William C. Sexton
The Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles, especially Paul, all had to deal with unpleasant situations in the affairs of man and his society. The same is true today of His disciples, and such awareness is essential to the success of His people. Sin comes in various packages and with various labels. The child-of-God's duty is to unpackage, identify and expose sinful practices as the truth of God's word reveals.
Paul went to Rome, sending a message before him, conveying his purpose, his position in God's scheme, and his view of the present condition in which he found himself and others. To understand and appreciate the specifics of Paul in this letter to the Romans, we must share his vision and view of the whole. The gospel was and is the power of God to save all humanity, because therein is the plan of God made known, revealed! The condition is designated "by faith," and it is designed and delivered to produce faith, an active faith. This necessitates that he show the need of salvation for all classes: Jews and Gentiles! Consequently, he points to the Gentiles as having the need, because they had rejected the opportunity provided them, willfully turning from it. He pursues their downward degenerating conduct to the degradation of their minds and bodies to the depth of depravity which ought to sicken the hearts and souls of all observers (Rom. 1:18-32).
He points to the various sins which were committed by them. Among the various sinful practices, all of which are disgraceful, is the one that we wish to deal with in this article: Homosexuality. Read and re-read (1:16-32) and then turn and read (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Then in this long list of the most corrupt conduct, single out this one and consider it for a while.
This sin is described in such terms as to show God's view of it; its destructive nature to the participants, and the shameful nature of the society wherein it can be practiced with approval are described. We challenge our thinking relative to the very degeneracy which leads one to practice it, the dishonor involved in it, and the distance the disciples of the Lord must keep from it-proper attitude and action toward those who practice it. After a close view of the sinful practice, we then call for an honest and noble response to the persons involved in it.
It is a move away from what one was created to do, it is a downward, falling, sinking below a normal state. God created male and female (Gen. 1:27; 2:17-24). He did not create them: Male-Male. Neither did he create them: Female-Female. He did not create them: Man-Beast. Therefore, we need to see that activity of a sexual nature other than the two person-male and female joined together in marriage approved by God and man-is unnatural, unscriptural, and unsatisfying on a lasting basis.
II. Natural: Hereto-sexuality.
III. Un-approved and consequently unsatisfying:
A. Pre-marital sexual-activity.
B. Extra-marital sexual-activity.
Living together in marriage, sexuality is allowed, approved of God and sanctioned by decent social morals. It is productive in reproduction and healthy to the participants and beautiful, contributing to the well-being of members of the human family. Yet, outside that relationship, the offsprings produced by such are dangered, no real provision can be made for such; guilt is in the mind and heart of those engaged destroys the immediate pleasure of all such activity by those decent people; and those who do not sense a feeling of guilt in such activity are past recovering. Such activity is the subject of jokes, degrading behavior, etc., but it is the ruin of character, hope, and aspiration for many. We need to see it in its real color, total and lasting effects, and subtle deceptions.
Homosexual activity is the most degrading of all unnatural acts (cf. Rom. 1:26). First it is changing the natural use into that which is "against nature"! Such is called "vile affections," meaning dishonorable passion: Women with women (v. 26) and men with men (v. 27)! Men left the natural use of the woman and burned in their lust toward one another-men with men working that which is unseemly!
They are said to be receiving in themselves that "recompense" of their error which is meet! That is a strong and serious statement. This is the downward march of behavior-reaping, as it were, according to what they have sown, but more! Beloved, one cannot simply act in this regard and continue to be "normal" and stable. You will be progressing into degradation.
The evil practice was wide-spread in the city of Sodom (Gen. 19:4-7). Acts are called "sodomy," after the city known for it long ago. Sodomites are spoken of in various places, but always condemned by God (cf. Deut. 23:17). Such was found among the false worshippers (1 Kings 14:24; 15:12; 22:46; 2 Kings 23:7). Such is called defilement (Lev. 18:22; 20:13).
Notice what happened to Lot and his family in that city, (2 Pet. 1:6-8; Gen. 19:15-26). He had "pitched his tent toward Sodom" (Gen. 13:12-13). He was thinking about the gain of material worth; he lost his family, all but two daughters. Friends, that type of society and community surely will vex the spirit of all righteous persons, as such did Lot long ago (2 Pet. 2:7-8). May all recognize the "filthy conversation of the wicked" in all such practice, and cry out against it as long and loudly as possible.
Its Destructive Nature
I certainly do not claim to know all the factors that go into making a person engage in homosexual activity. As with all sinful activity, I know that I must love the participant while I hate the "false way" and consequences of his practice. Yet, I know at least one thing about the behavior: It is learned! One is not born with it, practicing such. Also, to approve and encourage such is to harm rather than help the person; approval is produced either by a lack of understanding or concern for the person's eternal and immediate well-being. I have read many stories of people who practiced such, and I have yet to find one that is welladjusted in other aspects of life and conduct who practices homosexuality. The person involved knows that such is considered to be "abnormal" by the majority of the people in society. Also, I feel, that most of them actually recognize that such is an abuse of the body-theirs as well as the other person engaged.
The thing that troubles me most, however, is that their soul will be lost (1 Cor. 6:9-11). It is plainly stated, and if one accepts the Bible as stating the truth, there is just no way they can get around the plain, simple, emphatic statement!
The Disciple's Distance From Those Who Engage in Such
God so loved the world-meaning the wicked and lost people-that He gave His only begotten Son to die that all who would come to Him could and would be saved (Jn. 3:16). This demonstrates the attitude that the disciples of Christ must have toward this person as well as all other sinners (1 Pet. 2:21f). We must love the person as we love our self (Mt. 22:37-40). We cannot lose sight of that fact, but we must keep our senses and affections clear from distortion, which some evidently are not doing!
God and His Son demonstrated love-both in a positive and a restraining way. Jesus came to save from their sins, not in them (Mt. 1:21). To leave man wallowing in the corrupt practices of falling humanity would actually do him no good at all. But to lift him up and forgive him and motivate him to clean up his life, demonstrated power and wisdom and sanctification such is the essence of the Word of God.
Many people saturated with the wisdom of this world, claiming to be born by the spirit of God, proclaiming an abundance of humility, fail to see the restraining aspect of Jesus' love. The scriptures say: "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Eph. 5:11). That means that the disciple cleansed from his corrupt past by the blood of Christ must keep his distance. No, the passages are not speaking specifically of homosexual behavior, but they are speaking relative to all un-scriptural behavior; such is the work of darkness!
Friends, to give an alcoholic more liquor is not a sign of love and care; telling a sick person that they are not sick and, thus, are not in need of medical help is no sign of understanding and a brotherly atttitude; giving a drug addict what he wants is not helping him. A real friend is one who will tell you what is wrong and help him get what he really needs. This is the case relative to love, understanding, and concern for the homosexual person. Let us be enlightened by God's word, moved by our concern to help the sinner, and willing to go to them and try to lead them to the Lord. Let us not be so repulsed by this behavior that we will judge them as untouchables, because some who were of such character did respond to the preaching of the gospel (1 Cor. 6:11, 9-10).
Yes, beloved, homosexual behavior is repugnant, very distasteful to me. I am convinced that it is such to the Lord. Yet, there is a remedy: (1) for people to know the un-naturalness of the act and to accept the Lord's declaration of the same; (2) for all to know that the Lord is able to lift one out of his fallen state and give him a new start and provide the fuel by which energy can be generated to keep him moving toward heaven all the days of his life. This message must be understood, believed and told. Are you accepting? Activated? Many souls may depend on it, including ours.
Truth Magazine XXIII: 19, pp. 316-317