homosexual relation with the angels. So they came to Lot and asked him to send them outside. Lot tells the men their desire is wicked. The Hebrew word for wicked means “evil.” Lot simply said that homosexual relations were wicked or evil. So Lot refused and instead offered them his two daughters (Gen. 19:8). They rejected his offer. While offering his daughters was a terrible thing for Lot to do, it helps us understand the point of the passage. They wanted physical sex. We are told the angels blinded the men of the city and eventually removed Lot and his family. God destroyed the city because of the homosexuality. Why did He do this?
Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh . . . (NASB) Jude 7
Notice the phrase “strange flesh.” God’s divine pattern for our lives is males with females and not males with males or females with females. It is for that reason that a variation of the name of the city, sodomy, has been used to refer to homosexual behavior (1 Kings 22:46).
Gibeah. Another example of homosexuality occurs in Judges 19, in the city of Gibeah. Here we are told a man and his concubine were traveling and needed a place to stay. They met an older man who offered them lodging. This was the custom in those days since there were no motels or hotels. Scripture says they were eating a meal when men from the city of Gibeah came to the house. Now here is what happened.
While they were making merry, behold, the men of the city, certain worthless fellows, surrounded the house, pounding the door; and they spoke to the owner of the house, the old man, saying, “Bring out the man who came into your house that we may have relations with him.” Then the man, the owner of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my fellows, please do not act so wickedly; since this man has come into my house, do not commit this act of folly. “Here is my virgin daughter and his concubine. Please let me bring them out that you may ravish them and do to them whatever you wish. But do not commit such an act of folly against this man.” (NASB) Judges 19:22-24
Here we see two sins. The first is the desire for a homosexual relation, and the second is the rape and abuse of a woman. The Bible records many things that God does not approve. This is one example. The Bible records what happened to these women as historical events. The Hebrew word the older man used for “wickedly” means “to act senselessly.” It is used with disgraceful sinful acts, so it has the idea of senseless, disgraceful sins. That is homosexuality. Also note these men were bisexual.
God’s Direct Statements
God does not only illustrate the fact that homosexuality is a sin, He says it directly in a number of Old and New Testament passages. Sin does not change with culture. Homosexuality has been a sin since the creation.
Leviticus 18:22; 20:13. In Leviticus 18, God calls homosexuality an abomination. This Hebrew word has the sense of a “violation of nature.” Here is the verse.
You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. (NASB) Leviticus 18:22
Later in chapter 20, we discover that homosexuality is also considered a detestable act.
If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. (NASB) Leviticus 20:13
Notice the person is not detestable – only the act. The Hebrew word for detestable really means “offensive or repugnant.” It is only the sin that is detestable and not the person. God loves the individual.
Deuteronomy 22:5. Not only are same sex relationships a sin, but being a transvestite is a sin.
A woman shall not wear man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God. (NASB) Deuteronomy 22:5
Even dressing up like a member of the opposite sex is a sin. This is a violation of God’s intent for you. God made us to be either male or female. He made no mistakes in our physical appearance since He created us while we were in our mother’s womb.
For You formed my inward parts; you wove me in my mother’s womb. (NASB) Psalm 139:13
So to dress like a member of the opposite sex is a denial of God’s design for you. He wants us to reflect the gender He made us. He makes no mistakes.
Romans 1:21-28. The New Testament agrees with the Old Testament on the topic of same sex relationships. In Romans 1:21-28 we read,
For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened . . . Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper . . . (NASB) Romans 1:21-28
This passage is significant. God calls homosexuality a “degrading passion” or a “dishonoring passion” according to the Greek. It is clear this passage refers to homosexuality since the Greek says “males with males” and females toward one another. Homosexuality is unnatural. God’s divine principle is males with females.
Why are some men and women homosexuals? This passage gives us the answer at the beginning of the passage. They have rejected God, truth, and do not honor God! Consequently, God gives them “over” to same sex relationships. The implication is the individual actively at some point in life rejected truth. The Greek word for “gave over” has the sense of “to deliver”, “to give up to” (as one is given over to police), and “to commit.” When God lets an individual go his or her own way, it appears from verses 29-32 each one is inclined to a different type of sin. Each man or woman is released to follow his or her own sinful desires. It appears God was holding them back. The last verse describes what we are seeing today, not just with homosexuals and lesbians, but with anyone who ultimately rejects God.
. . . those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. (NASB) Romans 1:32
Same sex relationships are sin. Romans implies that at some point in their lives homosexuals have rejected God and God has allowed this sin to control them. Can they have their sins forgiven? The answer starts with them. Do they want to be forgiven? If so, they can be saved.
1 Corinthians 6:9. Men and women who are involved in same sex relationships are sinning. This point is also clear in the following passage.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (NASB) 1 Corinthians 6:9
Same sex sins are listed along with other sins such as fornication, idolatry, covetousness and drunkenness. Same sex sins are dishonoring, repugnant sins but they are still forgivable. Surely, we have all been covetous at some point in our life, but that does not mean we are automatically going to hell. Scripture is not talking about a single event or many acts of sin, but an ongoing pattern of sin. God is talking about those who never come to Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit turn from their sin. We cannot do this on our own. We are totally dependent on God to stop.
1 Timothy 1:10. Same sex sins are not an acceptable, alternative lifestyle either. It is sin. Here is another passage.
But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers . . . (NASB) 1 Timothy 1:8-11
2 Peter 2:5-8. Homosexuality is also referred to as an “ungodly” lifestyle and “sensual conduct.”
. . . and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly thereafter; and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day with their lawless deeds) . . . (NASB) 2 Peter 2:5-8
Those who are homosexual are contrasted with righteous Lot and are referred to as “unprincipled.” It is clear that homosexuality is not the result of biological heredity. It is sin. God did not make these men and women homosexuals from birth. At its root, homosexuality flows out of the sinful nature of the individual given to it. It is a result of a rejection of God at some point in life.
Some homosexuals say that God only condemns unloving same sex relationships. But that is not what God said. God calls same sex relationships sin. In fact, homosexuality is grouped with a number of other sins in Leviticus 20:11-16: a list of perversions such as incest, and bestiality (sex with animals). Homosexuality is a serious sin!
The principle that God gives us is that a male with a female relationship within the bonds of marriage is God’s divine standard for human sexuality. Same sex relationships are a serious sin in God’s eyes. He has called it “unnatural, “repugnant,” “strange flesh,” “a senseless act” and a “dishonoring passion.” There are some sins that God appears to especially hate. This is one of them. But it is also a sin that God will forgive if the individual wants Him to. It is a sin we must forgive as well.
Leonardo da Vinci was one of the outstanding intellects of all history, for he was not only a great painter but a great draftsman, engineer, and thinker. Just before he started painting his “Last Supper” he had a violent argument with a fellow painter. He was so angry that when he came to the face of Judas he put the face of this painter on Judas as an act of revenge. Judas’ face was the first that he finished and everyone could see the face of Judas was the face of the painter that he was angry with. When he came to the face of Christ, he could not make any progress. Something was holding him back. His efforts were frustrated. After awhile he came to the conclusion that the thing that was holding back was the fact that he had painted Judas with the face of the painter. So he went back and painted out the face of Judas and started again with the face of Jesus. This time he was successful as the ages of time have acclaimed. We cannot be painting the features of Christ into our own life and be painting another face with the colors of enmity and hatred. – C.E. MacCartney
Jesus came to forgive our sins and He calls us to forgive also.