The Bible must always be the last word on all doctrinal matters, not the personal opinions of man. Unfortunately, there can be an attitude of “pick and mix” where doctrines can be summarily dismissed that may not suit someone’s personal life-style; that are “uncomfortable,” or “not acceptable” in today’s society; or that don’t fit in with someone’s general approach. On the other hand, if the Bible purportedly backs up personal opinions and beliefs, then Biblical teaching is readily accepted. This means that there are those who, because of their own personal behavior, amend their understanding of Scripture in order that their practices can be (in their own eyes) accommodated by the Word of God. The subject of homosexuality is just one example.
But God does not play games. As Proverbs 14:12 tells us, there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. The Bible states in 2 Timothy 3:16 that “ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Therefore, all Scripture from the first book of Genesis to the last book of Revelation is valid — irrespective of human traditions, customs or politically correct or incorrect viewpoints.
One pro-homosexual website puts forward the following observations when talking about quotations from the book of Leviticus (which condemns homosexuality, as we will see): “Clearly many of these laws reflect the cultural mores of their time and can have little or no relevance for us. The problem comes when we try to decide when a law or a piece of teaching has relevance today or when it should be rejected or disregarded.”
It is plain from such attitudes that the Word of God is used when supportive and discarded when inconvenient, but it must be remembered that ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God. Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever, as Hebrews 13:8 explains. Clear Biblical instructions are therefore not open to alterations or amendments, when cultural views change.
The instruction in the Old Testament on homosexuality is clear. In Leviticus 18:22 it states that: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.” This is but one of the instructions on illicit sexual behavior where the Israelites are told that such conduct not only defiles them but also the land (verse 27). Some may conclude that ungodly conduct affects only the perpetrators and those around them, but the lack of righteousness — including sexual immorality — affects the very land on which we dwell. In verse 28, God reminds the Israelites that because the Canaanites (see verse 3) committed abominable sexual acts, the land was going to “vomit them out.” This reveals a very real spiritual law: When a nation becomes sinful, even its land is defiled because sin affects everything.
Two chapters later, in Leviticus 20:13, God again rejects homosexual conduct, when He states: “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.”
If the practice of homosexuality was acceptable to God, why would God mention this practice in condemnatory terms on so many occasions? In Genesis 2:24 we read that “…a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Here, at an early stage of Biblical instruction, we see that the natural union was to consist of a man and a woman — not of a man and several women, and not of two people of the same sex.
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is well known. In Genesis 18 and 19 we read about their depravity. The men of the city (Genesis 19:4), both old and young, surrounded the house where the two angels dwelled as Lot’s guests. They wanted to know them carnally (verse 5). This means, the Sodomites practiced homosexuality. [Today, the word “sodomite” is also used in respect to another form of depraved sexual conduct.] We know from Ezekiel 16:49-50 that the iniquity of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah was not limited to this sexual practice, but it was certainly a hugely contributory factor.
There are a number of references that refer to sodomites, in the Authorized Version (Deuteronomy 23:17; 1 Kings 14:24; 1 Kings 15:12; 1 Kings 22:46; 2 Kings 23:7). Sodomites were the inhabitants of Sodom. As we saw, the term refers to those practicing homosexuality. They were to be banished from the land — hardly a ringing endorsement!
In the New Testament, we continue to find the same condemnation of this practice. We read in the first chapter of Romans: “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting…” (verses 24-28).
While the Western world today seeks to popularize and legitimize homosexuality, the Word of God clearly reveals that it is not acceptable to God. God has set in motion certain laws, and those who misuse their bodies receive in themselves that recompense of their error which was due. The word “debased” in verse 28 means “unapproved” or “undiscerning.” Since they had suppressed the truth of God revealed to them, they did not retain God in their knowledge and consequently, God gave them up (or over) to what they wanted to do all along. The results were and still are disastrous.
l Corinthians 6:9-10 clearly states that neither homosexuals nor sodomites will inherit the Kingdom of God: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”
However, in verse 11 we read: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”
Notice what Paul said: “Such were some of you.” This is a telling phrase. Paul cited the fact that there were some in the congregation who were formerly characterized in the catalogue of sinful conduct listed in verses 9 and 10. But Paul makes also clear that there is hope for those who are willing to repent and turn from their evil ways. With the help of God, they can be washed, sanctified and justified — but only on genuine, sincere repentance. This shows, then, that homosexuality CAN be repented of — it is not something men are just born with, and which they cannot overcome, even if they wanted to. Unfortunately today, many have convinced themselves that homosexuality is acceptable to God, or even the way God created some men, merely because it has become culturally acceptable. The Bible clearly reveals otherwise. As was wisely observed by someone: “Fashions may change but standards do not.”
In the final book of the Bible, this same theme is repeated in Revelation 21:8, pointing out that those who refuse to repent, including the “sexually immoral”–including those who practice homosexuality and other unacceptable sexual conduct–will have their part in the lake of fire and brimstone.
Some might ask the question: Does it matter? Of course it does! It is amazing to observe the lengths that those who support their homosexual practice will go to in order to justify it. If we believe that the Bible is the revealed Word of God, then we should live by every word of God (Matthew 4:4). And the Bible, in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, roundly condemns the practice of homosexuality.
At the same time, we must be careful that we don’t lose God’s perspective on the matter of homosexuality, by replacing one extreme viewpoint with another. As we saw, the practice of homosexuality is most certainly a sin which MUST be repented of, if one wants to enter the Kingdom of God. We are told that if we don’t repent and give up wrong habits, replacing them with God’s righteousness, we will not enter the Kingdom of God. Homosexuality is most certainly a SIN that must be overcome — but it is NOT the ONLY sin that must be overcome. Notice Revelation 21:7-8:
“He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly [those who know better, but are afraid to change and stand up for what is right], unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and ALL LIARS shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
Those who know better, but WILLFULLY and with HATE AND ANGER permanently and irrevocably REFUSE to repent of their evil conduct will end up in the lake of fire. They will NOT enter the New Jerusalem. Revelation 22:14-15 states:
“Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs [compare Philippians 3:2] and sorcerers and sexually immoral [including homosexuals, AS WELL AS those who engage in other sinful sexual conduct, such as fornication and adultery] and murderers and idolaters, and WHOEVER LOVES AND PRACTICES A LIE.”
For some, it is easy to see that homosexuality is sinful. At the same time, it is very difficult for them to see that lying or killing (even in war) is sinful and must be repented of as well. God calls homosexuality an “abomination.” Note, however, what else is an “abomination” in God’s eyes:
“These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an ABOMINATION to Him: A proud look, A LYING tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A FALSE witness who speaks LIES, And one who sows discord among brethren” (Proverbs 6:16-19).
The Biblical teaching is clear and consistent: EVERY SIN that we REFUSE to repent of — including, but not limited to the sinful practice of homosexuality — will keep us out of the Kingdom of God.