No matter what others may say
and adapted by Winston, written by Lisa Arias
Painting by He Qi.
INTRODUCTION: Can a gay person be saved?
Can a gay person really be saved? What does
the Bible really say? According to the Bible, I found that the
answer is yes! Furthermore, you dont have to "stop
being gay" in order to be considered righteous by God!
This article is based on two assumptions.
First, God sent his Son into the world for all of us. According to John 3:16, 17 there are no conditions on Gods love. The only condition set on obtaining everlasting life, or salvation, is to believe in Jesus.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (KJV)
Second, what we are to
believe about Jesus is that he died and was raised from the dead
on the third day. If we believe this with our hearts and confess
with our mouth that "Jesus is Lord" then we will be
saved according to the Bible:
That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (NIV)
TRADITIONAL TEACHING: Gays are an abomination...
According to the general Church community
gays are an abomination. Gays are told that they have a no hope
in God; they will end up like the people of Sodom and Gomorrah;
and they are treated as though they embody all evil. A Christian
co-worker once told me that the antichrist is going to be a
homosexual man. She believed that he was going to be in the
closet at first to make everybody like him. She said that when
the time comes for him to show his evil he will come out of the
closet. I want to proclaim to you that the concept that gays have
no hope in God, as gay people, is not a Biblical teaching but a
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. (NIV)
There are many examples of traditional teachings that served no other purpose but to separate people from God.
1. Galileo discovered that the earth revolved around the sun. The Church considered this heresy according to their misinterpretation of Genesis 1. They sentenced him to life imprisonment under house arrest.
2. The Church used Genesis 9:21-27 to "prove" that Blacks were cursed by God into a life of slavery in order to justify what was done to them during the plantation days and to justify racism. The fact is that the curse fell upon Canaan, one of Noahs grandsons. Canaan was one of four brothers. His three brothers settled in Africa but Canaan settled in the Middle East.
3. Another example of a traditional teaching with no basis in Scripture is the hatred of Jews. Some think that God condemned the Jews because they killed Jesus. If it were not for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ there would be no salvation. Jesus himself was a Jew!
Finally, the Church community is wrong when it uses Gods Word to condemn you for being gay. The fact that you care what God thinks about you, proves them wrong! The fact that you have suffered hurt, humiliation, guilt, rejection and shame at the hands of these people proves that they are misrepresenting God!
The God of the Bible is full of justice, mercy and love. Yes, He has gotten and will get angry with people, but this anger is always precipitated by three things: abandoning Him in exchange for another god, abusing others morally, financially, sexually or otherwise, and abusing ourselves in the same manner. You will see this consistent theme from Genesis to Revelation.
SEARCHING OUT THE SCRIPTURES
When we look at Scriptures there are three things to consider in order to minimize misinterpretation of what God is saying:
A. Cultural setting
B. Original meaning
C. Overall theme of the Bible
After all, havent your words ever
been misunderstood by people who only half listened to you? How
much easier it is to misunderstand the Word of God!
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (NIV)
A. Cultural setting
Look at the following scripture found in Song of Solomon 4:1-4: "How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead. Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing. Each has its twin; not one of them is alone. Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon; your mouth is lovely. Your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate. Your neck is like the tower of David, built with elegance; on it hang a thousand shields, all of them shields of warriors. (NIV)
In order to understand the depth of the love and emotion being expressed here it is important to understand the significance of sheep, goats, pomegranates, warrior shields and the tower of David to that culture and then apply it to our culture. Otherwise, this scripture can be misinterpreted.
B. Original Meaning
In the King James Version Luke 8:19 reads: "Then came to him his mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press. The word press does not mean radio, TV and newspaper personalities but it simply means crowd. If we dont examine the original meanings of the words then we could easily mistranslate and misinterpret what the Bible says.
C. Overall theme of the Bible
I dont believe that any one person has all the truth. In 1 Corinthians the Apostle Paul said: "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."
Because no one knows everything fully it is
very easy to make the Scriptures "prove" anything. This
is what happens when we take the Scriptures out of context from
the rest of the Bible. For example, look at Luke 14:25, 26:
"Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them
he said: if anyone comes to me and does not hate his father
and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters__
yes, even his own life__ he cannot be my disciple." I
can easily use that to "prove" that Jesus preached
hate, was totally against the family, placed little or no value
on human life and that following him means that we must be full
of self hate. Of course that interpretation is wrong because it
is not consistent with the overall theme of the Bible. With a
little extra look into the original meaning of the word
"hate" could better be translated as "love less
than". Now that changes things and puts that text back in
context with the overall message of the Bible. It is a message of
Gods love for us that is consistent from Genesis to
Revelation. In turn, we are asked to love God above all else,
love others and love ourselves.
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
THE GAY LIFESTYLE
Unfortunately, the gay lifestyle has come to mean for some a life involving promiscuity, prostitution, child molestation, degradation etc. The gay "lifestyle" has but one purpose: to search for something to satisfy a never ending hunger.
Please notice that everything associated with this "lifestyle" is also found in the heterosexual world as well...promiscuity, prostitution, child molestation, degradation etc. The only difference is that heterosexuals do these things with people of the opposite sex and homosexuals do them with people of the same sex. Also note that just as all heterosexuals do not participate in this type of life, neither do all homosexuals.
If homosexuality is all wrong in God's eyes because some homosexuals live like this does that mean heterosexuality is wrong because some heterosexuals do likewise? Of course not!! God hates these things no matter who does them. After all, don't you hate it when someone you deeply care about is hurting themselves and others you care about? Think about it. God's love is greater than we can ever imagine much less express to another! That's why He hates the things that hurt us.
To be sure I do not defend such a lifestyle in this work. Just because a person is gay does not mean they have to buy into this gay stereotype! We are who we are and God knew it from our mothers' womb. We were made wonderfully complex!
The purpose of this article is to assure you that God DOES NOT condemn you just for being gay. A homosexual is different from a heterosexual in one way: a homosexual is attracted to people of the same sex and a heterosexual is attracted to people of the opposite sex. Otherwise we are all the people of God's creation with similar yet unique complexities of heart, mind and soul. Certainly, well all do better to devote our whole hearts, minds and souls to loving God.
IS SEX FOR PROCREATION ONLY?
Some say that being gay is wrong because there is no way to procreate. If that is so, then sex between a sterile man and/or a barren woman can't be justified either since there is no way for them to procreate. The sex for procreation only argument is unscriptural. Let's look at the two examples in the Bible where sex took place for procreation only:
1. Abraham and Hagar
In Genesis chapter 16 we find the story of Abraham and Sarah. God had promised Abraham a son but Sarah was barren. After trying with no success Sarah decided to take matters into her own hands and in Genesis 16:1,2 she tells Abraham to sleep with her handmaiden so that he could build a family through her.
Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, "The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her." Abram agreed to what Sarai said.
I don't think Sarah really meant for her husband to just "sleep" with the maid since that's not how you make babies. She was telling him to have sex with her. The sex for procreation only between Abraham and Hagar was not what God wanted. The child, Ishmael, was born from that union God blessed him but made it very clear that he was not the son of the promise. In fact, at one point God didn't even recognize Ishmael once Isaac was born from Sarah about 14 years later. (Genesis 22:1,2). Ishmael ended up being the father of the Arabs. Because of this union of sex for procreation only, there continues to be animosity between Arabs and Jews who are indeed brothers!!
2. Lot and His Daughters
In this account Lot's daughters feel an urgency to procreate. The only available man is their father. They decided to get their father drunk so they could get pregnant by him.
Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave. One day the older daughter said to the younger, "Our father is old, and there is no man around here to lie with us, as is the custom all over the earth. Let's get our father to drink wine and then lie with him and preserve our family line through our father." That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and lay with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up. The next day the older daughter said to the younger, "Last night I lay with my father. Let's get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and lie with him so we can preserve our family line through our father." So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went and lay with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up. So both of Lot's daughters became pregnant by their father. The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today. The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben_Ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites of today. (NIV)
The oldest daughter gave birth to the Moabites and the youngest gave birth to the Ammonites. These tribes became idol worshiping enemies of Israel. One of their gods was Molech to whom they offered human sacrifices. (You can read about this throughout the Old Testament.)
What does the Bible say about sex as an expression of love between two people in covenant relationship? There are several barren women in the Bible who were favored by their husbands. These couples continued to have sex knowing that they could not conceive under normal circumstances. They were Sarah, Rachel, Hannah, and Elizabeth. Sarah and Elizabeth were still having sex with their husbands past child bearing years! Was it for procreation or as an expression of love? Each of these women were greatly blessed even though they had sex when procreation was not physically possible. You can read about Sarah and Rachel in Genesis 18:9-12 and 30:22-24, about Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:1-20, and about Elizabeth in Luke 1:6,7.
A final example of sex as an expression of love is found in the Song of Solomon. This book of the Bible is a collection of love poems between two people that are in covenant relationship. When you read this book of the Bible you will not find the words children, offspring or family. You will find the word lover mentioned 28 times, darling mentioned 19 times and the bride's breasts are complimented 8 times.
SODOM AND GOMORRAH
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah has been used by people to condemn gays. The argument used by them is that God destroyed these cities because the people of these cities were homosexuals. In this section we will show conclusive BIBLICAL evidence that Sodom and Gomorrah were NOT destroyed because of homosexuals. The only book I will use to show this is the Bible.
There are several major holes in the theory that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of homosexuality. First, The idea that "all" the men of Sodom were gay is ridiculous. For one thing, Lot's daughters were pledged to be married to men of Sodom. Second, if all the men were homosexuals, why did Lot offer his daughters to appease them? What good would it do to offer a gay man a woman to have sex with? Finally, these people threatened Lot. If he didn't comply with their wishes they said they would do WORSE to him that to the two visitors. They were also trying to force the door down. They were obviously violent and they were trying to get at two unwilling guests. Whenever you mix sex with violence against an unwilling person you do not have homosexuality, you have RAPE.
There is another story in the Bible in which the same thing happened in Judges 19:13-27.
Notice the similarity in the stories. Compare Genesis 19:4,5 with Judges 19:22
Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom__ both young and old__ surrounded the house. They called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them."
While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, "Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him."
In the account in Judges the "wicked men" were appeased with the female concubine. This proves they were not homosexuals. They were after sex for power or rape. If you read further youll learn that the tribe of Benjamin was almost totally destroyed because of this incident. Neither the tribe of Benjamin nor the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were punished because of homosexuality. Both of these accounts clearly describe rape. What the men of Sodom were going to do to the angels in Genesis was what the men of Gibeah did to the traveler's concubine in Judges.
Why were Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed? What were the grievous sins that God judged them worthy of such destruction? What was the great outcry God was referring to in Genesis chapter 18? We dont need to wonder. The Bible tells us exactly why these cities were destroyed.
As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, your sister Sodom and her daughters never did what you and your daughters have done. "'Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen. (NIV)
Ezekiel Chapter 16 is an allegory God used to compare unfaithful Jerusalem to an adulterous wife for committing religious adultery. As you can see God listed the sins of Sodom. No homosexuality is listed there. Those detestable or abominable acts mentioned refereed to the religious rituals popular in that time. We will cover these in the section on false gods.
"Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. (NIV)
Here, Jesus Christ compares the sin of Sodom to the sin of faithlessness in people who reject the Gospel and inhospitality.
"Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind, it is abomination." (KJV)
It appears quite clearly stated. Now, let's put this verse in context with the whole Bible. We don't want to pull one verse out of context like the one I used to "prove" that Jesus preached hate in the introduction. This verse is a part of a group of hundreds of rules and regulations called the Law. It is important to note that this group of rules is always referred to in the singular form such as: the Law of Moses, the Law of the Lord, the Law of God, the Book of the Law or simply the Law. This Law is contained in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Jesus said: "It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law." (Luke 16:17) These rules were to be taken as one Law. It's all or nothing.
Let's look at some of the rules of the Law found in Leviticus. Chapters 1-7 has rules about the different kinds of offerings and sacrifices that were to be made in preparation for worship. Chapters 8-10 has rules for the priests regarding offerings, sacrifices, and other priestly duties. Chapter 11 has rules about clean and unclean foods. For example you will find that pork and shrimp are abomination but it's OK to eat beetles, locusts and grasshoppers. Chapter 12 has rules about purification of a woman after childbirth and the circumcision of males is a must. Chapters 13-14 has rules related to skin disorders from leprosy to scabby stuff like dandruff, eczema and zits. Chapter 15 has rules about purification of women after their period and for men with seminal discharges. Chapter 16 has more priestly rules Chapter 17 has rules about not consuming blood. Chapter 18 has rules about sex. Chapter 19 has rules about dealing fairly with others, crossbreeding of animals and crops is not allowed (No tangelos allowed and Tropicana twisters are a synthetic sin). Mixed fabrics are a no-no! (no polyester or cotton blends), no cutting of sideburns or trimming of beards, when you plant a tree you are to avoid eating its fruit for three years. Chapter 20 has more rules about sex...if a man has sex with a woman on her period they are both to be cut off from the people and that if a couple commits adultery they are both to be put to death. Chapter 25 has rules about not lending money to a country man with interest, and we are not to sell food at a profit. My favorite law is in Deuteronomy 15:1 "At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts."
We can go on and on. These laws have to do with being clean or unclean and about keeping yourself from being cut off from the people. Clean or unclean for what? Cut off from the congregation? Why?
In the third month after the Israelites left Egypt__ on the very day__ they came to the Desert of Sinai. After they set out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the mountain. Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, "This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: 'You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites." (NIV)
Israel was to be a kingdom of priests. The function of a priest is to lead in worship and offer sacrifices to God on behalf of sinners. So, this was the function of the Israelites. This was the reason they were called by God. They had to be set apart from the other nations or consecrated in order to be purified for worshiping and serving a Holy God. In Leviticus 20:7,8 He said to them, "'Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the LORD your God. Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the LORD, who makes you holy." (NIV)
When you read the Law you will find that the only way to really be purified for worship was by the blood of a lamb, sheep, goat or bull. In Hebrews 9:22 we read: "In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." Once they were purified for worship they worshiped at a special place in the center of their community called the Tabernacle. The heart of the Tabernacle was a room called the Holy of Holies or the Most Holy Place. The heart of the Holy of Holies was the Ark of the Covenant. The lid of the Ark of the covenant was the Mercy Seat. The plans for this tabernacle were given by God in great detail.
They were to follow these details with accuracy. This accuracy was very important because the tabernacle was an earthly copy of the Tabernacle in heaven.
The Tabernacle was a model of the throne room of God and the Mercy Seat was His throne! The only person that was allowed to enter the Most Holy Place was the High Priest. All of these laws and all of the ritualistic cleaning and all of the sacrificial blood had a purpose. It was so that the High Priest could enter into the Holy of Holies where more blood was sprinkled so that God would forgive the people of sin and accept their worship.
To enter the Most Holy Place the High Priest had to go through a curtain or veil. While Jesus was on earth the Law was still in effect. However, the moment he died the Law was fulfilled. Upon His death, the curtain that symbolized the separation between us and God was ripped open from top to bottom.
Matthew 27:50, 51
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. (NIV)
These curtains were over 40 feet high and they were thick. They were torn by God from top to bottom. From that moment on the Holy of Holies, symbolic of God's throne room, was no longer closed off to us. Now, we can approach God with confidence and without fear of being "unclean" because the blood of Jesus was shed for us. No longer do we need the blood of goats, sheep or bulls to be right with God. The blood of Jesus is the only lasting sacrifice required. There is no longer a need for "the Law of Moses" as it has been fulfilled in Jesus. We say that Jesus fulfilled the Law because the purpose of the Law was to gain forgiveness for the people.
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (NIV)
Now, when we believe in this blood of Jesus Christ, we are made clean or righteous by this faith and NOT by observing the Law. If observing the Law made us right with God or righteous, then Jesus would have died for nothing.
I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" (NIV)
Since we are righteous or right with God we can freely and with confidence go into His very throne room and He is also free to walk among us.
God's purpose was to show his wisdom in all its rich variety to all the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. They will see this when Jews and Gentiles are joined together in his church. This was his plan from all eternity, and it has now been carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord. because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come fearlessly into God's presence, assured of his glad welcome. (NLT)
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (NIV)
2 Corinthians 6:16
What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." (NIV)
You can't believe that Jesus died for you if you are bound by the Law and believe that you are an abomination worthy of death. If you abide by the Law then you are saying that the death of Christ means nothing to you.
Romans 6:14 says that we "are no longer under the law but under grace." The concept of grace is very simple. It has nothing to do with what you did or do or will do. The concept of grace has to do with what God has already done and why He did it! You see, God so loved the world (that's you and me) that He gave His one and only Son, Jesus, so that "whosoever" (you and me, again) shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Now, if someone judges you by the Law, including Leviticus 18:22, show them the following scripture:
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. (NIV)
Anyone who judges you by Leviticus 18:22 better stop pointing fingers at you and start making all those sacrifices, worshiping at a tabernacle, and eating beetles and grasshoppers instead of shrimp, pork and lobster. But as for us "Christ is the end of the Law" and the beginning of a great love relationship between God and us!
Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes. (NIV)
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (NIV)
WHAT DID JESUS SAY?
The only place Jesus really addressed or even hinted at sexuality is found in Matthew chapter 19. Here you find Jesus, the disciples and the Pharisees discussing this very topic of marriage between males and females. It is true that God created males and females and instituted marriage. But in Matthew 19 Jesus adds another thing that many ignore or overlook because it doesn't apply to them:
Jesus replied, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it."
Typically a eunuch is defined as a castrated male. This is incorrect. Castration means to remove the testicles (that were already there) or emasculate. If all eunuchs were castrated males then why would Jesus say that "some were born that way?" A eunuch can also be a man who has no desire or ability to have sexual relations. These men were commonly used to protect the harems.
Jesus addressed three types of eunuchs:
- Those born that way. (That could be people born gay for example, not able to have a heterosexual relationship).
- Those made that way by men. (Those castrated or those sexually abused people who choose to be gay as a result of this abuse rather than because it is their natural sexual affinity.)
- Those who elect not to have a sexual relationship for the sake of the kingdom. (For example a priest or nun. This group makes the decision on their own.)
So here, our Lord Jesus states that not everyone will marry according to the custom as in male and female. He also said that not everyone can accept this. He says that those that can accept it should accept it. Can you accept what Jesus said? I can.
Romans 1: 26, 27
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
Many like to take Romans 1:26, 27 out of the book of Romans and hang it in space. These two verses are set within a passage. To understand what the God-breathed Word of God says, we must read His word in context rather than take a verse out of the Bible and look at it by itself.
This scripture starts with the linking phrase: because of this. Because of what? Lets work backward until we get to the beginning of the thought so we can get to the beginning of the passage. In studying Romans chapter 1 one can see that the beginning of this passage starts in Romans 1:16.
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith." The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities__ his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Though they claimed to be wise, they became and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. (NIV)
In verses 16 and 17 Paul describes the Gospel: "it is the power of God for salvation of everyone who believes". Then he gives us the reason for that. He says in verse 17 that in the Gospel "a righteousness FROM God is revealed" and that this righteousness comes by FAITH in the Gospel. Righteousness comes from God down. It does not come from humans and offered up to God. Righteousness means being right with God because you have faith in the Gospel (That Jesus died for our sins and was raised from the dead on the third day.) Righteousness does not come by heterosexuality nor is it prevented by homosexuality. Righteousness is a gift. It is not earned. It is not gained nor lost by your genetic code. ( I firmly believe most of us that are gay are born that way.)
The next thing Paul does is to describe people who have no faith in God. These are people who reject the Creator for a lie. Are you in the process of rejecting God? I dont think so. The very reason you are reading this is because you are seeking answers from Him.
Interestingly, Paul was speaking of men AND women in verse 18 in the phrase; "godlessness and wickedness of men"-(anthropos) "They" chose to worship and serve created things rather than the Creator. "They" exchanged the glory of God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. This very clearly describes the idols made by the people of ancient times who worshiped the gods of the day as described in the previous section on 'False Gods of Biblical Times.' Here Paul is speaking of the associated temple prostitution. It is very clear that Paul is speaking about both men and women in verses 18-24. In verse 24 he refers to the temple prostitution acts between men and women: "them"- the godless; they were given to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with ONE ANOTHER. Well, based on the fact that this describes heterosexual acts should we condemn heterosexuality also? In verse 26 he links to the "one another" with "Even the women". This refers to temple prostitution between women as part of their worship of false gods In verse 27 he refers to temple prostitution between men and links it to the one another with "ALSO". Paul specifically referred to all sexual acts between people in the context of religious worship of false gods. His main point is NOT homosexuality. His main point is the Gospel of Christ and the condition of people who dont believe. NOTICE that this description continues! . Look at verses 28-32:
"Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them." (NIV)
In verse 28, Paul uses the word "furthermore". This means that theres more. God gave "them" over. He gave up. He allowed them to do "what ought not to be done." Paul describes these things in verses 29-32.
Those things describe a lot of heterosexuals. Some homosexuals also fit that description, however, not all homosexuals do those things just like not all heterosexuals do them. These verses describe nothing about homosexuality. They describe things that violate the three principles God insists upon: loving God, loving your neighbor and loving yourself.
Pauls thought does not finish there. It continues into the next chapter of Romans.
Most "Christian" gay-bashers don't like to read the next 5 verses. Paul is speaking to the judgmental Christians:
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.
A judgmental Christian is just as without excuse as an unbelieving, false-god worshiper.
As for me, I love and choose to worship Jesus in spirit and in truth. I live with His Spirit and His Truth within me. God wants you to know that you can live with His Spirit and Truth also. The truth is that He loves you no matter what a gay-basher may tell you. I challenge you to give Jesus a chance.
God loves you no matter what they say! Look to Him for yourself!
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