One of the major questions believers, and non-believers alike, are facing today is the question of whether or not Jesus taught against homosexuality. Was Jesus against it, or was He someone who taught it was normal human behavior? More to the point, did Jesus view homosexuality as sin?
For many the assertion that Jesus never actually taught that homosexuality was a sin, is used in favor of the same-sex position in regards to the belief that it is not sin. However, I would like to give four reasons to believe that Jesus did view that homosexuality is in fact, sin—even if His words are not explicit towards it.
1. The God of the Old Testament condemned it, and Jesus claimed to be Him.
Leviticus 18:22 says,
“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.”
In this chapter, God condemns an array of sexually immoral behavior from homosexuality to sex with animals, to adultery, and even more. God calls these sexual acts, depraved, unclean, perversion, abominable, and He even uses a metaphor such as the land vomiting out those who practice such activities. From this passage it is clear that God’s view on all forms of sexual immorality sickens Him, and according to God is detestable. All forms mean all forms; it is not limited to homosexuality nor is homosexuality exempt.
The God of the Old Testament has referred to Himself as I AM. This was the name given to Moses to take to the people of Israel as a description of who had sent him (Ex 3:14). It is a reference to who He is as God—only God could be called I AM because it refers to His power, self-existence, holiness or set apartness. Interestingly enough, Jesus associates Himself with I AM in the New Testament while debating where He came from with the Pharisees (John 8:57-59). Even Jude himself referred to Jesus as being the one who led Israel out of slavery in Egypt, which associates Jesus with I AM (Jude 5). If Jesus is I AM, then His position on homosexuality is the same as it was in the Old Testament, sinful.
2. Jesus came to fulfill the Law, not to abolish it.
In Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount, He gives His mission statement as to the reason He came. He says in Matthew 5:17
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
Jesus goes on to warn anyone who would relax the commandments, and gives a very similar warning to the ones given by Paul in several of his letters, “For I tell you unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
The question is what Law did Jesus come to fulfill? It is essential to the saving work of Christ on the cross that He upheld the Law fully without ever breaking it in order to be the perfect sacrifice for sin. It should not be assumed that because The Ten Commandments does not mention homosexuality that it does not mean it isn’t a sin. It has already been shown elsewhere that homosexuality was lumped into the sexually immoral category by God Himself. Therefore, Jesus, if He came to fulfill the Law perfectly, would have sided with the teaching of homosexuality being a sin as it is described in the Old Testament.
It is important to understand that Jesus is referring to morality when He talks about fulfilling the Law. He kept the moral laws set forth by God perfectly, and had no intention of abolishing anything, including the teaching that homosexuality is an abomination. If Jesus was ok with homosexuality or for some reason viewed it as not sin, then He would of had to abolish the moral teaching from the Old Testament that it was sin.
3. Jesus himself taught against sexual immorality.
The mere fact that Jesus’ own words condemn sexual misconduct, suggests that there is a standard to which men and women must adhere to (Matt 5:27-30; 15:19). If there weren’t a standard, then why would any sexual behavior be considered immoral to Jesus?
God set the standard in the beginning. Sex, from the beginning has had boundaries to which it is carried out. God’s design is shown in Genesis between the first husband, and wife, Adam and Eve (Gen 2:24).
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Emphasis added)
Any deviation from this standard (between one man, and one woman for life) would pervert what was originally intended, and therefore would have been considered sinful according to Jesus.
4. Jesus’ inner circle taught it was sin, and therefore supports Jesus’ attitude towards it as sin.
Both Peter, and Jude references Sodom and Gomorrah in regards to the city being destroyed for its increasing immorality (2 Peter 2:6-9; Jude 7). Peter refers to the actions of those in Sodom and Gomorrah as “sensual conduct” and Jude calls it “unnatural desire” while discussing sexual immorality.
Peter references the flood in Noah’s day, which God brought upon the earth due to an increase of sexual immorality, and wickedness spreading on the earth. Although it does not mention homosexuality, it does show God’s attitude towards sexual immorality overall (Gen 6:1-8).
Paul refers to homosexuality by saying that God gave up the men and women to what he calls, “dishonorable passions” as he refers to unnatural sex stating that it is “contrary to nature” (Rom 1:26-27). Paul even lumps homosexuality into the mix with other sins in his other letters (1 Cor 6:9-11; 1 Tim 1:8-10).
The point is that if Jesus’ inner circle, the very one’s He chose to carry out His message, taught that homosexuality was sin, then it is reasonable to believe they were teaching nothing that is contrary to the very views of Jesus Himself.
I have sought to provide four reasons that suggest that it is more reasonable to believe that Jesus did in fact view homosexuality as sin, though His words were not explicit towards it. When looking at Scripture as a whole, and taking into consideration the teachings of Jesus, the reason He came, along with what His inner circle taught, we can come to the conclusion that homosexuality is sin.
It is important as Christians, that we understand the world will not always agree with the position of the Bible, and Jesus has already warned us of this (Jn 15:18; 16:33). There is no reason for Christians today to blow up at the world because they do not agree, this is plainly shown from James,
"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." -James 1:19-20
However, I firmly believe as Christians we are to stand firm on what Scripture teaches, even if it gets us into trouble. Romans 12:9-10 teaches that we are to love what is good, and hate what is evil. That means as Christians we are called to hate some things, particularly sin. We can hate the act of homosexuality, and we can hate the teaching that it is not sin. However, what we cannot hate is the homosexual community, we cannot hate them as they are people made in the image of God (James 2:8-10).
Life is full of hurt, tragedies, pain, and sorrowful events. Often times we as God’s people wonder why all of this is happening or why isn’t God doing anything about a particular situation. But have we ever stopped to think that God has done something about it, I mean He did send His Son Jesus, and there are now believers all over the place.
He saved us, and called us out to be His church, and He gave us commands to love Him with everything we have within us, and also to love others as ourselves. Isn’t that doing something about the hurt in this world?
We need to understand as Christians, that we are called to be there for our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are also called to love our neighbor as ourselves; we are called to love people.
I’m reminded of a story that comes out 1 Samuel 23. David is still on the run from Saul, and in fact is closing in on David. Saul’s jealousy over David had taken root in him ever since David killed the Philistine champion, Goliath. The praises from Israel to David for his great feat were eating Saul alive on the inside. Scripture testifies that from that moment forward Saul eyed David (1 Sam 17:9). Much the same way a cartoon villain would eye whoever offends them in a Disney movie. That evil sneer behind their backs concocted with an evil grin, and laugh. Saul killed him with his dirty look; he wanted David dead!
However, despite David’s constant fleeing from Saul for his life, he does not forget his duties as a man of God. Tucked away in 1 Samuel 23:1-14 is an incredible story of courage, humility, and righteousness.
David, in hiding from Saul, gets word of a city named Keilah that is being attacked by the Philistines. Israel had been at war with the Philistines, and God had time and time again given the pagan nation into the hands of Israel. Saul, being King over Israel ought to have been concerned with what was taking place at Keilah, rather he was to busy massacring priests of the LORD, men, women, and children in the city of Nob because they had allowed David to escape (1 Sam 22:19). However, David on the other hand, after he gets word of Keilah’s situation, inquires of the Lord to see if he should go up and fight the Philistines.
The Lord tells David, yes go, and that He would give the Philistines into his hand, and David would save the city. David does what God says, he goes and the Lord does exactly what He said He would do, He delivers the Philistines into David’s hand.
There is more to this story, such as that the men of Keliah, despite what David did by saving the city, would surrender David to Saul had David stayed there. Saul got word of David’s aid to Keilah, and was quickly on his way to trap David in, however, God showed David mercy and grace, and helped David escaped from the city.
The point is this. David had the righteousness to be for his neighbor, the humility to put his neighbor before himself, and the courage to act upon their behalf!
David, put his own life one the line, to be for his neighbor even when things were tough for him. This is what it means to love your neighbor as yourself. Christians have a responsibility to be for their neighbor, for another person. Did or is God doing something about the hurt, pain, and sorrow in this world?
Sure, He made you and He is actively working in people’s lives to bring peace, comfort, and aid to those around us. Even when they are ungrateful.
Be for your neighbor.
Worship is so much more than a song; I get that. In fact it is a daily thing; a lifestyle if you will, it is righteous living before a Holy God in honor of who He is.
However, there are moments during worship thru song, in which the believer catches a glimpse of Heaven. It almost seems as if the believer has stepped into a transport portal of some sort, and has found his or herself standing before the very throne of God himself.
The lyrics, the voices of others singing around and with you, the reverence and tone in the atmosphere, all these things come into play when a moment like this arises.
My family and I have been watching The Voice, because we enjoy seeing the contestants sing. The singers do their best to perform well, many are nervous, and the performance does not go as well as hoped, nonetheless, it is still quite entertaining. Those watching sit back and enjoy the show, whether by television or actually there. The judges, sit in there kingly chairs as the performers seek to persuade their coach through song to keep them on the team. Each performer is so excited to be on the stage, none can believe they are actually there, and during each song there are moments when the singer will hit some amazing note while the crowd cheers them on. Fans and family together shout for their favorites to stay on the show, even my wife and I talk over who we would like to see stay on the show; and then the moment is surreal for one of the singers, a dream come true—they’ve won.
The reason I love worshiping God thru song, is because it is so much different than The Voice. In the throne room of God there is no one on stage but Him. He sits on the throne, and there is plenty of singing going on, except there, it is not coming from the One who is on stage but from those off it. There are no judges, the entire congregation sings from the same point of view, lost but now found, blind but now see. The surreal feeling is not coming from Him who sits on the throne, but from every heart that sees Him! Angels and people alike, are singing to Him, about Him, and for Him who sits on the throne.
I had a moment like this in Chapel this morning, as we worshiped the, Great I Am, at SWBTS. A moment when you can just close your eyes, and sing along with your brothers and sisters, and worship the King. We must remember who it is we worship, He truly is a great King, Lord and God Almighty. He is deserving of our praises because of who He is, and we are privileged to know Him.
I long for that day, when I am truly there at His throne. To see Him, the one who loved me, and gave himself for me. The day when faith becomes sight, no longer will I need to endure. The race will have been finished… on that day when I see my King.
Till then, there are these moments when we catch glimpses of His throne.
Love God, Love People
“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
Certainly, loving your neighbor as yourself is a difficult thing to do; and without a doubt this commandment is not referring only to our physical neighbors, but to people in general.
The Apostle Paul is quoting Jesus’ second greatest commandment, to Love people.
It is in this commandment the first will be demonstrated. This is why Jesus, after stating the “great and first commandment”, said, “And a second is like it…” because when we as God’s people love others we are showing that we truly Love God.
Interestingly enough Paul uses financial terms to develop his thoughts on loving others. He says, “Owe no one anything, except to love each other…” Paul is saying we owe it to each other to love one another and there is no exception to this! This begs the question, what does it mean to love one another?
Certainly it is nothing short of showing people kindness and compassion, but is it more than this? Could there be a deeper sense of love for our neighbor? Paul seems to think so, in fact he lumps several commandments in with loving others. He relates obedience to God as showing love to another.
What does my obedience to God have to do with another? Well, a few things.
1. When others see my obedience to God, it shows others that I fear God.
Fearing God isn’t what most people think it is. When many think about fearing God they think about a tyrannical vicious God that wants none other than to torment people. But this is not who God is. Rather God is feared because He is righteous.
Have you ever been around someone you really respected, and because of the values they possess, were afraid to do something offensive in front of them?
Well that is kind of what it means to fear God, He is truly good, and sets the standard for perfection, therefore it is right for one to fear Him and keep His commandments (Ecc. 12:13).
2. When others see my obedience to God, the Gospel is proclaimed
When we are obedient to God, we are living out the gospel, it is then on display for all to see. The message that men are in need of a Savior, and that Jesus paid the price for our sins, enduring the wrath of God on our behalves on the cross.
When we live for Jesus, we obey Him and when we obey Him, we are living for Him. We are not only telling others that He is our Savior, but He is our Lord (Eph 2:10).
3. When others see my obedience to God, God is glorified.
There is only one who gets the glory. God created us that we might live for Him, honoring Him with our lives. We owe it all to Him, and if it wasn’t for Him we would have no hope.
God is not dependent on anything from us, and that includes our worship, rather worship is what He deserves from us. His Character, values, attributes, everything about Him commands worship, and praise, and honor. It is all because of who He is, and when we live holy lives we are glorifying His Holy name (Titus 2:11-14).
Why do we love our Neighbor as ourselves? Simply because, God is at the center of it. When we Love people, we Love God.
I recently heard a pastor describe himself as not in that caliber as he began to describe many well known preachers and men of God. He had been asked to preach at a place where several men of God who pastor large churches or have written various books have preached. Indeed, it is a place where preaching is taught, and of course many professors were in the audience.
Perhaps, it would have been ok to make a single statement like he did, but he kept on repeating how his sermon was more like scraps compared to others who have preached there, and for that reason he would apologize throughout his message.
It began to be to the point where you sense that in his endeavor to be humble, he was falling into what is known as false humility. We all deal with pride, and we all have those prideful thoughts and to say that you have reached a point of being humble really says quite the opposite. What many people do to avoid feeding this fleshly appetite of pride is they began to discredit themselves, they begin representing themselves very poorly. It is one thing to know that you cannot accomplish a certain task without the help of God, and quite another thing to bash yourself.
Humility is not degrading yourself, it is not to look down on yourself while you think about how bad you are or that you cannot compare to others. In essence, when you are doing this you are still focusing on yourself, which is not humility. Humility is never focused on self, rather it is always focused on others.
Sure the preacher meant well, he was not trying to put the focus on himself, but in reality, that is who he was focused on. False humility is the same as pride. So what can we do, how can we battle pride? If it is a constant battle, and because we could never claim to of mastered humility, then how can we fight the evilness of pride. Well, just because we cannot master it, does not mean we cannot practice it.
We must realize who we are in Christ.
Now, you might say, well that seems to be a focus on the self. Well in a way I guess you could say that, but the point is to understand our identity, and if we understand our identity then we will be able to accomplish the task without a focus on ourselves. One thing I have tried to implement in my own life, and especially anytime before I preach or teach, really anytime the attention is on me, I remind myself of what Jesus told His disciples.
The eve of His crucifixion, as He and His disciples make their way to the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus uses an illustration about abiding in Him (John 15:1-17). He says that He is the vine, His Father is the vinedresser, and then He describes His disciples as the branches. Now, just as any branch it must remain in the vine to have life, if not it will wither and die. He goes on to charge his disciples to abide in His love, which is shown by obedience, He tells them to love one another just as He has loved them, and then He says this:
"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you."
Here, Jesus calls His followers to recognize their identity. He is the one who appointed us, that we may go and bear fruit, therefore He is the one we are to serve. If we think in this way, then no matter what the task nor how much attention is brought to us, He is the one who gets the glory! But remember this is a battle, our battle of pride, hence we must think in this way. We must remember who appointed us.
Now obviously it is more than a mere thought, it needs to be applied to the way in which we serve Him. I have found that when I think in this way, it frees me of feeling the grip of prideful thoughts. Again, it is a battle in the mind, Satan wants none other than for you to lust over arrogance in your thoughts, and for this reason we must battle. We battle by not lusting in our mind, rather we confront it with truth, just as we should with any scheme of Satan. The root of all evil is pride, by whom the source is Satan himself, it is his sin. (Is 14:12-14; Ez 28:12-17; Gen 3)
If I think about who it is that appointed me, I can accomplish the task given to me with confidence in Him, and it frees me of taking the glory for His task.
It also helps the way I view others.
While attending Seminary it has been very difficult to not judge others, especially in the area of pride. Again, it is a mental battle and if I look at them in the same way of who it is that appointed them it causes me to fight off the judgement, which could indeed be false.
It also, allows me to focus on others.
Everything we do as followers of Christ, is not for ourselves but more so the emphasis is on God first, and then on others. The second part of what Jesus said was, that we may ask the Father in His name so that the Father may give it to us. We must understand that humility is never about ourselves, rather it is always about God and others.
Everything we ask for from God, if we are asking according to His will should be for the benefit of others. The whole time Jesus had been speaking of abiding in His love, which is obedience, and he then charged His disciples to love one another and not just in any way, but the way in which He loved them.
Jesus loved them, by loving His Father. We in return Love others by Loving God. Therefore, our lives should be a display of godliness, the character of Jesus Christ. We should pray for these things! This is what Jesus means when He says ask the Father! This is also why John said:
"And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him." (1 Jn 5:14,15)
It is always God's will that we are conformed into the image of His Son (Rom 8:29).
We all deal with prideful thoughts, but it is the way in which we react to those thoughts that it becomes pride. Humility is a practice, not an art that is mastered. At least not in this life.
Satan desperately desires to neutralize you by keeping you from doing anything for God because of pride; and on the other hand he wants you to fall into pride. Don't let him deceive you, fight against his schemes with Truth.
Love God, Love People