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Is Homosexuality Sinful? (Part I)


There’s a graphic floating around facebook that’s entitled, “So You Still Think Homosexuality is Sinful?” and it goes on to use a flowchart to suggest that it’s both logical and sensible to embrace Homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle, even from a Biblical standpoint.

The first red flag is that it doesn’t reference any specific chapter or verse. Beyond that, there’s some stuff there that sounds plausible, but after you pop the hood and do some digging, you discover that it’s not credible at all.

Here we go:

Objection:  Jesus Never Uttered a Word About Same Sex Relationships.

Overruled: Jesus endorsed the Law as being valid and in so doing established homosexuality as being a sin. In addition, Jesus was God in the flesh and in light of the fact that God dictated the whole of Scripture, it is therefore nonsensical to claim that Christ had nothing to say on the matter.

 

Jesus Endorsed the Old Testament as Being Valid

Correct. Jesus never taught on the subject, but Jesus endorsed Old Testament Law as being valid in Matthew 5:17 and that would include God’s specific outlawing of homosexuality. Take a look:

Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable. (Lev 18:22 [see also Lev 20:13])

Homosexuality is Referenced as a Sin Throughout Scripture

In addition, it’s referenced in the New Testament which demonstrates that this is a moral sin that rates a special emphasis in God’s mind in that it shows up throughout Scripture and not just in the New Testament.

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. (Rom 1:27)

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
(1 Cor 6:9)

We know that the law is not meant for a righteous person, but for the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinful, for the unholy and irreverent, for those who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral and homosexuals, for kidnappers,[a] liars, perjurers, and for whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching (1 Tim 1:9-10)

Jesus is God

Another thing to consider is that Jesus is God in the flesh:

I and the Father are one. (Jn 10:30 [see also John 1:1-2; 5:17-18;Heb 1:3])

When Jesus says, “I and the Father are One,” He’s saying that He and God are the same thing. The Greek word means “one and the same,” not “one person, “ but akin to two different names for the same thing. That’s why Calvary worked because it was God Himself Who was paying the penalty for our sins and not just a noble substitute.

So if Jesus is God and vice versa, then to suggest that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality is pointless. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says the entire Bible is God-breathed so Jesus’ perspective on the subject is well represented throughout the Bible in that it is God’s Word and Jesus is God.

Objection: The OT also says it’s sinful to eat shellfish, to wear clothes woven with different fabrics and to eat pork? Should we still live by OT laws?

Overruled: God’s condemning of homosexuality is not limited to the Old Testament Law as has already been mentioned. In addition, the portion of the law that is being referenced here is the judicial law which was fulfilled in Christ. The moral law, however, endures and that includes the condemnation of homosexuality.

 

Homosexuality is Referenced Throughout Scripture

Two things: First off, homosexuality is condemned throughout Scripture so to limit one’s scope to the Old Testament alone and attempt to justify homosexuality by saying it’s an Old Testament law and therefore obsolete is to ignore the way in which it is addressed in the New Testament:

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. (Rom 1:27)

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 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor 6:8-10)

We know that the law is not meant for a righteous person, but for the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinful, for the unholy and irreverent, for those who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral and homosexuals, for kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and for whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching. (1 Tim 1:9-10 [HCSB])

While the Old Testament Law Pertaining to Ceremonial and Judicial Specifics Were Fulfilled in Christ, the Moral Law Still Applies

In addition, it’s important to realize that while the ceremonial and judicial aspects of Old Testament Law having been fulfilled, the moral law still applies.

Here are the OT passages that are deal with the wearing of clothes made of two different fabrics and the eating of shellfish:

Of all the creatures living in the water of the seas and the streams, you may eat any that have fins and scales. 10 But all creatures in the seas or streams that do not have fins and scales—whether among all the swarming things or among all the other living creatures in the water—you are to detest.
(Lev 11:9-10)

Keep my decrees. Do not mate different kinds of animals.
Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material. (Lev 19:19)

And the pig, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. You shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall not touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you. (Lev 11:7-8)

Why God prohibited the consumption of some animals or the wearing of certain types of clothing is speculative. But there are a couple of things about what was going on historically that allow these directives to make some sense.

Israel was surrounded by pagan nations whose practices included the combining of fabrics and different types of seed as part of religious rituals. Moses Maimonides (1135 – 1204) wrote that: “the heathen priests adorned themselves with garments containing vegetable and animal materials, while they held in their hand a seal of mineral. This you will find written in their books.”1 So there’s good reason to believe that one of the reasons that God directed the Israelites to not mix seed or fabrics or different kinds of animals is because by doing so you were engaging in behaviors that were recognized as idolatrous.

As far as why you were to not eat marine life lacking in fins or scales, again it’s possible that due to the diet of the typical pagan, which included shellfish, God was putting up some guard rails that would make it difficult to even eat with those who despised the Lord.2

The point that’s being made the “So You Think Homosexuality is Sinful?” crowd is that if all of these instructions were valid in antiquity, yet not relevant in today’s world then why should God’s command pertaining to homosexuality be any different? If we no longer concern ourselves with combining different types of fabric or abstaining from eating certain types of food, why should homosexuality be an issue?

In the New Testament, Jesus addressed the dietary restrictions that had been established through Moses by saying that it wasn’t what went into a man that made him unclean, rather it was what came out of him that reflected the true condition of his heart.

Consider the following:

17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? 19 For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”) (Mk 7:17-20 [see also 1 Tim 4:3-5])

Jesus often qualified the Law by quoting it and then elaborating on it in order for people to get beyond the letter of the Law and instead obey the spirit and the original intent of the Law. That’s what he was getting at in Matthew 5:17:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (Matt 5:17)

Some will mistakenly interpret Jesus’ quoting the Law as His having a disdain for what He had Moses document centuries before in that He would often add some commentary to what was on the books.

Here’s the thing: The word, “fulfill” doesn’t mean to fill out, as in to add something that was lacking. Rather, it means to fill up. In other words, the law was perfect in its content and purpose which was to identify sin. Paul states that in Romans 7:12 when he refers to the law as holy, righteous and good. Without the law, we wouldn’t recognize sin for what it is nor could we appreciate the need for a Savior and that was the ultimate purpose of the law. When Jesus said that He wasn’t seeking to abolish the law, He was highlighting the fact that He was the Savior that law had been pointing to since its conception. He says in Matthew 5:18:

I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. (Matt 5:18)

In this one verse, you have an amazing collection of Truths that represent the substance of the gospel. When Jesus died on the cross, the ceremonial part of the Law was fulfilled in that no sacrifices would ever be needed again to atone for sin because Jesus was God’s one time, sacrifice for sin. You see that in 1 Peter 3:18:

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, (1 Pet 3:18)

The judicial aspect of the law was the way in which God uniquely dealt with Israel (Lev 26:46; Ps 147:19). It’s in the context of this law that you find the dietary restrictions and instructions pertaining to apparel. But when Israel rejected the Messiah and put Him to death, that was the end of Israel’s distinction as “God’s people” and the beginning of the church which was comprised of both Jews and Gentiles. Hence the abrogation of judicial law, not that it was destroyed but fulfilled in Christ.

Take a look at some of what John MacArthur offers in the way of commentary on this issue:

Look at it this way; this is thrilling. Look at the judicial law and all the various rules that governed the behavior of Israel, all their legal codes, all the things they were supposed to do. Leviticus 26:46, “The statutes and ordinances and laws which the LORD made between Himself and the children of Israel.”

God made special laws with Israel. In Psalm 147:19, “He declares His word to Jacob, His statutes and His ordinances to Israel. He has not dealt so with any nation.” In other words, God had peculiar laws for Israel; this is His judicial law which set them apart. They had certain dietary laws, certail laws of dress, of agriculture, laws within their relationships with certain things they had to do. These set them apart.

You say, “How did Jesus fulfill that?” When Jesus died on the cross, that was the final, full rejection by Israel of her Messiah, right? That was it. And that was the end of God dealing with that nation as a nation. The judicial law that He gave to Israel passed away when God no longer dealt with them as a nation anymore and Jesus built His church. Praise God, someday He will go back and redeem that nation again and deal with them again as a nation. But for this time, when Jesus died on the cross, the judicial law came to a screetching halt. There was no more national people of God. There would be a new man, cut out of Jews and Gentiles, that would be called the church. The judicial law came to an end. That’s why Matthew 21:43 says, “Therefore I say to you, the Kingdom of God will be taken from you.” (http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/2209/christ-and-the-law-part-1)

The one aspect of God’s Law that still applies, however, is His moral law. Not that we need to concern ourselves with the penalty that comes when you disobey His moral law, but as far as how it defines what is right and what is wrong – that aspect of God’s moral law is still binding.

John MacArthur elaborates on that point when he says:

The same thing is said in Romans 6:14, and we could spend forever on this principle. “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law.” What does he mean, that you don’t have to do anything any more? Do you not have to live a moral life or obey God? No! What he means is that you are no longer under the power of the penalty of the law. It can’t kill you anymore; you can only die once. That’s all, only once. Christ died on the Cross, and you, by faith, died in Him. That pays the penalty, so in that sense, you are no longer under the law. That is, the law has no power to slay you. The law had a penalty, the wages of sin is death, and Christ took the penalty. (http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/2211/christ-and-the-law-part-3)

The whole judicial system was only good as long as Israel was God’s people. When that was over, the system was over. The ceremonial system was only good until the final sacrifice came, and when it came, then the system was done away. That only leaves one element of God’s law abiding still, and what is that? The moral law. That’s what undergirded everything. That will be with us until we see Him face to face. (http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/2209/christ-and-the-law-part-1)

So to imply that the Old Testament laws which no longer apply to the New Testament church include God’s ruling against homosexuality is neither Biblical let alone logical.

 

Proceed to Part II by clicking here




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