Topic #1: 5 Things We Know the Bible Says with Clarity About Sexuality, Marriage and Sin
(If you’ve not read the Talking Points Series Introduction, posted on June 22, 2015, please read that first or this blog my not make much sense (http://bit.ly/1H8Ufs7).
What does the Bible teach? Five key “Talking Points”
1. Humans were created with specific intent One of the central tenants of the Christian faith, is the idea that humans were created to be and to live a certain way, God’s created intent. This includes who we were meant “to be” and what we were meant “to do” sexually. And he declared what he created “good.”
Therefore, the standards of what is right or wrong, or normal or abnormal, are set by God, according to his intention, and not what humans feel are normal or abnormal. (Read Genesis 1:26-2:24).
2. God’s original intention for human sexuality was to be fulfilled within monogamous and heterosexual, marriage. When Jesus asked about divorce he gave this straightforward answer straight from quotes out of Genesis; monogamous (“what God joined together, let not man separate.) Heterosexual (“He…. made them male and female.”) Matthew 19:4-6. Marriage (“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”) Anything other than God’s intent is sin. 3. “The Fall.” Sin has distorted our moral compass. “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all have sinned” Romans 5:12
“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:5-8
These verses explain why some things that God declares sinful, may feel perfectly natural and good to us. While other things that God declares good and normal, may actually feel unnatural and even impossible. I love this quote from Kevin DeYoung “Worldliness is anything that makes sin appear normal and righteousness look strange.”
Everyone, even born-again Christians, have a sin nature, however that nature expresses itself differently in each person. Some have a stronger tendency to lie, others to violence, or alcohol and still others to unnatural sexual tendencies.
When homosexuals, or anyone who does what God has prohibited, say, “that’s the way God made me,” that’s incorrect. It’s the way we’ve become because of sin.
4. Because of sin, God established moral laws to put boundaries on our behaviors.
To deal with these “not the way God created us, but it’s the way we now are,” issues (sins), he established moral laws, like the 10 commandments and others. If we actually lived the way God created us, there would be no need for moral laws! All these laws found in the Bible are meant to protect us from each other, and even ourselves, or to protect institutions established by God, like families and the church. Regardless of our feelings, impulse, or hormones, God says of some behaviors and thoughts, “thou shall not.”
A thief may not steal, or a husband beat his wife because “that’s the way God wired me.” And it doesn’t matter if sin happens behind closed doors and between consenting adults. God prohibits even consensual sins like prostitution and adultery, because it destroys marriages and families and sows distrust between husband and wife.
5. God considers some sins more serious than others, especially sexual sins. Some sins in the Bible, especially those in the Old Testament can be forgiven and resolved by paying the offended party a few sheep or oxen, making a sacrifice or even banishment from the community. However, for certain sins listed in Leviticus 18 and 20, mostly sexual sins, God required death. It’s important to note that most of these prohibited sexual sins are heterosexual in nature, like adultery, fornication or incest. So, God doesn’t “zero in” on homosexual sin. But, God includes the practice of homosexuality in that list as well.
“Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.” Leviticus 18:22
“If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” Leviticus 20:13
Jesus reaffirmed God’s prohibition on all sexual sins. And contrary to the claim that Jesus never spoke about homosexuality and homosexual sex, Jesus actually said in Mark 7:21: “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder,” The actual word in Greek Jesus uses for “sexual immorality” is pornia. Pornia includes every sexual sin prohibited in the Torah, including homosexual sex! The fact that he never used the term “homosexual” is irrelevant. He never used the term “bestiality” or “incest” either, but no serious Christian doubts these sins, listed in Leviticus 18 and 20 as well.
More New Testament commands Finally, we have God’s reminder in 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10 that some sins are so serious that those who give themselves over to them will not inherit the kingdom of God. “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
The most common interpretation of these verses is that committing these sins alone does not disqualify one from heaven. Paul is not talking about those who struggle with marital unfaithfulness, alcohol, or homosexual sex, call it sin, and repent and when they fail, cry out to God for forgiveness and are serious about resisting temptation. What God is condemning, is those who have given up the struggle, no longer call it sin, have given themselves over to, and embraced a life and lifestyle that celebrates these behaviors, in doing so, they prove themselves to not be children of God, thereby disqualifying themselves from inheriting the kingdom of God.
From the Old Testament to the New, God’s prohibition of sex outside of marriage stands. Later in Talking Points we’ll cover the arguments Christian gays put forward to explain away these texts or to nullify them by “getting married.”
How following Jesus works in real life.
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