Let the Scriptures Speak: What God’s Word Says Regarding Homosexuality— 1 Timothy 1:10

If you have not read the introduction to this series, please do so: Let the Scriptures Speak: What God’s Word Says Regarding Homosexuality—Introduction)

We are now at the last post in this series, and I hope they have been helpful and edifying for my fellow Christians who might be unsure as to what the Bible teaches regarding this subject. There are those from the pro-homosexual position who are quite crafty and articulate, demonstrating what seems to be a clear, persuasive argument stating that the Bible is in favor of Christians actively living out a homosexual lifestyle. However, I believe when the Bible is given the chance to speak for itself, as it has in these posts, it is quite clear that it is not in favor of that position.

As for those who believe that being gay and Christian is acceptable in the faith, I hope that these posts have either led to a complete change in heart, or, they have become the stone in your shoe that forces you to think more about this subject in your walk pursuing truth.

Because these verses are similar to 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, an in-depth examination is not needed. Furthermore, the pro-homosexual argument is the same, and the exegetical material I have already done is as well, so I am just going to post the verses, give a bit of context, and wrap it up with some important points we should take away from all of these posts.

1 Timothy 1: 8-11

8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

After his customary greeting in the opening of his letter, Paul wastes no time getting to the heart of the matter—the teaching of sound doctrine. He says to Timothy,

“As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.”

False teaching has been, and always will be,  a constant threat to the church until the Lord returns in glory. In fact, it is because of false teaching that we have the epistles of the New Testament.

Paul speaks of those whom Timothy is to rebuke and also avoid: they who speak and teach “irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called ‘knowledge'” (1 Timothy 6:20b). In their profession of this knowledge, they have swerved from the faith, which is the deposit entrusted to Timothy (1 Timothy 6:20-21).

In the context of his letter, these false teachers were using the law, which is holy and good (Romans 7:12), unlawfully. It was being used against those who are no longer under it (1 Timothy 1:9). So, Paul reminds us who the law is intended for:

“. . . the lawless and disobedient,
. . . for the ungodly and sinners,
. . . for the unholy and profane,
. . . for those who strike their fathers and mothers,
. . . for murderers,
. . . the sexually immoral,
. . . men who practice homosexuality,
. . . enslavers,
. . . liars,
. . . perjurers,
. . . and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine” (vv.9-10).

The law is used to rebuke sin, and in this list of sins, men who practice homosexuality, as Paul writes, is “contrary to sound doctrine in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted” (vv.10-11).

It is again important to point out that the sin is in the practicing of homosexuality. The acts themselves of same-sex intercourse is contrary to sound doctrine.

Why is that?

Because it is a violation of purpose.

Back in Romans 1, we saw that idolatry is what lead to the spiral of chaos in the depravity of man. Mankind exchanged the glory of God for that of an idol. Man exchanged God for himself; therefore, God gave man over to himself. Man’s sinful heart distorts the purposes of God’s design for man and woman, reflecting an image not of God but of an idol.

The Bible says when God created man, he “created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).

And Genesis 2 expounds further on this:

22 And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 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.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed (2:22-25).

When God formed the woman after the man, the image was now complete. And the command immediately followed, “Therefore [which when you see a therefore or a so that in Scripture, it lets us know that what follows is a purpose clause (statement)] a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

Man and woman were designed to unite as one. Jesus never mentioned homosexuality in the gospel accounts, but he did mention God’s plan for relationships.

This uniting is, as Christ says, a uniting that “God has joined together” (Mark 10:9a, italics added). And this joining together, Christ also says, “let not man separate” (10:9b).

Separating what God intended for man and woman fractures the image of God in man, which he purposed to be reflected in their uniting, and that is why it is an abomination to him.


Conclusion

One important point I need to state is that if one has homosexual thoughts and temptations, one can still be a Christian; one just cannot be a practicing homosexual and be a Christian, just as one cannot be a practicing adulterer or thief or murderer and be a Christian.

We all have sin issues that we need to constantly take to the foot of the cross. There are those who prior to conversion struggled with drugs, alcohol, pornography, greed, serial promiscuity, etc. But the power of the gospel has taken root, stripping away those desires and urges to act on those sinful thoughts as they once used to. The Spirit gives the believer discernment to see his sin and turn from it,  clinging to Christ. And in that turning away, there is also a putting on of the new self (Colossians 3:10), which enables the believer to fight the power of the flesh.

I encourage you all to read Colossians 3: 5-17. In this section of Scripture, Paul is speaking to Christians, exhorting them to put to death sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desires, and covetousness, which is idolatry . . . anger, wrath, malice, slander, obscene talk, and lying (vv. 5,8). He says, as we saw previously in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, “in these you too once walked, when you were living in them” (Colossians 3:7, italics mine). We don’t live in sin; we live in Christ (Romans 6:11).

There is no sin bad enough nor heart hard enough to resist the grace of God.

The Christians he is exhorting have sinful behaviors they need to put to death. They are saved but still have sin problems they need to work through. They have to “put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (vv.9,10, italics added). We are to “let the word of Christ dwell in our hearts, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16a).

But it is only through the grace of God that one can put off the old and put on the new.

Turn to Christ; taste the sweetness of Christ; submit to Christ; cherish Christ; obey and love Christ; love others as Christ loves you; meditate on Christ; soak up the spiritual nourishment in the pages of his Word; pray and commune with him without ceasing; fellowship with the family of God; cast each others burdens on each other; seek the will of Christ . . .

and whatever you do, do all things to the glory of God.

Romans 11:36

Entire series below:

 

 

Let the Scriptures Speak: What God’s Word Says Regarding Homosexuality—Romans 1:24-27

(If you have not read the introduction to this series, please do so: Let the Scriptures Speak: What God’s Word Says Regarding Homosexuality—Introduction)

As I began typing this blog post, I paused for a second to key in my Google search bar “images of Jesus.” I did so because I had an idea of writing about the misconstrued perspective of God in the Old and New Testaments and wanted to use the pictures to make an illustration. However, I scratched it, but when the pictures populated the screen, what I noticed lead to another idea.

In looking at these pictures, there were two common thematic portrayals of Christ: He either was standing with his arms stretched out offering an embrace, in love; or, he had his arms stretched out on a cross dying for us, in love. Each picture demonstrated something vitally important for mankind, specifically, in the passages we are going to be examining.

So, why would those be the two most common portrayals of Christ?

Jesus came to offer himself for sinners. This passage in Matthew comes to mind when I see those types of pictures of him standing in white linens, arms open, and rays of light shining all around him:

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Jesus came to take our place on the cross. And this passage from John, the most well-known passage by Christians, comes to mind as well:

“For God so love the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Both pictures portray Jesus giving himself to us and for us, in his life and death.

But what did he die for? He died for the sins of the world, but what specifically did he die for?

What he died for lies at the very heart of our discussion—Idolatry. I bet many reading this thought I was going to say homosexuality. After all, that is the topic of this series, right? Though it is, all sin begins with Idolatry.

Romans 1:24-27 — The Homosexual Argument:

“The homosexual practices cited in Romans 1:24-27 were believed to result from idolatry and are associated with some very serious offenses as noted in Romans 1. Taken in this larger context, it should be obvious that such acts are significantly different from loving, responsible lesbian and gay relationships seen today.”(1) Furthermore, there was a different understanding of the term natural in Paul’s day, which during that time referred to a social custom, not to the biological order, as we now understand it to mean.(2)

Romans 1:24-27 – The Scriptures

24Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 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.”

Before getting started, we need to set the context . . .

The first chapter of Romans, specifically 1:18-32, is an indictment on all humanity for rejecting the true God of Scripture. In my Bible, the heading of this section is titled God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness. Some Bible’s might have something different (remember, headings are not inspired).

These verses tell us why the human condition is broken. They tell us how and why we are flawed, which ultimately leads to the fracturing in our conscience, with our hearts carrying around guilt for shameful things we have done. It shows us why there is so much evil and darkness in the world, which always finds it root in the heart of man.

Prior to these passages, the apostle Paul speaks of the righteousness of God having been revealed in salvation (1:17). It is the best news one can hear. But before one can see it as priceless, worth dying for, one has to see what makes it so valuable. Paul understands, and to help his audience see that, he shifts his thought from the righteousness of God to the unrighteousness of man.

All of us are guilty of suppressing the truth of God in unrighteousness, which is plain to us (1:18b, 19). “His invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature . . . have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So [we] are without excuse” (1:20).

So, what is clearly perceived by all of us? The created order, morality, our need and dependence on relations with others, innate belief in a supreme being that exists over all things, the complexities of life, and our complete dependence on sleep, food, and shelter. And beyond that, there is the setting of eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11) God has put in us, driving humans to look beyond the physical, material world because we know that this life is not merely mud and molecules. Life doesn’t end there.

God built us with moral compasses, vestiges of the Creator, imprinted on us to guide us toward him. But all of us have chosen to go the opposite direction of where the compass points.

Paul continues, “21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”

There is a lot to unpack in these few verses, which can’t be completely done here. But the key thing for us to see is that humanity is guilty of not honoring God. It has “exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” Humans would rather worship idols of the heart, those of false gods they have made in their own image. Therefore, God gave them over to what they wanted—themselves (Read Genesis 1-11, to see the narrative of depravity; however, it never stopped, and that is what the entire Old Testament records for us).

It started with idolatry, and then the unraveling of mankind began as God pulled back that which kept it from plunging further into depravity, following its destructive desires. And now we arrive at our passages pertaining to our discussion:
 

24Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 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.”

The judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah is for what verses 26-27 are speaking of. Do you remember how “consumed with passion” the men of Sodom were in their desires to be with the angels that even being made blind did not deter them? The Scriptures say “they wore themselves out trying to find the door” (Genesis 19:11, NET). That was how consumed in their lusts they were.

However, the first argument against this posits, “such acts are significantly different from loving, responsible lesbian and gay relationships seen today.”

This argument is weak, considering the affirmation by pro-homosexual advocates that these acts Paul was referring to “are significantly different” from what we see today.

In Leviticus 18, as demonstrated already, the application of the prohibition against homosexuality and sexual immorality in general was universal, not specific to Israel or just to the Levitical priests. The damaging point to this argument is that Moses does not speak of the intent or perspective of the one involved in that type of sexual relationship; he merely describes the action of a man lying with a man as with a woman as being an abomination (18:22).

One of the important aspects in formulating a doctrine or just even understanding what Scripture teaches on a certain subject is that the Scriptures agree with and validate themselves. In applying that hermeneutic to these passages in Romans, it is clear that Paul continues in the same vein of thought of Leviticus 18:22, “. . . and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another (Romans 1:27a).”

If you notice, Paul does not establish a context for the acceptability of homosexuality, regardless of it being a monogamous, loving relationship. Rather, he states that men gave up their natural relations with women to be with men. The key part to see here is “the men likewise gave up natural relations” (emphasis added). That is the issue. It is the fact that they chose to turn from heterosexual to homosexual relations. And that is exactly what Moses expressed in Leviticus, the actions of same-sex intercourse. It has nothing to do with one’s feelings toward another; it is the act itself that is damning.

If we believe that God’s Word is inspired and inerrant, shouldn’t we also believe that God would have made provisions for homosexuality in the context of loving, committed relationships? Are we to think that Paul was ignorant of those types of relationships? Furthermore, this verse destroys the pro-homosexual argument that those who are gay are born that way, for Paul says that the men and women in reference here gave up natural relations. They chose to engage in that sinful activity.

I am sure our omnipotent Creator would have included something in Scripture clearly supporting the pro-homosexual argument. But we don’t see anything advocating for it.

The second argument takes one down a rabbit trail, insisting that the word natural has nothing to with sexual relations in this context; rather, it has to do with what was a custom of the that time period.

How are we to respond to this argument? Again, we use Scripture to interpret Scripture, so lets look at Leviticus 18:22 together with Romans 1:27:

Leviticus 18:22, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman.”
Romans 1:27a, “and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women.”

What is the natural practice in which the prohibition is made against in Leviticus? It is the action of sexual intercourse of a man with a woman. If it is universal, and Scripture is consistent with itself, then Paul is speaking of the same sinful practice.

However, to support this idea that natural means custom of the times, 1 Corinthians 11:14-15 is mentioned, in which Paul says, “Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering.”

Pro-homosexual advocates claim that the word nature in this passage is speaking to what is according to custom in this time period.

So, what are we to do with this?

First, we can look at the Greek word for natural : φύσις (physis)

One thing we are to remember when doing a word study is that the context is what ultimately defines the meaning of the word. Many issues in interpretation have arisen due to improperly using a definition of a word in isolation to advance a specific doctrine.

φύσις (physis) in the context of Scripture means “the character or make up of something, as a natural result or condition (Ro 1:26; 11:21, 24; 1Co 11:14; Gal 4:8; Eph 2:3; 2Pe 1:4); kind, class, species (Jas 3:7).”(3)

Lets look at a few of these verses:

Galatians 4:8: “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods.” — Paul is speaking to the Galatians regarding their former ways, giving worship to idols, which by nature are not gods. The focus here is on what is intrinsic and original to its kind. There is only One who is by nature truly God.

2 Peter 1:3-4: “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” — Peter is speaking to Christians in regards to what we have in our calling into the family of God. And as those who have been called, we now have become partakers what is by nature divine, the Spirit of God. This has nothing to do with a social custom of the day.

So, if we look closer to the surrounding context in 1 Corinthians 11, we see that Paul is actually contrasting what is natural, meaning specific to male and female according to God’s design. In the verses previous to 14-15, Paul goes back to creation and the purpose men and woman have in the Lord. He is making a cultural point (but not in the sense of the homosexual argument) emphasizing the differences by nature, not by what the culture ascribes, between men and woman. God is the one who creates one to be a male or a female.

Verse 15 further supports Paul’s argument when he states that a woman’s hair was “given to her for a covering.” Who is the one giving here? It is God who gives, and Paul is making the point that a woman’s hair, by nature, is to be long. The word nature in this context, and in the other verses, pertains to inherent attributes, specific to that particular kind/species being referenced to, which in this case is man and woman. And that is how Paul uses it in Romans 1:27.

Conclusion

What we see in the context of Romans is that mankind chose to worship itself rather than the One who created it. The first commandment is that we shall have no other gods before him (Exodus 5:7). If we fall short of the first one, then all the remaining commandments we fail on as well. And we have. Idolatry is the exchanging what is true for what is false. And a violation of what is true, in this case what is natural, results in our condemnation. Man has exchanged the truth of God for a lie; he also has exchanged the design of God for that of his own, in which he has received in himself the due penalty for his error (Romans 1:27b).

Christ came to offer himself to us and for us. His offer is that of salvation—restoration—to that which is true, breaking the chains of sin so we can be united once again back to our Creator. He promises to deliver us from all bondage, finding rest in him once and for all.

—Romans 11:36

Entire series below:

________________________________
1. “The Metropolitan Community Church of San Diego / Listen, Look, Learn / Homosexuality & The Bible,” accessed November 22, 2014, http://themetchurch.org/#/listen-look-learn/homosexuality-the-bible.
2. “Transcript – Matthew Vines,” accessed November 22, 2014, http://www.matthewvines.com/transcript/.
3. James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament), electronic ed. (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

Let the Scriptures Speak: What God’s Word Says Regarding Homosexuality—Leviticus 18:22

(If you have not read the introduction to this series, please do so: Let the Scriptures Speak: What God’s Word Says Regarding Homosexuality—Introduction)

I hope the first article truly represented what the Bible has to say regarding homosexuality in the context of Genesis 19 (again, I know I have presuppositions, as we all do). Emotional tensions can rise when it comes to this topic of discussion, and so I hope the last post helped you see that you don’t need to be on guard for the Bible’s sake, for it, being the sword of truth, can defend itself. As you hear and read those pro-homosexual arguments against what Scripture teaches, remember this:

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” — 2 Timothy 3:16

We have all we need in God’s Word.

Now, I should not have jumped the gun in the previous post, stating that Genesis 19 will probably be my longest post, for the passage we are to examine, Leviticus 18:22, depends on the entire chapter to properly understand it and has a few arguments that need to be examined. However, I will do my best to keep my commentary short, for I think after one just reads the chapter in its entirety, the common homosexual objections and interpretations advanced against this verse will lose its footing. Again, If we let the Scriptures do the talking, recognizing that the Bible is from the very mouth of God, his truth will set you free (I know. . . kind of a corny cliché; nevertheless true though)

Leviticus 18:22 — The Homosexual Argument:

The Levitical law prohibits male same-sex relations, which occurs solely in the Holiness Code of Leviticus, a ritual manual for Israel’s priests. Levitical law also prohibited other behaviors, activities, and foods, which are now disregarded by Christians today. Furthermore, the author of the text had male sacred prostitutes specifically in mind in composing this verse.”(1)

Leviticus 18:22 — The Scriptures (Chapter 18:1-30 [18:22 is in bold]):

18 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the Lord your God. 3 You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. 4 You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the Lord your God. 5 You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the Lord.

6 “None of you shall approach any one of his close relatives to uncover nakedness. I am the Lord. 7 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father, which is the nakedness of your mother; she is your mother, you shall not uncover her nakedness. 8 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife; it is your father’s nakedness. 9 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your sister, your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether brought up in the family or in another home. 10 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your son’s daughter or of your daughter’s daughter, for their nakedness is your own nakedness. 11 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife’s daughter, brought up in your father’s family, since she is your sister. 12 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s sister; she is your father’s relative. 13 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother’s sister, for she is your mother’s relative. 14 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s brother, that is, you shall not approach his wife; she is your aunt. 15 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your daughter-in-law; she is your son’s wife, you shall not uncover her nakedness. 16 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your brother’s wife; it is your brother’s nakedness. 17 You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and of her daughter, and you shall not take her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter to uncover her nakedness; they are relatives; it is depravity. 18 And you shall not take a woman as a rival wife to her sister, uncovering her nakedness while her sister is still alive.

19 “You shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness while she is in her menstrual uncleanness. 20 And you shall not lie sexually with your neighbor’s wife and so make yourself unclean with her. 21 You shall not give any of your children to offer them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord. 22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. 23 And you shall not lie with any animal and so make yourself unclean with it, neither shall any woman give herself to an animal to lie with it: it is perversion.

24 “Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, 25 and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. 26 But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you 27 (for the people of the land, who were before you, did all of these abominations, so that the land became unclean), 28 lest the land vomit you out when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you. 29 For everyone who does any of these abominations, the persons who do them shall be cut off from among their people. 30 So keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs that were practiced before you, and never to make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God. (ESV)

(Did reading it answer the objections for you?)

This chapter should be overly clear regarding God’s expectations and design for sexual relationships between a man and a woman, married that is ☺.

The best thing for me to do is address the arguments, point-by-point, with the verses of chapter 18. This will help us see the context of the chapter as we work our way up to 18:22.

First argument:

“The Levitical law prohibits male same-sex relations, which occurs solely in the Holiness Code of Leviticus, a ritual manual for Israel’s priests.”

I want to point out that there is red-herring that will immediately draw one away from what the Scriptures say in this chapter. Do you see it? I underlined it for you. While this statement is not entirely wrong, the points pertaining to the roles and practices of the Levitical priesthood are not in this chapter. So that idea needs to be stricken from your mind. Chapter 18 is addressed to the people of Israel—everyone:

(18:1-5) “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the Lord your God. 3 You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. 4 You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the Lord your God. 5 You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the Lord (emphasis mine).’”

Notice the pronouns to follow from verse 2. They continue all the way through the entire chapter. In fact, the plural pronoun you in this chapter referring to the people of Israel is used 28 times, mostly in the phrase, you shall not. So, it is pretty clear that this chapter is directed at the people of Israel.

The first part of the argument we are responding to does agree with the Levitical Law prohibiting same-sex relations, so at least we don’t have to spend time trying to establish that. Furthermore, the fact that this law “solely occurs in the Holiness Code of Leviticus,” as they contend, only helps us to prove our point.

In looking at the first few verses of this chapter, we see God’s purpose for issuing this sexual prohibitions: “I am the Lord your God” (v.2) (That sounds good enough for me!)

But why does he say that?

Israel is God’s people (Exodus 3). He rescued them from their enslavement in Egypt (Exodus 6:6; 15). He called them out from all other peoples to be his people (Deuteronomy 7). He entered into covenant with them, promising to provide, protect, and care for them (Exodus 2:23-25). And because he called them and chose them specifically to be his people, they were not to act sinfully like the rest of the nations: “You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you” (18:3).

Those other nations worshiped idols, which is exactly what the Lord did not want them to do (what are the 1st and 2nd commandments?). So, he wants to make clear that he is their Lord but also establishes the importance of his lordship leading into his you-shall-not ¬commands regarding sexual practices. And the list begins . . .

So, why do you think that the Lord listed all of these prohibitions directly after his reference to the sinful practices of other nations? It’s quite clear that he is listing these because the other nations were less restrained in their sexual practices (common among pagan nations), so the Lord had to expressly state to his people, in detail, that these practices are sinful. For example, if I were to say to my daughter, I am your father; you will not act like all the other kids at school; therefore, you shall not . . . . Wouldn’t you think that the list of you shall nots are going to consist of the actions and behaviors of the other kids at school do that I disapprove of?

Furthermore, verse 24 demonstrates that very point. Moses writes,

24 “Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean (emphasis added).”

And also verses 27-28,

27 (for the people of the land, who were before you, did all of these abominations, so that the land became unclean), 28 lest the land vomit you out when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you” (emphasis added).

What we see is that all of these sexual practices were not specific for Israel in the sense that they were only sinful specifically for Israel; rather, they were considered sinful for all peoples, which is why God commanded them not to engage in those sinful practices. He called them out of the world—the fallen, sinful world.

Remember Genesis 19 and Judges 19? The point that the owners of the homes in both narratives knew that the vile, wicked, and (in Leviticus 18:22), abominable sexual practice of men lying with men as with women was so grievous that they chose to put forth their own daughters to be raped demonstrates the level of depravity that homosexual relations falls under according to the Lord and his Word.

One of the important aspects of the Christian faith thus demonstrating the truthfulness and coherency of the authors of Scripture is that God’s Word does not contradict itself. In last week’s post on Genesis 19, homosexuality, not just in the context of temple prostitution, was clearly demonstrated to be sinful, worthy of judgment, and God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, only saving one righteous family, because of the vileness of the people. God does not change his Word regarding the sinfulness of homosexuality anywhere in Scripture.

Second argument:

“Levitical law also prohibited other behaviors, activities, and foods, which are now disregarded by Christians today.”

That is true. But that is beside the point. There were specific ceremonial laws and dietary laws Israel had to follow. However, the moral code, of which this issue falls under, existed prior to the Mosaic covenant with Israel and the giving of the Law. Furthermore, Jesus fulfilled those laws and are no longer required to be observed under the new covenant (Mark 7:19; Acts 10:10-15). But, sinful, sexual practices have always fallen under the moral law, and the New Testament actually reinforces that sexual immorality and homosexuality are sinful, keeping one from entering the Kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9; Cf. Romans 1:26-27) and deserving of judgment.

It has already been established that the moral law, which sexual immorality and homosexuality fall under, is required of all people. That is one way to recognize what is moral and what is ceremonial, specific for Israel only: if people outside Israel were held in judgment for transgressing a particular law, which we see clearly that homosexuality was a sin God judged other nations for.

Where in Scripture do we see God judging those outside Israel for failing to keep ceremonial laws? No one outside Israel was required to keep dietary laws or any other ceremonial law. The reason for the ceremonial law was to distinguish Israel as a people from Gentiles.
Execution was not the punishment for failing to keep those types of laws, only those pertaining to the moral law were.

God’s law is never altered in the New Testament as it pertains to the moral law, specifically homosexuality, but the ceremonial law is abrogated in the New Covenant, for Christ has fulfilled those requirements (Hebrews 10:1-18).

Third Argument:

“Furthermore, the author of the text had male sacred prostitutes specifically in mind in composing this verse.”

One of the angles pro-homosexual advocates try to take when interpreting this verse is in stating the author of Leviticus had same-sex relations in the context of temple prostitution in mind. Now, while temple prostitution was an abominable practice, occurring in Gentile nations and in Israel’s syncretistic practices, to say that this verse specifically speaks to that type of same-sexual relations, has no bearing on the matter and is a red herring to the argument.

What is key for us to see in Leviticus 18:22 is that Moses was sure to describe the action taking place, not just a word referring to homosexuality. He did not say, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination [, except in the case that it is a committed, monogamous relationship.]” He stated the physical act alone, excluding any reason to make it permissible.

The pro-homosexual advocates want to stress that God did not intend to include homosexuals in committed, monogamous relationships when prohibiting homosexuality. If that is the case, then are we to think that there was not a single monogamous, homosexual relationship in Sodom and Gomorra that was righteous? If there were, there should have been more people than just Lot and his family escaping the judgment the people of Sodom and Gomorrah experienced. After all, God spared those who were righteous, so clearly there should have been some faithful, committed homosexual couples in the mix, right?

If Leviticus 18:22 only referred a specific type of homosexuality in temple prostitution, then what is the difference between that practice and that of Sodom? The verses that surround this text speak of adultery and bestiality, which also took place in temple-cult practices, so are we to think that those practices are acceptable outside of these pagan practices? No. We don’t see any advocates of bestiality or adultery trying to justify their actions using the same argumentation. Homosexuality activity, regardless of one’s motives, is an abomination just like bestiality and adultery.

Conclusion

Looking at the fuller context of Scripture, using the Bible to support itself, is paramount in understanding and interpreting God’s Word. There is not a single context in Scripture teaching that certain expressions of homosexual behavior are acceptable to the Lord. The Bible is a heterosexual book, which applies biblical principles, mandates, prohibitions, and guidance within that heterosexual context. The red herring of temple-cult prostitution only adds confusion to those struggling with this sin. When one attempts to justify a particular moral sin, one robs the one struggling with that sin from eternal life in Christ.

—Romans 11:36

Entire series below:

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1.This quote is not a direct quote; rather, it is a summation statement of this common argument advanced by the gay scholars and those advancing the pro-homosexual agenda against Scripture. See, “Transcript – Matthew Vines,” accessed November 14, 2014, http://www.matthewvines.com/transcript/. “The Metropolitan Community Church of San Diego / Listen, Look, Learn / Homosexuality & The Bible,” accessed November 14, 2014, http://themetchurch.org/#/listen-look-learn/homosexuality-the-bible. “Why do you say Leviticus 18:22 is about goddess worship?” accessed November 14, 2014, http://www.gaychristian101.com/why-do-you-say-leviticus-1822-is-about-goddess-worship.html