1picassoIn the eighth chapter of Nehemiah we can see how God’s people are crying while reading the Book of the Law. They are crying because this public reading of God’s word means the beginning of their restoration as a people of God and their reunion as a community. In this sense, these are tears of joy. Also, they are crying because they know they were unfaithful to God’s law (Neh. 1, 4-7). When the people of God are being unfaithful to God’s law they stagnate. But when they repent and grieve over their sins, God gathers them again and rebuilds their walls.

Therefore, if you think you are a member of God’s people, you should carefully consider what God’s word says and mandates to you. Being a member of God’s people means striving to more and more shape your life, values, attitudes and actions according to God’s law. This means having the desire that the law of God directs my views and opinions, and not vice versa, that my personal wishes and preferences shape my attitude toward God’s word. For those who lack this mindset, it is questionable whether they really belong to the people of God.

All of us, as long as we are alive, cannot stop sinning, rather it should be our heart’s desire to stop sinning. If we sin, then we should not justify this sin as if it is not a sin, but instead we will take shelter in the loving arms of our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no man who does not sin so that is why the Christian life is a life of continued repentance. (1 John 1, 6). In the first of his 95 theses Martin Luther said: “Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said ‘repent,’ willed that the whole life of believers should be one of repentance.”

The Apostle Paul in the first chapter (1:18-32) of Romans tells us a lot about the nature of sin. These verses (24-27) are our reference in terms of the biblical position on homosexuality. In today’s world, more and more the unavoidable topic of homosexuality and other similar social phenomena (sex-gender ideology) are being imposed upon us. This issue has arisen in the society in which we live, but more and more is surfacing within Christianity itself.  Therefore, as a Church we must not be silent, rather it is necessary to examine it in the light of the Bible and provide the Christian with reformed answers to take a stance.

In this article, we will, in the light of the Bible, give the answer to the question of whether same-sex love is acceptable to the Christian or not? Specifically, some will object that Romans 1:18-32 is a text about sexual “lust” and not “sexual love”. Is it therefore correct to assume that the Bible allows “same-sex love” (not “lust”)?

In answering this question it is necessary to define some biblical terms from God’s holy perspective. It is necessary to understand God’s definition of “love” in regards to couples (families). Biblical romantic love is expressed in scripture as a union that can only exist between opposite sexes resulting in a biblical family. When God looked for a mate for Adam he did not find a suitable one from the animal kingdom, nor did he simply make Adam #2 for Adam #1, but he made Eve a person of the opposite sex (Gen. 2:18-25). As John Frame, a professor of Systematic Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary states,

The family begins when God creates man “male and female” (Gen. 1:27). Genesis 2:18-25 gives a longer account of the creation of woman, and makes it clear that the two sexes are designed for marriage (verses 24-25). à. The two are to “be fruitful and multiply” (1:28) so as to fill and subdue the earth. So, the family is, first of all, the means God has given to carry out the cultural mandate. The cultural mandate cannot be carried out by one person alone, [nor may it be carried out by a “same sex love” ethic]. It requires the labors of many: families and families of families male and female. [wording and emphasis mine].

Thus, God has structured from the very beginning the context of biblical sexual and family love. Therefore, it is impossible for a homosexual relationship to be one of biblical love. Consequently, for this and other reasons, the Bible calls the homosexual relationship “unnatural” in Romans 1. You may desire to argue what the term unnatural means, however, the word “nature” never means, “what is natural to me” in either Greek literature or the Bible [James B. De Young, “The Meaning of ‘Nature’ In Romans 1 And Its Implications For Biblical Proscriptions Of Homosexual Behavior,” JETS 31 (1988): 438]. D. Patrick Ramsey writing about Romans 1 states:

furthermore, verse 27 says that the male leaves or abandons the “natural use of the female.” This abandonment is not subjective or personal (one’s personal sexual orientation); it is objective and generic (sexual function of the female). One reason God created man in two genders (male and female) was for the purpose of sexual satisfaction. The female was made for the male and the male for the female. Hence, Paul says that the husband’s body belongs to the wife and the wife’s body belongs to the husband (1 Cor. 7). Each is to find sexual fulfillment in the other. Consequently, when a male seeks sexual pleasure in another male, Paul says he leaves the created or “natural” use of the female. In short, according to Romans 1:26-27, homosexuality is not “normal” or “natural.” Neither is it innocent or morally acceptable. It is unnatural and sinful.

Thus, biblically we understand that the same sex love or a homosexual relationship is one that is “sinful” (lustful, not loving) by biblical standards. Romans 1:18f is VERY specific:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

As seen above the general defense of homosexuality or “same sex love” is also foreseen in scripture (Rom. 1:28) as it is based in a depraved nature (as all sin is). One interested in defending the homosexual lifestyle is simply exchanging the truth of God for a lie (Rom. 1:25). Thus, changing the terms or phrase (i.e. same sex love) does not change the reality of the sin or its final punishment in the present (disease, etc.) and in eternity. Homosexual relationships or same sex love must be punished according to God’s holy nature. However, there remains for the elect that have been enslaved by such relationship(s) a deliverance in the beloved hands of the only redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; cf. John 3:1-8, “you must be born again”).

Here we are confronted with the second question. Can homosexuals go to heaven?StPaul_ElGreco

In 1 Corinthians, Paul writes:

To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. vWhy not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? 8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers! 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. 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. (1 Cor 6: 7-11)

Despite the fact that this text can confuse us, the short answer is yes, a homosexual can go to heaven. This is not because homosexuality is not a sin — it most certainly is. One reason that a homosexual can go to heaven is that the only unforgiveable sin is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (generally understood to be attributing the Holy Spirit’s works to demonic powers; Matt. 12:31-32). Lack of repentance of sin is not blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

Now, 1 Corinthians 6:9 does say that homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God, but it does not mean that homosexual people can’t be saved, or even that practicing homosexuals can’t be saved1. Paul’s point in this passage is that the Corinthian Christians are behaving just like the unsaved people. Specifically, they are bringing fraudulent lawsuits against one another. In order to make them realize how awful their fraud is, he groups it with a bunch of other blatantly obvious sins, including homosexuality. His purpose is to get them to realize that defrauding other Christians is not an acceptable loophole. Rather, it is a major sin, just like idolatry. But notice that by comparing fraud to homosexuality, Paul is also saying that defrauders won’t inherit the kingdom of God. In fact, he ends the list by saying that “swindlers” won’t inherit the kingdom of God.

At the same time, Paul also says that that the Corinthians used to be swindlers, and homosexuals, etc., but that they are not this anymore. He is not drawing some imaginary distinction between fraud and swindling in order to reassure the Christians that their fraud doesn’t fall into the category of sins that keep people from inheriting the kingdom. Rather, he is saying that because they have been “washed,” “sanctified” and “justified,” they are no longer indentified as these kinds of sinners (homosexuals, etc.). They might still do the same things, but now they stand before God with new identities in Christ, so that whereas before these actions would have gotten them into hell, now they are forgiven even though they continue to sin.

Even so, let’s not miss Paul’s point — swindling, robbery, homosexuality, etc., are sins, and Christians ought not to do them. In fact, Paul taught in the prior chapter that if Christians persist in these actions without repenting, they are to be excommunicated (1 Cor. 5:9-13). Still, the point of excommunication is ultimately salvific — professing Christians are excommunicated in the hopes that they will repent and be saved (1 Cor. 5:5).

It is important at this point to distinguish between two kinds of practicing homosexuals: 1) those who are repentant and sorrowful over their sin, but who can’t seem to break out of it entirely; and 2) those who justify their sin as if it were not a sin. The former kind of homosexuals should be embraced by the church, just as anyone else who struggles with any other sin. The latter kind, however, are like the immoral man Paul wrote against in 1 Corinthians 5 — they are proud of their sin, they justify their sin, they are not repentant, and they have no intention to stop sinning. These “so-called brothers” (1 Cor. 5:11 — Paul even doubts their salvation) should be excommunicated, along with the unrepentant idolators, greedy people, drunkards, swindlers, slanderers, and other sexually immoral people.

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Editet by: Jasmin Koso, January 2013.

Correction: Thomas Smith

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Source: Reformed Answers by Third Millennium Ministries

Joseph R. Nally Same Sex Love?”

Ra McLaughlin Practicing Homosexuals Can Go to Heaven”

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1I mean, those Christians in which homosexuality is no longer lifestyle, who recognize sin and resist him, but they may happen to fall into temptation.

Oglasi