Part III of an article designed to answer the question: “Is homosexuality sinful?”
Sin is against God. The number of people your rebellion affects, while that does matter, is subordinate to the fact that you’ve rebelled against your Heavenly Father.
The fact that there were less people in the world when the Pentateuch was written has no bearing on the substance of the moral law that God laid down. If we were to extend the logic of this argument to its inevitable conclusion, then murder wouldn’t be as much of a problem because there are more people today than when God first said, “Thou shalt not kill.”
The issue is sin and not the number of people that sin may or may not affect. A great verse to consider when you’re looking for a good example on how to process wrongdoing in general is 2 Samuel 12:13:
Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” (2 Sam 12:13)
The prophet Nathan had just confronted King David with the fact that he had committed adultery and murder. David killed a man in order to cover up the fact that he had slept with his wife. Bound up within that one scandal, you had two capital offenses (see Lev 20:10; 24:17). Yet, David doesn’t respond according to the way in which a convicted felon might agonize over the manner of justice that’s about to be handed down by the courts, or how his actions affected the surviving family members of his victim. Rather, David responds by acknowledging that his actions, while they are crimes that will be processed and punished by human institutions, they are first and foremost sins against God.
However sin pollutes and contaminates an otherwise innocent and healthy situation in a physical sense, it is in the spiritual realm where sin is first registered.
Look at these verses:
Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord. (Gen 13:13)
No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?
(Gen 39:9 [Joseph explaining to Potiphar’s wife that the compromise she was encouraging him to make would be registered, not only as a sin against his master, but more importantly, against God.])
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. (Ps 51:3-4)
Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
(Lk 15:18 [The confession the Prodigal Son made to his father upon his return.])
Matthew Henry offers some great commentary on this Truth:
That it was committed against God. To him the affront is given, and he is the party wronged. It is his truth that by wilful sin we deny, his conduct that we despise, his command that we disobey, his promise that we distrust, his name that we dishonour, and it is with him that we deal deceitfully and disingenuously. (Matthew Henry Commentary on Psalm 51)
The substance of sin cannot be dismissed by suggesting that because a particular act affected only a few, that it’s no longer categorized as wrongdoing. Granted, the sins of those in Sodom are referenced throughout Scripture as being especially significant in that their acts were not only twisted, they were also blatant (see Is 3:9). And while some want to insist that God loves the sinner and hates the sin, fact is there are some who have worn out their welcome and God allows them to experience the full extent of the consequences their chosen depravity produces (see Ps 11:5; Rom 1:18-32).
But the point is that regardless of the intensity of a person’s sin, it is sin and it is an offense against God. The argument that homosexuality is not an issue anymore because an abundance of human offspring is no longer a priority, leaves out the fact that homosexuality is a sin because it is first an affront to God. Whatever dynamics are produced from a human standpoint are secondary to the fact that it is God Who is offended and that is the determining factor.
Avoiding sin translates to a quality life
Throughout Scripture, you’ve got a formula:
Obedience to God = Blessing | Rebellion Against God = Trouble
First off, if you love God then obedience is expected (see Jn 14:21). Someone who claims to love God, yet maintains a consistent pattern of disobedience to God’s commands falls under the category described in 1 John 3:6:
No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. (1 Jn 3:6)
Being obedient isn’t always easy. You see that struggle described in Romans 7 where Paul elaborates on the constant tension that exists between the obvious good represented by being obedient to God’s Leadership and the pointless mirage of seemingly logical and attractive options provided by one’s sinful nature.
But while it isn’t easy, it’s more than do-able and the payoff makes the effort more than worth it. The key is to simply let Christ work in and through you:
9You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ…13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live…(Rom 8:9, 13)
for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Phil 2:13)
To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me. (Col 1:29 [see also Heb 13:20-21])
However attractive or insignificant sin may appear to be, or however trivial a certain sinful behavior seems, it’s counterproductive to the success and prosperity we all long for (see Josh 1:8). So rather than trying to justify it, the smart play is to simply recognize it for what it is and avoid it altogether.
To proceed to Part IV click here…