‘Can I talk with you?’ said the young man at the end of our Monday night Charismatic gathering, held in a Methodist Church in Sydney, Australia. It was back in the early 1970’s and this fine looking young man, who declared himself to be both a Charismatic Christian and a homosexual, was asking me how I felt about Christians and homosexuality. Now, while I had known gay people in the past, this was the first time I had received such a direct question in the context of a Christian gathering and I sought to answer his question as best as I could at that time. This was over forty years ago and a lot has happened since that time.
Recently I shared a series of messages on marriage in my church, the last one entitled ‘Marriage, Gay Marriage and Homosexuality.’ Let me share some of the thoughts I gave in those messages –
THE REAL AND THE COUNTERFEIT
When people are trained to spot counterfeit dollar notes, I understand they spend time studying, not a counterfeit dollar bill, but the real thing. So, if you are going to look at gay marriage for instance, you need to start off by looking at the real thing – biblical marriage.
GOD’S ORIGINAL PLAN FOR MARRIAGE
God’s original plan was a united, committed, permanent relationship between a man and a woman that we call traditional marriage. The scriptural basis for this is –
Genesis 1:26 – 28 – ‘And God created them, male and female, blessed them and told them to be fruitful and multiply.’ This brings us to the further purpose of marriage to bear children and create families.
Genesis 2:18 – 24 – ‘A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall be one flesh.’ In early bible days, you simply left your parents home and moved into your husband’s home. See Isaac and Rebekah in Genesis 24:67.
JESUS AFFIRMS THE ORIGINAL PLAN FOR MARRIAGE
In Matthew 19:3-9, Jesus affirmed the permanence of the marriage union between one man and one woman and at the same time recognized the issue of sexual sin. Some people claim that Jesus did not say anything against gay marriage. No – he didn’t directly, but he spelt out what a biblical marriage was and outside of that, believers are called to be sexually pure and celibate.
SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP AND MARRIAGE
The original intention was for sexual relationships to be set within the covenant relationship of marriage. Hence there are three specific sexual sins (There are others, but these three are the one that we need to look at here) –
- Fornication – Sex involving unmarried people. I Cor. 6:18 – 19.
- Adultery – Sex involving married people other than your spouse. Exodus 20:14, Ten Commandments – ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ More specific details in Deuteronomy 22:13 – 30
- Homosexuality – Sex involving people of the same gender (Gay – men, Lesbian – women) Leviticus 18:22.
Now, all three, according to God’s word, are considered sexual sins. We need to remember this, least we think of homosexuality as the only or worst sin. We also need to note that temptation is not sin. It is what you do with temptation. It is not wrong to be tempted, even about same sex attraction, but how you respond can lead to sin.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SPECIFICALLY SAY ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY
Let’s look at some key scriptures –
- Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13 – ‘You shall not lie with a man as with a woman. It is an abomination. ‘
- Romans 1:24 – 32 – Read the whole passage and you will see it is very direct and that here it is called ‘shameful.’ (See also I Corinthians 6:9 – 11, 15 – 19 and I Timothy 1:10) To note a few of these verses –
- Verse 24 ‘Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness in the lust of their hearts, to dishonor, their bodies among themselves.’
- Verse 25 ‘They exchanged the trust of God for the lie.’
- Verse 26 ‘For this reason, God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.’
- Verse 27 ‘Likewise also, men leaving the natural use of the women burned in lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful.’
Many have tried to interpret these Scriptures in different ways, but the plain meaning of the Word of God is that homosexuality is a sexual sin.
So Scripture has some pretty strong words and warnings about the sin of homosexuality. We also need to note, that from a biblical point of view, the rise of homosexuality is a sign that society is in the last stage of decay.
Now, lest we take a self righteous attitude in the midst of all this let us do three things –
- Recognize that all sin is sin and all of us stand guilty and in need of the cleansing blood of Jesus.
- Feel God’s heart for the sinner and that includes homosexuals. God loves them and so should we.
- Pray for people to know the truth, for the truth will shall set them free. (John 8:32)
In the next Langstaff Letter, we will continue this series and look at 5 Myths about Homosexuality and Gay Marriage.