A reminder for today
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 recompence of their error which was meet. (Romans 1:26-27)
Pope Francis tells gay man ‘God made you like this and loves you like this’ the sun reported. What the Pope said and what my bible teaches seems to contradict the statement made by the Pope. I have never been a fan of the Pope or the Vatican. I found a very interesting piece on homosexuality, let’s look at the Bible.
It is a surprise to many people to discover that there are only a handful of passages in the Bible that directly mention homosexuality. Yet despite its infrequent mention, where the subject does come up, the Bible has some very important things to say about it. We need to understand them if we’re to avoid the twin mistakes of homophobia and thinking God is indifferent about how we use our sexuality.
Sodom has become so associated with homosexual conduct that its name was for many ears a byword for it. But is 'sodomy' really what Sodom is about?
The account describes the men of the city attempting to forcibly have sex with two angelic visitors to the city, who have appeared in the form of men. Later parts of the Old Testament accuse Sodom of a range of sins: oppression, adultery, lying, abetting criminals, arrogance, complacency and indifference to the poor. None of these even mentions homosexual conduct. This has led some people to wonder if we have read homosexuality into the Genesis narrative, when in fact the real issue was social oppression and injustice. But a close look at the text makes it clear that homosexuality was in fact involved.
Although the Hebrew word for “know” (yada) can just mean to “get to know” someone (rather than to “know” them sexually), it is clear from the crowd’s aggression (and Lot’s dreadful attempt at offering them his daughters as an alternative) that they are looking for much more than social acquaintance. Hence what happens next: the angels warn Lot that judgment is imminent (v.13).
In the New Testament, Jude adds an important insight:
...just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 7)
What happened at Sodom is clearly meant to be something of a cautionary tale. Jude makes it clear that their ungodliness involved sexual immorality. They were punished for sexual sin along with the other sins of which they were guilty.
Jude also highlights the nature of their sexual desires: they pursued “unnatural desire” (literally, unnatural “flesh”). Some have suggested that this relates to the fact that the visitors to the city were angelic; Jude references angelic sin earlier in his letter. But these angels appeared as men, and the baying crowd outside Lot’s house showed no evidence of knowing they were angelic. Their desire was to have sex with the men staying with Lot. In other words, it was the homosexual nature of their desires, and not just the violent expression of them, that is highlighted in the New Testament.
Turning to the New Testament, Romans 1 has much to say about the nature and character of homosexual behaviour.
Paul’s aim in these early chapters is to demonstrate that the whole world is unrighteous in God’s sight, and therefore in need of salvation. In Romans 1:18-32 he zeroes in on the Gentile world, describing the way it has turned away from God and embraced idolatry. The particular details in the passage may indicate that Paul is using the Greco-Roman culture surrounding his readers as a case in point.
Gentile society faces God’s wrath because it has suppressed the truth that God has revealed about himself in creation (verses 18-20). In the verses that follow, Paul illustrates how this has happened, giving three examples of how what has been known about God has been exchanged for something else: they exchange the glory of God for images of creatures (verse 23); the truth of God for a lie, leading to full-blown idolatry, worshipping created things (verse 25); and reject the knowledge of God (verse 28), exchanging “natural” relations for “unnatural” ones:
For this reason, God gave them up to dishonourable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. (Romans 1:26-27)
Two important and sobering truths are apparent from these verses:
1. Homosexual desire is not what God originally intended. This is not to say that homosexual desire is the only thing that God did not originally intend. All of our desires have been distorted by sin. But Paul does describe both lesbian and male homosexual behaviour as “unnatural.” Some have argued this refers to what is natural to the people themselves, so that what is in view is heterosexual people engaging in homosexual activity and thereby going against their “natural” orientation. According to this view, Paul is not condemning all homosexual behaviour, but only that which goes against the person’s own sexual inclinations. But this view cannot be supported by the passage itself. The words for “natural” and “against nature” refer not to our subjective experience of what feels natural to us, but to the fixed way of things in creation. The nature that Paul says homosexual behaviour contradicts is God’s purpose for us, revealed in creation and reiterated throughout Scripture.
Paul’s reference to lesbianism as well as male homosexual conduct also supports the idea that he is condemning all homosexual activity, and not just the man-boy relationships that occurred in Roman culture.
The strength of Paul’s language here should not make us think that homosexual conduct is the worst or only form of sinful behaviour. Paul may be highlighting it because it is a particularly vivid example, and may have been especially pertinent for his readers in Rome given their cultural context. Either way it is illustrative of something that is the case for all of us: as we reject God we find ourselves craving what we are not naturally designed to do. This is as true of a heterosexual person as of a homosexual person. There are no grounds in this passage for singling out homosexual people for any kind of special condemnation. The same passage indicts all of us.
2. Our distorted desires are a sign that we have turned away from God. It is important to recognize that Paul is talking here in social rather than individual terms. He is describing what happens to culture as a whole, rather than particular people. The presence of same-sex desire in some of us is not an indication that we’ve turned from God more than others, but a sign that humanity as a whole has done so. It is not the only sign, and in everyone there is no doubt more than one sign or another - but it is a sign nevertheless.
Paul writes that alongside the gospel, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Romans 1:19). Though there will one day be a “day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed” (Romans 2:5), there is already a present-day expression of God’s anger against sin. We see God’s wrath in this: he gives us what we want.
In response to the exchanges Paul has described, we see three instances of God giving us over to live in the outcome of our sinful desires. This is his present-day judgment against sin. We ask for a reality without him and he gives us a taster of it.
In each case the “giving over” results in an intensification of the sin and the further breakdown of human behaviour. God gives humanity over to impure lusts and dishonourable bodily conduct (verse 24), and to “dishonourable passions” (verse 26). The exchanging of natural relations for unnatural leads to being given over to a “debased mind” and the flourishing of “all manner of unrighteousness” which Paul unpacks in a long list of antisocial behaviours (verse 28-31). Sin leads to judgment, but judgment also leads to further sin.
The presence of all these sinful acts is a reminder that we live in a world which has deliberately turned away from God in all sorts of ways and is therefore experiencing a foretaste of God’s anger and courting its final outpouring on the day of judgment. Again, homosexual activity is certainly not the only sinful act. All of us are guilty. But it listed among them as one of the ways in which human nature as a whole has been changed from what God originally intended.
You can also look at Leviticus 18 & 20, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:8-10.
Attempts to read these texts as anything other than prohibitions of homosexual behaviour do not ultimately work. The plain reading of each passage is the right one. It is homosexual practice in general, rather than only certain expressions of it, which are forbidden in Scripture. To attempt to demonstrate otherwise is to violate the passages themselves. Yet these very same texts list homosexuality alongside many other forms of behaviour that are also against God’s will. The very passages that show us that homosexual activity is a sin, make it very clear that it is not a unique sin. It is one example of what is wrong with all of us.
Have an awesome day dear friend of Jesus.