God tells us through Paul, as translated in the KJV, to rightly divide Word of God, the Bible (2 Tim. 2:15). “Rightly divide” comes from the Greek verb orthotomeo and literally means to cut straight. As reflected in newer translations, God means that we should strive to correctly/accurately/rightly handle or teach Scripture. We should make every effort to understand it as God intended for us to understand it.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. People like to take the Scripture—especially the words of Jesus—and fill them with a different meaning than intended by God. Whether intentionally or not, many twist the Bible to support their own viewpoint. Recently, President Obama did just that on May 9, 2012 when he announced in an interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts that he now supports the legalization of homosexual marriage.
Don’t get me wrong. President Obama is entitled to his opinion on the subject no matter how much I disagree with him. You’re entitled as well, but none of us are entitled to use the Scripture to support our opinion if Scripture doesn’t support our opinion. To do so is to wrongly divide the Word of God. It’s misguided at best and to lie at worst.
Read what he said and how he used the Bible:
At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that—for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that—I think same-sex couples should be able to get married…In the end, the values that I care most deeply about, and she [Michelle Obama] cares most deeply about is how we treat other people. We’re both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but when we think about our faith the thing at root that we think about is not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf but it’s also the Golden Rule – treat others the way you’d want to be treated. [Full Transcript]
President Obama said that his opinion on homosexual marriage is shaped by the Bible, particularly Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31, which is widely known as the Golden Rule. Jesus said in Matthew 7:12, In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. In Luke 6:31, He said, Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. Most of us have not memorized the Golden Rule in those exact words. You probably know it best as “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”—at least that’s how I know it best.
It’s easy to see how President Obama and others take the Golden Rule as supporting homosexual marriage and any number of other things. They reason, “I would want others to let me do what makes me happy. So, I am going to be in favor of whatever makes them happy.” Was Jesus the first postmodernist? Absolutely not! (pun intended, by the way) You see, one cannot just take a verse of Scripture, rip it out, and insert your own interpretation. It must be interpreted by Scripture.
What President Obama and others like him are missing is that Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31 are just different ways of saying the second greatest commandment. Jesus tells us that the first greatest command is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind (Matthew 22:36-37). He then goes on to tell us the second greatest one, The second is like it, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” (Matthew 22:39). Now, how do I know that Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31 are just different ways of saying Matthew 22:39? I know this because after telling us the second greatest commandment, Jesus says that on these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets, (Matthew 22:40). That’s exactly what Jesus told us in Matthew 7:12 after stating the Golden Rule, In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. So, when Jesus says “treat” others or “do unto” others, what He means is “love” others. The Golden rule would then be better understood as Love others as you would have them love you.
The problem is that President Obama and many others don’t define love biblically. They define love as supporting me in doing whatever I want to do—“I’m going to support you in doing whatever you want to do because I would want you to support me in whatever I want to do.” That’s how the world often tries to define of love, but what if the thing a person wants to do is harmful physically, emotionally, or spiritually? What if they really wanted to jump out of an airplane at 10,000 feet without a parachute? Does “I’m going to support you in doing whatever you want to do because I would want you to support me in whatever I want to do,” sound like love in that situation? No way! It would be completely unloving to just say, “Go ahead.” Common sense says that “I’m going to support you in doing whatever you want to do because I would want you to support me in whatever I want to do,” isn’t love.
It’s certainly not the Bible’s definition of love either. Here’s how the Bible defines love: Love…does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth, (1 Corinthians 13:4-6). Love loves truth and righteousness, and love hates falsehood and unrighteousness. So, to support homosexual marriage—even homosexuality itself—is to actually hate the people struggling with that sin because it is rejoicing in unrighteousness and falsehood.
If you really want to love somebody concerning homosexuality, lovingly tell them the biblical truth, which is:
1. Homosexuality is rebellion against God’s design for humanity.
We see God’s design for man and woman in Genesis 2:18-25:
- Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” 19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. 21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22 The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” 24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Common sense screams the truth that homosexuality is rebellion against God’s design in nature, but here we have Scripture’s account of creation. God made a man and a woman, and then gave the woman to the man for a companion. Men and women were designed to fit together spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Homosexuality rebels against God’s design, and there is a great price to pay even physically as Romans 1:27 points out, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. Male homosexual acts in particular can do great damage to the body and significantly increase the risk of infectious disease. Even if the physical toll on the body due to homosexuality is minimized, there is great emotional and spiritual damage done as well. God designed men to be with women and women to be with men.
2. Homosexuality cannot obey God’s commandment to be fruitful and multiply.
God commands man and woman in Genesis 1:28 to be fruitful and multiply:
- God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
God had in mind that a man and woman would marry and have children. Homosexuality completely flies in the face of this idea. It’s impossible for two men or two women to have a baby. You might say, “Now wait a minute! Lesbian couples have babies all the time through in vitro fertilization or some other medical means.” But, you forget that it still takes a male sperm donor to fertilize one of the lesbian partner’s eggs. There’s no way around it: it takes a man and a woman to procreate. Therefore, homosexuality cannot obey God’s commandment to be fruitful and multiply.
3. Homosexuality might not be just a choice, but it is still a choice.
There has been a big debate as to the origin of homosexuality. Some would lead us to believe that homosexual attraction is merely a choice. Others would have us to believe that homosexual attraction isn’t a choice at all. Certainly, there are more instances than some would like to admit that homosexual attraction is merely a choice, but perhaps the answer is somewhere in the middle.
For those of us who are Bible-believing Christians, we know full well the impact that sin has had on humanity. It has totally marred every aspect of a human being: our intellect, our will, our emotions, our spirit, our biology, and everything else. There is no part of a human being that sin has not touched. We are born sinners. Ephesians 2:1-3 make this ever clear:
- And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
We are born sinners, and homosexuality is without a doubt an outworking of being born a sinner. It very well might be that the damage of sin leaves some people inclined to homosexual temptation. Others by their very temperament are prone to sinful anger, it seems that most men are prone to sexual lust, and it seems that we’re all prone to be liars. Just let a preschooler get into trouble, and you’ll see virtually every one of them display what good liars we sinners are prone to be. So, I have no problem saying that homosexuality might not be just a choice. We often don’t choose our temptations.
However, while we might not choose our temptations, we every time choose our sins. It’s not a sin to be tempted. If so, then Jesus sinned in the wilderness when the devil tempted Him, but we know that Jesus was sinless (Hebrews 4:15). Temptation is not a sin, but to give in to that temptation is sin, and that is always a choice we make. Nothing outside or inside a person causes them to engage in homosexual lust and action. The one who does so is completely responsible for their sin because sin is always a choice. They did what they wanted to do. So, while homosexuality might not be just a choice, it is a choice nonetheless, and the person engaging in homosexual acts will be held accountable for disobedience to God.
4. Continuing in homosexual lust and activity signals that God is bringing a curse on that person.
Read carefully how continuing in homosexual activity is an outworking of God’s wrath on a person.
- Romans 1:18-27, For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
As a result of men and women suppressing the truth of God in unrighteousness, God “gave them over to degrading passions.” That’s another way of saying that God cursed them with degrading passions, which are further explained as homosexuality. Now, that doesn’t mean that God made them commit homosexual acts. It simply means that God, as a function of His wrath, withdrew His restraining grace from them.
The same is true today. Continuing in homosexual lust and activity signals that God is bringing a curse on that person.
5. Continuing in homosexuality will bar a person from Heaven.
There are many who are deceived into thinking that they can continue in homosexuality and be absolutely fine with God on the Day of Judgment. That’s simply not true. God is very clear in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10:
- Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.
It’s important to note here that homosexuality is not the only sin. It’s right there with adultery and drunkenness and many others. This list is by no means exhaustive. Nevertheless, God is communicating to us that those who continue in sin, including homosexuality, will not inherit the kingdom of God. In other words, they will be barred from Heaven.
Some who continue in homosexuality will say, “But I’ve trusted in Jesus Christ!” The fruit of your life says the opposite (Matthew 7:15-19). No one who is a true follower of Jesus Christ embraces sin. To embrace sin is to reject Jesus. Therefore, it’s not enough to simply claim forgiveness and salvation through faith in Jesus. There must also be repentance leading to transformation. This transformation is not what saves us but is proof that we’ve been truly forgiven and saved. Those who continue in homosexuality prove they have not been forgiven or saved and will be barred from Heaven.
6. Homosexuality can be overcome by the transforming power of God through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
There is great hope for the one struggling in homosexuality! There is victory over it by the transforming power of God through the gospel of Jesus Christ. We just read 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, which is terrible news, but God doesn’t stop there. He continues on to tell us in 1 Corinthians 6:11, Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
I love the past tense of the verb “to be” in the beginning of the sentence: such were some of you. God is saying that in the Corinthian church, there were individuals who used to be homosexuals, but they had been transformed. They had been washed, sanctified, and justified through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. There’s hope for victory over sin, even homosexuality, for all who will come to Jesus!
One of the greatest lies in the discussion over homosexuality is “You can’t change. It’s just who you are.” That’s a lie! While it’s true that homosexuality is a gripping, sinful lifestyle and that you can’t change by your own power, you most certainly can change through the power of God. Indeed, He wants to change you!
So many who struggle with homosexuality have just given up and given in. Don’t surrender to your homosexuality. Surrender to Christ. He calls you to Himself just as you are but desires to transform you into just as He is—holy, pure, without the blemish of sin. May it be said of every one of us, “Such were some of you!”
So, in light of a full understanding of the Golden Rule: Promote righteousness, which includes denouncing homosexuality, in other people’s lives as you should have them do so in yours. If you really love the person struggling with this sin, lovingly stand for them by standing against this sin and all sin while offering them certain hope through the gospel of Jesus Christ.