THE GAY QUESTION, PART 1

In the wake of Christian artist Jennifer Knapp’s decision to “come out” and the constant bombardment of the homosexual agenda, I thought I’d take a few blogs and try to tackle this one. Please understand that blogs are limited in how effectively I can communicate, and I encourage you to study the matter further yourself. Also, let me say up front that I do not hate gay people, nor do I believe that God hates gay people, but I do want to encourage Christians to think biblically about the issue. I am trying to be neither culturally relevant nor condemning in these blogs. My intent is to be truthful and loving about this topic.

My hope over the next few blogs is to try to answer a few questions:

Is homosexuality a sin? Can a person be gay and be a Christian? What attitude should Christians have toward homosexuality?

Let’s try to tackle the first question in this blog: Is homosexuality a sin?

First of all, it’s not possible for any sane, logical person to read the Bible and walk away with the conclusion that homosexuality is not considered a sin by the teachings of Judaism or Christianity. To conclude that homosexuality is not a sin requires an extreme manipulation of the Scriptures, no different than the boy who tries to convince his friend that chickens are frogs. Verses like these make it pretty plain:

Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” (Leviticus 18:22)

If a man practices homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman, both men have committed a detestable act.” (Leviticus 20:13)

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” (Romans 1:26-27)

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders…will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10b)

Common objections by gay sympathizers are the claims that Jesus never said anything condemning homosexuality and that since we are not under the laws of the Old Testament, why must we condemn homosexuality? Let me try a brief answer at these arguments.

1. “Jesus never said anything about homosexuality.” OK…this is ludicrous. First of all, Jesus consistently identified fornication (sex outside of marriage) and adultery (sex with someone other than your spouse) as sin (Matthew 5:27-30, John 8:11). Since homosexual marriage was forbidden in Jewish law, we can safely assume that every time Jesus spoke about adultery and fornication, he included homosexuality. Secondly, Jesus was a devout Jew who came to fulfill the Law of the Old Testament in himself, keeping every law perfectly so that he could be the perfect sacrifice for sins. He submitted to the Law. Among the Jewish law, of course, was the view that homosexuality is a sin. He could not have been “the Lamb of God that was slain for the sins of the whole world” if he did not believe that homosexuality was a sin.

2. “We are not under Old Testament law.” People who use this argument commonly cite what appears in a modern culture to be absurd Old Testament laws like not eating shrimp (Leviticus 11:10) or women being forbidden to wear men’s clothes (Deuteronomy 22:5). Here’s some other Old Testament laws they may cite:

When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are.” (Exodus 21:7) Obviously, this law permits selling your daughter into slavery.

If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son…all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.” (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)

He that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.”  (Exodus 21:17)

The reasoning is, if we determine that homosexuality is a sin because of Old Testament law, then why don’t we keep these other laws, too?

First of all, we need not look only to the Old Testament to find the biblical view of homosexuality, as I’ve already shown. That said, let’s consider the Old Testament in the New Testament world. We must understand the nature of Old Testament law in order to grasp the proper view of homosexuality.

The Old Testament law may be dissected into three parts: the ceremonial law, the judicial law, and the moral law. The ceremonial law was given to govern worship in the Jewish temple system. The judicial law was given to govern Israel. The moral law was given to govern all of life.

Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial law in Himself through his sinless life and the cross, and announced the end of sacrificial (ceremonial) worship when he said to the Pharisees in Matthew 23:28, “See, your house is left to you desolate!”

As far as the judicial law, Gentiles (non-Jews) are obviously not required to submit as foreigners to the government of Israel.

So we see that we are exempt from the ceremonial and judicial law of the Old Testament. The moral law, however, is still intact in the New Testament for all people at all times. Paul said in Romans 3:31, “Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law.”

In other words, as we trust in Christ’s work on the cross through faith, the Holy Spirit indwells us, and gives us the grace to fulfill the law, not outwardly, but inwardly through a transformed heart. My point is that homosexuality is not suddenly considered good in the New Testament. The moral law of God forbids it. But God did not just say, “Don’t do that!” He empowers all who live by faith to gain victory over sin.

This is why Paul said in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” In other words, as we live in the Spirit, we will begin to do the things the moral law requires, but not by striving and straining, but as a miracle of the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit.

Grace is not permission to sin. It does not alter the definition of sin. Grace is a way out of sin, including homosexuality.

Next week, I’ll try by God’s grace to tackle the next question: Can a person be gay and be a Christian?

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