In any discussion of opposing groups regarding the topic of homosexuality, there are a litany of “facts” provided. Whether the issue is the number of practicing homosexuals, the health risks, the prevalence of violence in homosexual relationships, the number of faithful or promiscuous partners, the conversion to heterosexuality, or the genetic factors suggested to influence homosexuality, there is debate. An examination of human studies, polls of acceptance, or agendas of various homosexual proponents is not the focus of this article. What does the Bible say regarding the practice of homosexuality? This is the central thrust. Christians as a priesthood of God (1 Pet. 2:9) have a responsibility to teach the truth of God’s Word (Matt. 28:19-20) and protect it (1 Pet. 3:15).
1 John 4:21 declares: “And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also.” This is the obligation of a Christian. The command of loving mankind applies to everyone. It applies to those in all manner of goodness or sin. Jesus came to save those in sin (1 Tim. 1:15). “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). However, the times of ignorance are over and man is called upon by God to repent (Acts 17:30). Thus, it should be the loving motivation of Christians to share the truth of God’s Word to all mankind with no partiality (James 2:1).
Christ declared he would establish his church (Matt. 16:16-18). After Jesus’ resurrection, he declared, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18). He promised the apostles that the Holy Spirit would reveal to them “all truth” and “bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:26; 16:13). This leads us to the following statement by the apostle Peter: “Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:20-21).
The great importance of this verse is the fact that the apostles did not write by conjecture, cultural teachings, or personal opinion. The words they wrote were directly from God and are the teachings of Jesus.
The gospel which Jesus preached was heralded with the coming of John the Baptizer (Mark 1:1). Under that gospel Jesus declared the only people who would enter the eternal kingdom of heaven would be “he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). This was the one gospel of the kingdom (Eph. 4:5; Gal. 1:6-9; Jude 3). With the crucifixion of Jesus, the Law of Moses (given only to the nation of Israel) which was old and ready to disappear became obsolete (Heb. 8:13). On the day of Pentecost when the first Christians were added to the church (Acts 2:47), the new covenant of the teachings of Christ came into effect. The Holy Spirit was poured out and the apostles were given the promised truth. The keys of the gospel were used as commanded by the apostles. The teachings Jesus taught during his life were being taught to the world. The entire world became subject to the law of Christ.
As the teachings of Jesus Christ from his apostles are examined, it is of interest to note that there is no same-sex couple ever mentioned in the New Testament (nor is there in the Old Testament). When Jesus discusses marriage, he talks of man and woman (Matt. 19:1-9; Mark 10:6-9; Matt. 15:1-12; 5:31-32; cf. Deut. 24:1-2; et al). The apostles who shared Christ’s teachings through the Holy Spirit also spoke of marriage between a man and a woman (Rom. 7:2; 1 Cor. 7; 1 Tim. 5:9-14; Matt. 22:25; Mark 6:17; Luke 14:20; Eph. 5:22-33; et al). The mention of any marriage by the same sex is completely absent from scripture. The question of whether or not man is authorized to marry a woman or a woman a man is clearly answered in scripture and its guidelines are also clearly taught. God has authorized the marriage of a man and a woman (Matt. 19:5) and Jesus establishes that as a teaching from the beginning of mankind.
Matthew 22:23-32 discusses the resurrection of mankind and mentions the subject of marriage while doing so. Jesus demonstrated from the Old Testament scriptures that there is an afterlife. He was encouraging the Sadducees who were questioning him to use the words of God to infer a given truth. There must be an afterlife if physical beings who had died were spoken of as alive. He then mentioned that marriage does not exist in the afterlife, speaking again only of marriage between a man and a woman. Following the example and authority of Jesus, if scripture only speaks of a man and a woman being married then marriage applies to only them. It does not authorize the marriage of a man and an animal. It does not authorize the marriage of two non-human beings. It does not authorize the marriage of two people of the same sex. It authorizes only the marriage of a man and a woman. By this alone, this discussion could finish. However, we will continue.
The New Testament is not silent about the sexual habits of same-sex individuals. Romans 1:18-2:8 establishes that those who engage in activity which is ungodly and unrighteous will face God’s judgment. If they do not repent, their stubborn disobedience will cause them to experience God’s wrath. Is the activity of homosexuals ungodly and unrighteous? This passage says yes. The women desired women, something God calls unnatural (v. 26). The men desire men, also abandoning their natural function. What is natural? God established man and woman to come together to create offspring. They were to share their desires together in marriage, not in unauthorized, unnatural, sexual sin. God declares such people who do not repent to be worthy of death (v. 32). That judgment is in the hand of God. Understand clearly, God does not wish that upon them (2:4; cf. John 3:16; 2 Pet. 3:9). However, death is what they choose if they reject God and continued in an unauthorized lifestyle.
The covenant of Christ in the New Testament says: “But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; according to the glorious gospel of the blessed god, which was committed to my trust” (1 Tim. 1:8-11, emp. added).
The phrase “for them that defile themselves with mankind” is the Greek word arsenokoitēs. Thayer defines it as “someone who lies with a male as a female.” In other words, a homosexual. This passage speaks of such behavior as “contrary to sound doctrine.” It is lumped in with other sinful behaviors and appropriately assigned with that which is called “lawless and disobedient.” Those who are disobedient will “pay the penalty of eternal destruction away from the presence of the Lord” (2 Thess. 1:6-10).
Paul discussed the sinful behavior of the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. He declared they had repented from a number of sins which would have kept them from the kingdom of God. Among those sins from which they had repented was homosexuality, translated from the same Greek word previously discussed. While the ultimate penalty of punishment is the same as previously mentioned, the concept of repentance is still very alive in the text. One practicing homosexuality does indeed have the option of stopping his or her behavior and thus is able to please God.
There are those who declare they were born with desires for the same sex. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, I will not argue genetic factors. An examination of scripture finds an answer for the proposition that at birth there was such a desire. Paul stated, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that year are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13).
Furthermore, James also said, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” (James 1:12).
Temptation is part of our life upon the earth. Yet, giving into it is not something from which we cannot escape. There are all manners of sins which entrap mankind every day. Through Christ we can triumph in this swiftly fleeting stay on earth. We can overcome our trials with love for God and one another by authorized behavior in Christ (John 14:15).
Travis has been a minister in the Lord’s church for over 15 years. He is the creator of www.churchofchristarticles.com.