Love is love. This is what our culture tells us is the driving ethic for understanding sexuality. If you love someone, it doesn’t matter what the Bible or anyone else says, act on it.
The debate over homosexuality in America has been prominent over the last two decades. The country has swung from overwhelmingly disapproving of homosexuality and same-sex marriage, to overwhelmingly affirming it. According to Gallup, 37% of U.S. adults were in favor of same-sex couples having the right to marry in 2005, but that proportion rose to 67% in 2020. Many Christians have taken their cues from the world’s shifting beliefs on the subject of homosexuality. Churches have varied in their response from condonement to condemnation. But God has not been silent on this subject. There has been no whispering on the topic. Throughout Scripture, God has made His will and thoughts known on homosexuality. Below are three passages of Scripture, one from the Old Testament, and two from the New Testament, that reveal God’s thoughts to us on homosexuality.
1. Leviticus 18:22
In Leviticus 18, the LORD outlines all the sexual prohibitions for His people, Israel. He provides a detailed list of forbidden, sinful sexual behaviors and relationships. These include everything from siblings, aunts, sons-in-law or daughters-in-law, and many others. Why state these with this level of detail? Because we are broken and sinful, and our sexual perversion runs deep. The beginning of the chapter is a reminder to Israel that they are His people, rescued from Egypt and moving to Canaan, but they are not to conduct themselves like either of these nations. They are a set apart people. They are called to holiness. Then the LORD gets to homosexuality.
Leviticus 18:22 — You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.
This passage doesn’t go into a lot of detail, but it is clear. There is a clear command to not lie with a male as with a woman. Then God expresses the nature of the transgression: it is an abomination. That word literally means disgusting. A great wickedness. Despite how common the world has sought to make homosexuality, the LORD calls the act disgusting and wicked, an abomination. This isn’t a question of how Christians personally feel about homosexuality, but how God characterizes it.
2. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 — 9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
The apostle Paul makes a strong statement about the unrighteous not inheriting the kingdom of God. They are on the outside looking in. They are not Christians, regardless of what they profess with their mouths because their lives show the fruit of what kind of tree they really are. Those who are engaged in habitual sin and a lifestyle of rebellion will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Listed among the sins are both the sexually immoral and men who practice homosexuality. God has determined the boundaries for sexual expression (one man, one woman, in a covenant of marriage forever). The sexually immoral are those engaged in sexual thought and activity outside that boundary. This includes homosexuality, which Paul mentions explicitly in this passage.
3. Romans 1:26-27
In one of the strongest condemnations of homosexuality in the Bible, Paul outlines mankind’s rebellion and suppression of the truth in Romans 1. Humanity fails to give thanks to God, though we know He exists due to His revelation of Himself as Creator through the meticulously designed world around us. Instead of worshipping God, we exchange the worship of God for worshipping created things. This eventually leads to God giving mankind over to our depraved natures, and sinful lusts. God takes off the restraints. Then Paul says this:
Romans 1:26-27 — 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Homosexuality, according to Paul in Romans 1, is downstream from our root sin: denying God. It is unnatural, and a sin against God’s creation order. Man exchanged worship of the Creator for the worship of creation. Then man exchanges the natural design of sexual function for the unnatural practice of homosexuality.
These passages provide Christians a clear understanding of God’s thoughts and feelings toward homosexuality. He abhors the practice. God says it is an abomination to Him. It is unnatural, and against our physiological design. The practice of homosexual activities or living in a homosexual lifestyle is unnatural. That doesn’t mean people refrain from doing it. Nor does it mean it goes against each person’s feelings and desires. Some people feel homosexual attraction is natural to them. It seems more in line with their feelings and attractions than heterosexuality. But this cannot be a justifier of living in opposition to God’s revealed will.
The issue for Christians is not whether God has spoken about the subject. The issue is whether we will affirm and submit to His authority to dictate what is permissible sexually. God has made Himself clear. Will we listen, or will we plug our ears?