What is the Biblical Response to Homosexuality?

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Scenario: A buddy expresses his/her feelings for you and says he/she wants a physical relationship.  This buddy is the same gender as you.  How do you respond?

Homosexuality is one of those hot button issues that seems to divide more than any other (with the exception of maybe abortion).  What is the Biblical view of homosexuality, and how do we respond to it?  I have compiled six points on the issue and have attempted to order them systematically.

1. Homosexuality is Clearly Condemned in the Bible

The Bible says that homosexuality is against nature and abominable.  It was punishable by death in ancient Israel.  Homosexuals are also listed in 1 Corinthians 6 among those who will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable 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

You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.

-Leviticus 18:22

If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.

-Leviticus 20:13

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

-1 Corinthians 6:9-10

2. Homosexuality will be Judged by God

In Jude 7, Sodom and Gomorrah are cited as an example of God’s judgment.  What was the most well known sin of those cities?  Homosexuality.  In Genesis 19, the residents of Sodom attempted to Sodomize the angels of the LORD who had arrived to retrieve Lot and his family.  In fact, the word sodomy comes from the city of Sodom.  Revelation 21:8 records the final punishment of those who live in sin.  They will be cast into the lake of fire for ever.

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

But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house.  And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.”  Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly.  Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.”  But they said, “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow came to sojourn, and he has become the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door down.  But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them and shut the door.   And they struck with blindness the men who were at the entrance of the house, both small and great, so that they wore themselves out groping for the door.

-Genesis 19:4-11

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.

-Revelation 21:8

3. Neither of the Above Points are Unique to Homosexuality

Many other sins are clearly condemned in the Bible, many are mentioned more often than homosexuality.  Does that make it less of an abomination?  No!  All sin is an aberration from that which is wholesome and good.  The following types of people are listed in 1 Corinthians 6 with homosexuals among those who will not inherit the Kingdom of God:

  • Sexually immoral
  • Idolaters
  • Adulterers
  • Thieves
  • Greedy
  • Drunkards
  • Revilers
  • Swindlers

Thanks be to God for verse 11: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

All of us have fallen into at least one of those labels, if not physically then mentally.  And without the cross, some of us still hold those labels.  Such a realization should bring us to honest and complete humility, before both God and man.  We are not to condemn those who practice homosexuality.  We are to lovingly warn them.  In the same way, we should warn those who practice any of these sins.  We must get them to see that knowing God is a higher pleasure through our words and our actions.

4. Marriage is Clearly Between One Man & One Woman

Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
    because she was taken out of Man.”

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

-Genesis 2:23-24

But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

-Mark 10:6-9

But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.

-1 Corinthians 7:2

5. Physical Relationships are to be Reserved for Marriage

Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.”

-1 Corinthians 7:1

The word translated “sexual relations” is the Greek word haptomai.  This is the only place in the New Testament where it is assumed to be sexual.  Its literal meaning is “to touch”, but the context makes its intended meaning more difficult to decipher.  At first glance, it might seem wise to err on the side of caution, but then again, it is never safe to err.  Let’s look at another passage that might help us with this one:

Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.

-1 Timothy 5:1-2

We are to treat each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.  A good question to ask in a relationship is, “Would I do this with my brother/sister?”  If the answer is no, then don’t do that thing.  It most likely violates the purity principle.  Would you passionately kiss your brother/sister?  Would you sensually hug your brother/sister?  Would you romantically hold hands with your brother/sister?  I might sound like a mega killjoy right now, but we have to trust that Scriptural principles are laid out for God’s glory and our ultimate joy.  Based on wise counsel, experience, and study, I have concluded that physical relations before marriage robs both people of the joy of getting to know the heart and soul of their partner.  That may seem off topic, but it leads to this final conclusion:

6. If Marriage is Clearly Between One Man & One Woman, and Physical Relationships are to be Reserved for Marriage, then No Physical Relationships With the Same Gender are Permitted by Scripture.  Period.

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2 thoughts on “What is the Biblical Response to Homosexuality?

  1. This is a good, concise take on the topic. I’m glad that you addressed both what is condemned and that the Bible describes the ideal. There are a two points I think would benefit from some clarification:

    1) The intensity of the punishment in ancient Israel doesn’t necessarily indicate how morally wrong something is. There is a difference between civil and moral law in the Old Testament.

    2) Homosexuality in itself isn’t sinful. It is homosexual acts that are sinful.

    I also think that while you clearly addressed why it was sinful, you could’ve expanded on the original question you posed at the beginning of your post. How can we charitably respond to our friends who experience SSA and want to act on it?

    Thank you for addressing such a hot button issue. It is important that we as Christians share this truth that isn’t just in Scripture but also in Natural Law.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the feedback! Yes, it is important to be loving. Point three was meant to express that. The exact response is up to context and individual discretion. Concerning the degree of punishment, it was meant to show the severity God views homosexuality with. Granted, He also commands death to Sabbath breakers, which I discussed in last weeks Sunday reflection. Also, my definition of homosexuality includes acting on SSA. While SSA isn’t a sin, but a temptation, acting on SSA is.

      Liked by 1 person

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