HOMOSEXUALS AND LESBIANS:

Sanctified or Sinners?

by Ted J. Clarke

Introduction

On the ABC Television Network’s ‘Turning Point,’ November 7, 1996, Elizabeth Vargas did a report entitled, “Same Sex Marriages, For Better of For Worse?” Toward the end of the piece an Episcopal priest led a procession carrying a cross. There were two men hand in hand, and two women also walking hand in hand. The priest said a ceremony of “union” for the two men and the two women. As the men looked at each other and the two women did the same, in unison they repeated the words, “I will be your partner, your lover, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” These people claim that the Bible does not condemn same sex relationships and marriages, that it only speaks out against homosexual and lesbian relationships when they are “abusive,” not when they are committed monogamous relationships. When two homosexual men or two lesbian women are in such relationships, we are told, God accepts them completely and so should we. Does the Bible teach that God approves of these relationships? It does not!

When Alfred Kinsey did his infamous research on the sexual habits of the human male, he concluded that 10% of the population were homosexual. Kinsey’s study is known to be severely flawed, since part of his sampling used men in prison where normal sexual relations of men with women were not an option. The National Opinion Research Center says that its surveys between 1989-1992 showed 2.8% of the men surveyed were exclusively homosexual and 2.5% of the women were exclusively lesbian. The National Survey of Men reported that only 1.1% had been exclusively homosexual in the previous year. This one to three percent is well below Kinsey’s erroneous data on the subject.

However, it is certainly true that these small percentages are vocally loud! They have influenced the President to implement a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the military; they have influenced large corporations like AT&T and Disney to give them the same benefits as legally married men and women; they have influenced some state legislatures to give them preferential treatment, claiming to be a minority which is discriminated against like blacks and women. Of course, one cannot help being born black or a woman, but it has not been proven that one cannot help being homosexual or lesbian. How do you think the government or these corporations would respond to me (a white male), if I went to them and said, “I want you to consider me as a black woman. I just can’t help but think of myself as a black woman and I want all the minority rights you would give to her.”? Well, they would usher me right to the nearest exit, and rightly so. Saying I feel black and feel like a woman wouldn’t make me a black woman. Neither does someone saying he or she feels like loving someone of the same sex mean that God made them that way. In fact, this is a watershed as to whether or not one believes the Bible, since it condemns all homosexual/lesbian relationships; and it will determine whether or not the God of the Bible is truly the God He claims to be. If homosexuals cannot help being what they are (they claim God made them that way), but yet the Bible condemns homosexuality and says they will be eternally lost, then God is not a just God and the Bible is not worth following.

Is There A “Gay” Gene?

One researcher named Simon LeVay, looking into the possibility of being “born gay, pointed in his studies to a section of the brain in homosexuals which seemed to be smaller in “gays” than in heterosexual men. Since this area of the brain was known to house the sexual stimulus of a man toward a woman, this researcher decided this indicated some people are born to be homosexuals. However, other scientists said, “Wait a minute.”‘ Perhaps this area of the brain is smaller, not because it was so at birth, but because this part of the brain was not used as intended, in developing social relationships with women. God’s law in all creation is use it or lose it. Other parts of the brain show similar types of shrinkage from non-use, so this claim of LeVay does not prove homosexuals are born that way.

Another claim for homosexuals being “born” that way comes from some work done by J. Michael Bailey and Richard C. Rillard. These men said they discovered that 52% of identical twin brothers are both gay, while only 22% of non-twin brothers are gay. This, we are told, means that if homosexuality has a genetic basis, many of the second twins should also be gay.” But again, “Wait a minute.”‘ If homosexuality has a genetic basis and identical twins have identical genetic makeup (and it is identical), then 100% of the second twins should be gay, not just 52%. If nearly half are not gay then there is no genetic factor making someone gay. The fact that there is an unusual closeness between most twins, along with other environmental and developmental factors, could account for the high percentage of gay identical twins. Don’t blame God. Additionally, if being homosexual was genetic, then one could not change that any more than one could make his blue eyes brown or his black skin yellow. Yet many who have been practicing homosexuals or lesbians have changed their sexual orientation to heterosexuality, simply by their own will to do so. Homosexuality is “want to,” not “have to.”

Old Testament Condemnation of Homosexuality

Early in Scripture the Bible discusses the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 13:13, saying, “But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.” Before going further, remember the natural state in which God created mankind “male and female,” telling them to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish [literally=fill] the earth” (Genesis 1:27-28). It took a male and female to multiply, and it still does today, the natural way God created and intended for all time. The account is expanded in Genesis 2:18-24 as it discusses the “one flesh” relationship of the man and woman. Trying to become one flesh in any other way is unnatural and sinful.

Genesis, chapter 19, clearly condemns homosexuality. The angels who came in the “form” of men to rescue Lot before God destroyed Sodom, were sought out by the men of Sodom, who did not know that they were heavenly messengers. Lot persuaded the angels not to stay in the street that night, aware that the men of Sodom would sexually attack them. Even in Lot’s own house the men of Sodom came to take them out of Lot’s care, that they might “know them” (Genesis 19:1-5). The word for “know” is a common Hebrew word used hundreds of times in the Old Testament for “to get to know, become familiar with.” However, there are times when it has a definite sexual connotation, as it does here. It is used of Adam’s sexual relations with Eve in Genesis 4:1, 25, and of Cain with his wife (4:17). This use of “knowing” someone sexually was also common in the language of the New Testament. Joseph “knew not” Mary until alter Jesus was born (Matthew 1:25). We use the word “know” in the same sense today, when we speak of carnal knowledge, meaning things sexual.

The fact that Lot offered his virgin daughters to these Sodomite men illustrates the extreme vulgarity with which Lot viewed this sin. The men rejected Lot’s offer, showing the depravity of mind they possessed (Genesis 19:7-9). We do not claim that Lot was right in what he did. Not at all! He had placed himself in a wicked environment and had stayed in that area to maintain his wealth, in spite of the horrible sins of the people which vexed his own soul (2 Peter 2:6-7). He was now desperate to show the Lord his concern for the heavenly messengers. Jude 7 answers the argument of some homosexuals that Sodom’s sin was simply being “inhospitable.” Jude writes, “Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. “The word “fornication” means all illicit sex, specifically “going after strange flesh,” here meaning the unnatural desire of men to have sex with other men.

Leviticus 20:13 clearly states, “If a man also lie with mankind (other men), as he lieth with a woman, both of them hath committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” Homosexuals who seek God’s approval for their wicked deeds say this verse merely prohibits homosexual rape, not a loving relationship between two consenting members of the same sex. However, “both, they, them” have committed an abomination worthy of death under Old Testament law. This is not speaking of forced rape, but mutually consensual sex. That is why “both” were condemned! What about verse 15 which says, “And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast.” Does that mean this verse is a law against raping a beast? If the man had a “loving relationship” with the beast, would that be all right? Ridiculous? Yes, and so is the idea that the Lord was only prohibiting homosexual rape. Rape is prohibited, both in Leviticus 18 and chapter 20, and distinctions are made between rape and homosexuality. Just as rape is wrong in every case and sex with animals is wrong in every case, so it is wrong in every case for a man to lie with another man, or a woman to lie with another woman. It is an “abomination!” (Leviticus 18:22)

New Testament Condemnation of Homosexuality

In discussing the horrible sins of the Gentile world, Paul did not neglect homosexual and lesbian activities. Speaking of these sexual sins in Romans 1:24-27, Paul noted that “God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet [fitting].” These acts of sexual immorality did not come from minds which God made to be that way or being born that way, but “through the lusts of their own hearts.” Notice also that Paul is not describing homosexual rape, but all homosexuality! These men were not raping one another, they were “burn[ing] in their lust one toward another.” This is mutual reciprocal lust, not rape. Men do not have any God given inclination nor right to burn in lust for other men, nor women for women. Such is “uncleanness, unnatural, and unseemly.”

First Corinthians 6:9-11 also speaks out against homosexuality (and lesbianism) when it says, ‘Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind… shall inherit the kingdom of God.” Sexual sins will keep one from heaven, whether fornication, adultery, or homosexuality. The “effeminate” are men who “play” the more passive role of a woman in a homosexual relationship, while the “abusers of themselves with mankind” are the more active aggressors “playing” the role of a man. I say “playing” these roles because neither is truly being what God created them to be. A homosexual man may “play” the role of the woman, but he is not a woman. The homosexual man only “plays” the role as a man, because he is unnaturally making love to another man and that is not what God created man to do sexually. Both will be lost unless they repent through faith in Christ and obey the gospel. After naming an entire list of sins, sexual and otherwise, Paul said of the Corinthians, “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). While some of the Corinthians had been homosexuals, they had to quit practicing those acts when they became Christians, just like the thieves had to quit stealing and the drunkards had to quit drinking. If they did not, they could not enter God’s kingdom, receiving forgiveness of sins.

Conclusion

In addition to sexual perversion, homosexuals and lesbians who strangely seek to have the approval of God for their abominations commit another type of perversion. They pervert the text of the Scriptures to justify their perverted acts of sex. Believers in the Bible and the God of the Bible cannot surrender what the Scriptures teach on this topic without removing all hope for the salvation of homosexuals and lesbians. Unless they are taught the truth on these matters and give up these ungodly sexual acts; coming to God through faith in Christ (Hebrews 11:6), repenting from past sins (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized into Christ to have their sins washed away (Acts 2:38; 22:16), they will not, they cannot be saved!

While the Bible shows the unnatural status of homosexuality, it is a sin no greater than many others which will keep us from heaven. Other sexual sins will also keep us out of the kingdom. To speak out against homosexuality is no worse than speaking out against idolatry, stealing, lying, adultery, etc. One is not being homophobic (afraid of homosexuals) when one objects to their often-obscene public behavior and tries to teach them the truth of the gospel, encouraging them to repent and change their ways. Still, this is not just another type of illicit sexual activity; it changes the very nature which God created in us into something so unnatural that it cannot fulfill the purpose for which God originally made us male and female and gave the institution of marriage (Genesis 1 & 2). It can destroy souls, families, and nations. Love the souls of homosexuals and seek to convert them to Christ, but do not surrender one particle of biblical truth in your approach to them. Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), wielding the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17).

Is God a priority in your life?

Most people would say finding a job when your unemployed becomes a priority. When you are in great pain, finding relief is a priority. If, in the middle of the night, your are awakened by water dripping in your face because of a roof that is in need of repair, repairing the roof becomes a priority. In life, those matters most important and urgent to us, are the ones to which we attend. How important is God to your? Is He a priority in your life?

Are You A Doer?

  • (James 1:22 NIV) “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
  • (Rom 2:13 NJKV) “for not the hearers of the Law are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.”

These verses indicate how important it is that we be an active participant in God’s church. Many churches today have too many members sitting on the sidelines. The big question is why do so many Christians try to just get by and just do the minimum? Unfortunately, to many Christians, God is not a priority in their life. Their actions indicate this very clearly. Therefore, we ought to ask the question, what is involved in being a Christian?

It is more than attending services a few times a week. It is more than remaining morally pure. It is imperative that we go beyond superficial perceptions of what a Christian is. To a Christian, God must be the most important thing in his/her life. To emphasize this, look at Mk. 12:30, “‘And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.” In order to better understand this, look at these illustrations:

  • A man who never wants to be with his family–Is his family a priority in this man’s life?
  • A man is constantly late for work, takes long breaks and lunches, and leaves early every day. Is this man wholly committed to his job?
  • A man one day a week speaks sweetly to his wife, tells her how much he loves her, takes her out to dinner and takes care of all her needs. But, the other six days a week he ignores her, refuses to take care of any of her needs and in many ways tries to act as if he isn’t married. Can it honestly be said this man loves his wife?

Another important aspect of being a Christian is being willing to serve others. It is interesting to note, the criteria for judgment found in Matt. 25:31-46 is serving others. From this, it would appear God places a very high value on service.

Do you find Bible study a delight or drudgery? Notice what David said in Psa 1:2 (NKJV) “But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.” People use many excuses to justify their failure to study the Bible. “I don’t have the time.” I don’t understand what I read.” “It’s boring.” Friends, it all comes down to a matter of motivation. Let me illustrate this point. Your boss calls you into his office and offers you a huge promotion. Your salary will increase significantly. The only question your boss asks is would you be willing to attend a special night class that would take about a year to complete. You respond by saying, “Certainly.” You see; motivation is everything.

In 1 Pet. 2:21, we are instructed to follow in Christ’s footsteps. In Matt. 16:24, Jesus says, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” One little mental exercise that often helps to determine if I should do something or not, is asking my self the question, “What would Jesus do?” To fully understand this, let’s take a look some different scenarios.

  • Your tired, you’ve had a hard day, you would like to stay home and not attend mid-week Bible study. What would Jesus do?
  • Some one approaches you and begins to tell you about the terrible things someone you know has done. You know this is gossip, but it sure is interesting. What would Jesus do?
  • Someone has hurt you terribly and you have hard feelings for that person. This person comes to you and seeks forgiveness. However, you don’t know if you can forgive them. What would Jesus do?
  • Young people: You’re at one of your friend’s houses. You didn’t know there would be alcohol and other drugs at the party. It seems as if all your friend are drinking and having a good time. One of your friends hands you a beer and says, “Here, have some fun. One beer isn’t going to hurt you.” You begin to think your friend is right. What would Jesus do?

We all know the reaction of Jesus would be to do His Father’s will. What about you? Are you a Christian? Is God a priority in your life?

A Time to Reflect

Another Year is upon us. And, once again, we are faced with the idea of “What shall we do with this new year?” What will we do different in 2019 than we did in 2018, or the years before that? What will this year bring? Joy and happiness, or sadness and sorrow? Some of this will depend on us and our plans for the year!

We also know that there are some things that will happen that we have no control over. But, we also know that how we respond will make a difference. We can control our attitude and response to these things, or we can allow the problems to affect our attitudes. Which will it be?

One of the ideas we find in scripture is the that we have more control over our thoughts and emotions than perhaps we think. Consider again how Paul and Silas rejoiced in prison and sing psalms and hymns to God (Acts 16:23-26; esp. v. 25). Or how Job, with all of his problems, kept his faith in God, even though he would have liked an explanation as to WHY he had to suffer.

New Year’s gives us an opportunity to engage in introspection and reflection. Can we look honestly at this last year and say that we have improved spiritually? Have we learned some new things that will help us in our jobs or in our relationships in our family? What about our relationship with Jesus? What about our relationships with our brethren at South Cobb? Is the church better today because we are better and stronger Christians? Have we helped to build, or become a tool of Satan and tear down?

What did you do wrong this year? What did you do right?

Did you start off with good intentions – such as being a daily Bible reader? Did you allow the things of the world to cause you to lose focus on eternity? Did you accomplish anything this year that brought you closer to God and His Son? What would you have done differently? What will you DO differently this year that might cause you to become a better Christian?

Paul stressed constantly that Christians should live a certain way to exemplify Christ in them. One example is in Ephesians 4:1-3, where he emphasized that that we are to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” I’m not sure about what you think, but just these verses will keep me busy this year. How about you? What are your goals this year?

WILL YOU HELP ME BE A BETTER CHRISTIAN THIS YEAR? Will you ask me how I am doing spiritually? Will I offend you if I asked you the same thing?

We live life one day at a time – we need to break down what we plan to do for the year one day at a time. We need to make a list of what we will do and then go from there! So, what will you do TOMORROW (if God grants us tomorrow) to be a better Christian? And how will you build on that the day after, and the day after, and the day after . . .

I Searched for a Man

The prophet Ezekiel is a contemporary of Jeremiah. While Jeremiah warns of coming calamity from inside Jerusalem, Ezekiel speaks similar messages among those already taken captive. Ezekiel 22 is a summary indictment of Judah and clearly displays the reason for God’s punitive actions.

* “Behold, the rulers of Israel, each according to his power, have been in you for the purpose of shedding blood” (22:6).

* “Slanderous men have been in you for the purpose of shedding blood, and in you they have eaten at the mountain shrines. In your midst they have committed acts of lewdness” (22:9).

* “In you they have uncovered their fathers’ nakedness; in you they have humbled her who was unclean in her menstrual impurity. One has committed abomination with his neighbor’s wife and another has lewdly defiled his daughter-in-law. And another in you has humbled his sister, his father’s daughter” (22:10-11).

* “In you they have taken bribes to shed blood; you have taken interest and profits, and you have injured your neighbors for gain by oppression, and you have forgotten Me” (22:12).

* “There is a conspiracy of her prophets in her midst like a roaring lion tearing the prey. They have devoured lives; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in the midst of her” (22:25).

* “Her priests have done violence to My law and have profaned My holy things; they have made no distinction between the holy and the profane…and they hide their eyes from My sabbaths, and I am profaned among them” (22:26).

* “Her princes within her are like wolves tearing the prey, by shedding blood and destroying lives in order to get dishonest gain” (22:27).

* “Her prophets have smeared whitewash for them, seeing false visions and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ when the LORD has not spoken” (22:28).

* “The people of the land have practiced oppression and committed robbery, and they have wronged the poor and needy and have oppressed the sojourner without justice” (22:29).

Ezekiel 22:18-19 NAS95 18 “Son of man, the house of Israel has become dross to Me; all of them are bronze and tin and iron and lead in the furnace; they are the dross of silver…all of you have become dross, therefore, behold, I am going to gather you into the midst of Jerusalem…I will gather you and blow on you with the fire of My wrath, and you will be melted in the midst of it…” (22:18-19, 21).

This last observation reflects God’s futile attempt to avert the disaster. Isn’t there someone – anyone – who will stand for what is right, confront evil, defend the innocent and honor Jehovah’s laws? God laments: “I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.” (22:30). Not literally no one, for Jeremiah and his assistant, Baruch, were holding steady. But that’s it?! God is saying that there is not enough righteousness in Judah to spare the nation; the leaven is too weak to make the dough rise. Therefore, God earlier noted: “Even though these three men, Noah, Daniel and Job were in its midst, by their own righteousness they could only deliver themselves” (Ezk 14:14).

Those words should make every one of us sit up and take notice because, we too, live in a decadent, treacherous and godless society. As God examines our nation, does He identity me – you – as someone with enough courage to “stand in the gap”?

One of the main threads running throughout the tapestry of Scripture is the “remnant principle.” Regardless of the covenant, regardless of the time in history, only a sliver of humanity will choose to be on God’s side. And God has chosen to preserve the world (or a nation) and act benevolently for the sake of the few that seek righteousness.

Thus, long ago when “the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:5), and he sought a man to save the human race, He found only Noah.

And when God sought a man to lead His oppressed people out of Egyptian bondage, he found Moses.

And when God sought a cadre of men in a faithless age who would honor His Son, leave the comfort of their homes and careers and risk their lives to preach a despised and rejected message, He found a few unsophisticated Galileans who changed the face of the whole world.

Being recognized by God as a light in the world is an honor and being selected by Him to be a force for good is a privilege but be warned: It is also a terrible burden to bear. Noah was sentenced to 120 years of hard labor for his exemplary faith; Moses was stuck with a rebellious, ungrateful multitude for 40 years; the apostles were hungry and thirsty, poorly clothed, beaten and homeless, “reviled … persecuted … slandered … become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now” (1 Cor 4:11-13). Being part of God’s remnant is not for the fainthearted, for we are choosing to side with the minority. Noah, Moses and the apostles – and many others besides them – made such a choice.

What a legacy! Do we have the right stuff to follow in their footsteps? Can God depend on us to be true and faithful when, so few others are?