Homosexual Sin and Forgiveness
What happens to those who reject the truths of God’s Word to follow the desires of their own sinful hearts and minds?
One consequence of rejecting God’s moral standards results in a descent into sexual sin and depravity. We began to consider this in the previous article (Part 5). In the present article, we will consider homosexual sin. We will also demonstrate how—like any other sin—the practice of homosexuality is condemned by God in his Word. Finally, we will show that—like any other sin—those involved in homosexual sin can be forgiven by God upon true repentance and renunciation of their sin.
To begin with, however, and in the light of the Bible’s teaching, let us consider the practice of homosexuality (including lesbianism) itself—together with its consequences.
Since mankind chose to despise and reject God’s holy standards—including his standards for sexual morality—God abandoned mankind to the consequences of their own sins. Concerning this, the apostle Paul writes in Romans chapter 1:
Romans 1:26 ESV
For this reason God gave them up to dishonourable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature;
Sinful men and women chose to reject the revelation of God in the natural creation. Instead, they set up false gods, or deceptive ideologies, in their hearts and minds. For this reason, God eventually abandoned them to their shameful and degrading lusts and passions. Their rejection of God’s truth had led them—by degrees—to adopt lower and lower standards of morality and ethics. Eventually, it became permissible to practice any kind of sexual deviation or perversion that the heart desired—and even to approve of such practices in others (v.32).
This was the situation in the days when God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, together with the cities of the plain. (Gen. 19:5,12-13,24-25; see also Judges 19:22; Jude 7) It was also a very common situation in Paul’s day—especially among the Greeks and Romans.
Again, it was a situation that prevailed in many subsequent generations, and which prevails in our own day and generation. The apostle Paul, of course, is referring to the practice of homosexuality. In verse 26, he is referring to female homosexuality or ‘lesbianism’. In verse 27—which we will be considering shortly—Paul is referring to male homosexuality. In both verses, the apostle is showing that homosexual practices may be considered as one form of punishment for a person’s wilful and repeated rejection of God and of his standards of moral behaviour.
The practice of homosexuality is just one of the shameful lusts by which God condemns and punishes those who indulge their sinful passions without restraint, and without regard to God’s law. Homosexual practices between females (lesbianism)—which are what we are considering in verse 26—are totally unnatural and utterly abhorrent to God. The fact that many people find such practices acceptable, or tolerable, demonstrates just how far we, as a nation, have departed from the truths of God’s Word. However, we must ever remember that—as with certain other sins—God has abandoned those who engage in lesbian relationships. The Lord has given them up to this form of corruption and vice as a punishment for their repudiation of his truth regarding such matters.
The same, of course, is true of those men who practice homosexual relations with other men. Paul now refers to this category:
Romans 1:27 ESV
…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.
Men who engage in homosexual practices find themselves in precisely the same moral and spiritual position before God as their lesbian counterparts. When they persistently continue in the practice of their sin, God eventually abandons them to the corruption of that sin and to all the evil consequences that their cherished sin brings upon them.
This is their punishment for abandoning God and his truth. This is their punishment for rejecting the God-ordained natural relationship with members of the opposite sex—or, for not abstaining from sexual relations. Men lust uncontrollably after other men. They commit indecent and degrading acts with other men. Consequently, they receive in their own persons the due penalty for their perverted and unnatural behaviour. (1 Kings 14:24)
From this we can see, therefore, that God’s Word utterly condemns homosexual practices in any form. According to the Word of God, it is a wholly unnatural vice, and completely contrary to God’s plan for sexual relations between a male and a female. The latter carries God’s highest approval, blessing and commendation. The former carries God’s greatest disapproval, curse, and condemnation. (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:18,22-24; Lev. 18:22,24-25; 20:13)
Thus, too, it should be evident that no church authority or civil government has the right to change what God has said about such matters. No church teaching or authoritative declaration, and no government opinion or law has the right to set aside or overturn what God’s Word says in relation to homosexual practices. In God’s Word, such practices are unambiguously condemned.
Helping those Involved in Homosexual Sin
Therefore, let those who desire to help homosexuals, advise them (with great compassion) that they are sinning against God. Let them explain to them clearly, but with genuine concern, that they are presently under God’s righteous judgment (as indeed are all unrepentant and unforgiven sinners). Let them tell homosexuals that God loves them, and that Christ died for their sins. Let them encourage such people to acknowledge and confess their sins to God, and utterly to renounce the practice of their sin. If, by the grace of God, they are constrained to seek his mercy and forgiveness, they will most certainly find his mercy and forgiveness. God will receive them, cleanse them, and make them his very own sons and daughters through faith in Christ.
We can state these things with all authority and with complete confidence, because—in this matter, as in all matters spiritual—we derive that authority and confidence directly from the infallible and unchangeable Word of God. In this instance, the Word of God makes it abundantly plain that among those forgiven and received into the church at Corinth were some who had previously been practising homosexuals. They had pursued this unnatural and immoral way of life until—by God’s grace and mercy—he had redeemed and cleansed them through repentance and faith, and by the blood of the Lamb. (1 Cor. 6:9-11)
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV
9 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,
10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
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. [Emphasis added]
God will willingly receive and forgive any such sinner. But, once forgiven and cleansed, they cannot continue to practice their old sinful way of life.
(To be continued)
[Excerpt from Expository Notes: Romans (chapter 1 verses 26-27). To read or download the full version of these Notes, click on the NT Commentaries menu tab above.]Follow @gordon_lyons