Q: #387. Why is homosexuality wrong? What does the Bible say about homosexuality?
By: Steve Shirley
A: Update: It is April of 2016 as I write this. I share this date because I am updating a previous study I wrote on homosexuality about 10 years ago. Since that time, it has been breathtaking how swiftly homosexuality has become prominent, and more importantly accepted by our culture. In fact, I consider this one of (or perhaps the most) the most pressing issues facing Christians today. Since I last wrote on this, we now have: legalized gay marriage, several church denominations marrying gay people and ordaining gay clergy, churches being sued for refusing to marry gay couples, Christian individuals being sued for refusing to provide various services to gay couples (i.e. refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding), and nearly every show on television now having at least one gay person.
In the midst of all of this, what are we Christians to do? We need to stand on Biblical principles! To this end, I want to revisit this issue, adding new material, and expanding on what I wrote previously. So, let's jump in.
First, it should be noted that while it might seem that the number of homosexuals is on the rise (because this issue is so prominent today), this does not appear to be the case. According to a report from the CDC (on 9-27-15), homosexual men make up approximately 2% of the population. The difference between now, and the past, is that homosexuals used to hide their identity, and now they are openly, and proudly ("gay pride") declaring it (coming out of the closet). In addition, they are very vocal, and have gained the support of a liberal media (print and t.v.) who works on their behalf to gain acceptance for homosexuality. And, it is working.... A recent poll by the "Pew Research Center" (11-3-15) says that 54% of Americans who identify as Christian (including non-Christian groups such as Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses), "now say that homosexuality should be accepted, rather than discouraged, by society." And, "While this is still considerably lower than the shares of religiously unaffiliated people (83%) and members of non-Christian faiths (76%) who say the same, the Christian figure has increased by 10 percentage points since we conducted a similar study in 2007."
However, even though a majority of people may accept homosexuality, the MOST important thing is "Does God accept homosexuality?" The Bible clearly shows us that He does not; condemning the practice of homosexuality. Homosexuality (also called "sodomy" in the Bible) is spoken of as sin in a number of places in the Bible. Sodomy means to have sexual relations with a member of the same sex or on animal. In fact, the word sodomy comes from the city of Sodom in the Bible. In (Gen 19:1-8), men of Sodom wanted to "know" (have sex with) two angels that God had sent to the city, and who were staying with Lot. The next day, because of the wickedness of Sodom, and in particular the homosexuality, God completely destroyed the city. (A similar story to this can be found in [Judges ch.19-20], with the men of Gibeah wanting to "know" a visitor to the city. Instead, they raped and killed the man's concubine. God gave approval for the Israelites to kill the men of the city.)
In addition to these condemnations, here are a number of other verses in the Bible dealing with homosexuality/sodomy.
(Lev 18:22) Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
(Lev 20:13) If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
(Rom 1:24,26-27) Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: (26) For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: (27) and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one towards another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.
(1 Cor 6:9-11) Says that "abusers of themselves with mankind" shall not enter the kingdom of God.
(1 Tim 1:9-10) Says homosexuality is contrary to sound doctrine.
(1 Kin 14:24) And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel.
(Deut 23:17-18) God commanded that no Israelite was to become a sodomite.
These kings did "what was right in the eyes of the Lord:"
Asa: (1 Kin 15:12) And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.
Jehoshaphat: (1 Kin 22:46) And the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land.
Josiah: (2 Kin 23:7) And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the Lord...
Sadly.... there are some in the homosexual community who painstakingly attempt to refute that these verses are speaking of homosexuality as a sin. However, these refutations are very shallow, and do not hold any scholarly weight. Another tactic that is sometimes used to condone homosexuality is to say that since Jesus never condemned homosexuality, it must be ok. Teaching this is a GRAVE mistake! It is putting the words of Jesus ahead of the rest of the Bible. Yes, the words of Jesus are important, but they are NO MORE important than the rest of the words in the Bible. Why? Because ALL of the words in the Bible are God's words, given by God. No words are any more or less important than others. I speak more of this here. Jesus may not have addressed the issue of homosexuality, but other places in the Bible do, and they are equally important. (Jesus also did not address sins like kidnapping, rape, or incest, but these are still wrong.)
Another issue that must be addressed is the teaching that "God made me this way," in reference to homosexuality. As we established in the verses above, God condemns homosexuality as sin. As a result, it is mistake to teach that God creates people to be homosexuals. God does not create people in such a way that they have no choice but to do something He calls sin. What needs to be understood is that ANY sin is a choice. Murder is a choice. Adultery is a choice. Fornication is a choice. And, homosexuality is a choice. It is a "behavior" and an "act." We make a CHOICE to sin. God does not create us to sin.
God does determine many things about a person when He creates them: gender, skin color, eye/hair color, etc... These are choices that God has made for us. They are not choices we make. As a result, there is nothing sinful about us as God's creation. In fact, ALL men are equal in God's eyes (Acts 10:34)(Gal 3:28)(Rom 10:12)(Rom 2:11)(Eph 6:9) (Deut 10:17-19)(1 Cor 12:13)(Col 3:11)(Gal 2:6)(Job 34:19). Skin color is a physical trait that God created us with. Race and skin color mean NOTHING to God (God does not look at outward appearances, he looks at a man's heart: 1 Sam 16:7). In fact, we ALL have common ancestors in Adam and Eve. This is why racial discrimination is wrong, and sin. It is why it is wrong to equate the rights of racial minorities with the rights of homosexuals. There is nothing sinful about the color of one's skin, but there is something sinful about CHOOSING to have sex with someone of the same sex.
This is why the homosexual community is searching so hard to find any "proof" that God created people to be homosexuals. If it can be proven that God "created people to be homosexuals," then it would follow that God would expect for people to act on their same sex impulses since He created them that way. Science has attempted a number of times to find this proof, with no success. While a few studies have claimed to have found evidence that "homosexuals have a genetic predisposition to same sex attraction," these studies are almost universally discredited within the scientific community.
However, let's assume that there WAS proof of a genetic trait that leads to same sex attraction. Does this give a person the right to act upon that attraction? If one believes that the Bible teaches that homosexuality is sin, then it seems clear to me that one cannot act upon that same sex desire. There is a teaching within Christianity called "generational curses." In short, it is taught that if a parent was a child molester, rapist, murderer, drug addict, or had some other sinful stronghold, that that sin can be passed on (genetically) to their newborn child, and they may have a propensity to commit the same sins. While I disagree with this position, even if it IS true, does this mean that because they are "born this way," that they have a right to act on these desires? No, of course not... It would be sin to act on these desires (and against the law in most cases). The same is true for homosexuality. If the Bible calls something a sin, it is wrong to act upon the sinful desire.
In relation to this, another thing I would like to ask is, even if you WERE born with homosexual desires, would you be willing to forgo acting upon those desires to obey God? The Bible tells us that there is a "cost" for following the Lord (Lk 14:28). We must be willing to "take up our cross" (Mt 10:38)(Mt 16:24)(Mk 8:34)(Lk 9:23)(Lk 14:27), "lose our life for His sake" (Mt 10:39)(Mt 16:25)(Lk 9:24), forsake all we have (Lk 14:33), and love Him above anyone else (Mt 10:34-38). Are we willing to obey what God says in the Bible at any cost? The Bible says "divorce" is wrong? Are you willing to stay married to obey God. The Bible says sex before marriage is wrong ("fornication"). Are you willing to remain a virgin until married to obey God? The Bible says that unforgiveness is wrong. Are you willing to forgive to obey God? If the Bible said to dump a bucket of water on your head every day, would you be willing to do so to obey God? This also applies to homosexuality. The Bible says homosexuality is wrong, so are you willing to forgo acting upon homosexual desires to obey God?
I would also like to look at the issue of: "because God made me this way, I cannot change." This is addressed in the Bible in (1 Cor 6:9-11). Paul is speaking to Christians, giving a list of those who will not enter into the Kingdom of God. "Abusers of themselves with mankind' are on that list, as well as sodomites. However, fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, thieves, and others are on that list too (all sinful "choices"). Verse 11 is a key verse, saying, "And such "WERE" some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God" (caps emphasis mine). There were Christians in that audience who HAD been homosexuals, adulterers, thieves, etc.., but no longer were because Jesus washed, sanctified, and justified them!
This is STILL happening today! I have personally read dozens of testimonies from people who have gotten free from the homosexual lifestyle, and there are 1000's more out there. Jesus is STILL freeing people today from bondage to sin. Change IS possible!
However, I want to add that change does not "always" occur. I have found that every person on this planet has what I call a "besetting sin." This simply means that every one of us has one sin that we struggle with more than any other. For example, many men struggle with sexual sins (i.e. pornography, lust). For the homosexual, same sex attraction would be their "besetting sin." When a person makes a decision to confess they are a sinner, repent (turning from their "besetting sin," as well as others), and turn to Christ, one of four things generally happen.
1. Sometimes, a person is "immediately" set free from their "besetting sin," and never has a desire to go back to it.
2. More often, a person will continue to struggle with that "besetting sin" for a period of time after being saved, but gradually the desire to commit it lessens greatly.
3. Other times, a person may continue to struggle with a "besetting sin" for the rest of their lives, and always have to resist (with God's help) the urge to give into it.
4. Finally, some return their "besetting sin," and sinful lifestyle after a period of time.
Each of these 4 things happens with those whose "besetting sin" is homosexuality. There are testimonies for all 4. You may be that person who gets free immediately/eventually, or you may be the person who does not get free. However, as long as you are in the first 3 categories, God will keep working in you (I do not believe #4 was ever actually saved.)! He does this through the Holy Spirit who lives in ALL believers (Rom 8:9,11)(Eph 1:13-14). The Holy Spirit will convict us of sin (Jn 16:8), lead us to truth (Jn 14:17)(Jn 15:26), and direct us (Acts 20:22)(Acts 11:12). We may even fall from time to time, and give into sin, but as long as we confess our sin and repent with a sorrowful heart, He will forgive. Keep pressing forward! Make your primary goal to become more and more like Jesus every day, which should be the goal of all Christians (Eph 4:13,15)(Phil 3:12-14)(2 Cor 3:17-18)(Rom 8:29).
A while back, I answered a question titled: "Can a homosexual go to Heaven?," where I speak in more depth about homosexuality and salvation. I urge you to read this for deeper understanding.
Finally, let me close with this. As we mentioned above, repentance is a key for salvation. This includes a willingness to turn from homosexuality. However, I would also ask those involved homosexuality to consider another thing that they may need to repent of, and that is unforgiveness. Study after study has shown that a VAST majority of people involved in the homosexual lifestyle were abused when younger. Many times, this abuse came from their father. However, whether the abuse came from a father, mother, sibling, relative, or someone else, finding forgiveness for those who hurt you is going to be a key to being set free (and healing). You can go here for some help with forgiving others.
***Note: I read a quote which came from the book "The Unhappy Gays" by Tim LaHaye, that said, "I have counseled over 300 homosexuals and have yet to find one that enjoyed a warm love relationship with his father." Abuse, or lack of a close, loving relationship with a father, is a key in understanding why many men enter into sexual relationships with other men. They are seeking the love, approval, and acceptance from a man that they never got from their father. However, that void is never filled, which causes great depression, and sometimes even suicide (the suicide rate for homosexuals is 20% higher than society in general). God the Father CAN fill that void!
If you are a homosexual who is reading this, there IS hope! Please do not wait another day! Christ CAN help you. He CAN free you from bondage! He loves you, and gave His life for your sins. You can make the decision to turn your life over to Him here. And, once you do, PLEASE do not walk your walk with Christ alone. Find a good Bible teaching church so you can grow. Find other believers to be accountable to, to pray with you, and support you. Seek counseling from a pastor or counselor. If you have any questions, or would like me to pray for you, you can click on the "Ask A Question" button.
*** For a further discussion on what the Bible says about Homosexual Marriage, you can go here.