1 Corinthians 6:9-11 - Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
"Out of the closet" is a phrase which is frequently expressed these days by members of the gay movement. It is meant to convey the idea that what was once secretly or ashamedly practiced behind closed doors is now openly acknowledged and generally accepted in society. In our culture, homosexuality is increasingly considered a "sexual preference" or an "alternative lifestyle," and acceptance of any sexual orientation is supposed to be one of the hallmarks of an enlightened society. Is this new-found freedom really a benefit we've been missing while homosexuality remained hidden in the closet? Or is homosexuality a sinful deception that's been let out of the closet? According to the Bible, homosexual activity is sin. As sin it can be forgiven, but let us not be deceived into thinking that homosexual behavior is not sin. In 1 Corinthians 6:9 God warns us not to be deceived into thinking that certain practices are not sin, and one of the sinful practices listed is homosexuality. A growing segment of the Christian community is failing to heed this warning. A number of Christians have gradually been brainwashed by our culture into thinking of homosexuality as an optional lifestyle which is regrettable, perhaps, but not sinful. We're told that it's only our "traditional roots" that have caused us to view homosexuality as a social stigma. We're told that we need to drop our "Puritan hangups" and enjoy the freedom that's available when we take off our historical blinders. But such thinking is part of the deception that has emerged out of the closet with homosexuality. Such a view is possible only if we throw out the Bible! Under the Old Testament Law, homosexual conduct was punishable by death. "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads" (Leviticus 20:13). There were only a limited number of sins that were punishable by death under the Mosaic Law and the practice of homosexuality was one of them. Could God communicate in any plainer terms the seriousness of this sin? Some well-meaning people attempt to soften the strong words of the Mosaic Law by reminding us that we are no longer under the Law of the Old Testamentwe are now under grace! They point out that we don't put homosexuals to death today because "Christ is the end of the Law" (Romans 10:4). This is true, but this does not mean that God has changed His view on homosexual practices! While the ceremonial and civil laws and penalties of life under the Old Covenant are no longer in effect today, the moral values of the Creator have not changed. God's moral standards never change. (See Malachi 3:56.) If we say that homosexual activity is no longer sin because it is no longer punishable by death, we are deceiving ourselves. Another part of the package of deception that has come out of the closet with homosexuality is the idea that this particular sexual orientation is a natural tendency. As such, it should not be considered sin. It is true that certain individuals seem to be more predisposed towards homosexuality than others, but the same could be said of occult practices or substance abuse. The fact that a person has a tendency or addiction in a particular area (maybe even a genetic predisposition) does not make that particular practice acceptable to God. The rationalizations of "I can't help it, I was born this way," or "God made me this way, so what more can I do?" should certainly motivate us to reach out to the homosexual, but such statements do not change the biblical standards. After all, the same excuses could be made by heterosexual fornicators and adulterers. The Bible leaves no doubt that homosexual behavior is not a "tendency" - it is a sexual perversion. Leviticus 18:22 shows clearly that homosexuality is the practice of sex outside the boundaries that God has set up: "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination." Paul wrote in Romans that homosexuality was a departure from God's original design for sex between a man and a woman in marriage. "Men 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" (Romans 1:27). The spread of disease which is sometimes associated with homosexual practice may bear witness to the truth of this Scripture. God's view is that homosexual conduct is an unnatural departure from His moral standards. Another deceptive idea that has come out of the closet is that homosexual sex is not sinful if it is practiced in love. According to this view, homosexuality was denounced in the Bible because this practice was frequently associated with abuse and violence. God's judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19), for example, was not for homosexuality as such, but rather for a lack of love and concern for others and unbelief towards God. The same is said to be true of the conditions at Gibeah in Judges 19. And the Romans 1 passage, in this view, condemns homosexuality only as it was practiced by the pagans. If homosexuality is practiced in the context of love and commitment (so the argument goes), then homosexual relationships and even "marriages" can be healthy and wholesome relationships. The problem with this view, of course, is that it is not supported by one ounce of Scripture. Where is the Scripture that even hints at the idea that "loving" homosexual relationships are approved by God? The wild suggestion that the beautiful friendship of David and Jonathan was a homosexual relationship is a flagrant violation of the principles of biblical interpretation. Whenever we take our own ideas or desires and read them into the Bible, we rob God of His position of authority to speak His mind to us out of the Bible. According to Jude 7, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were judged for sexual perversion, not only for selfishness and unbelief. Sexual perversion is not defined merely as "sex without love." Sex within the marital bounds that God has set up can be practiced without love. While this is certainly a departure from God's ideal, it is not sexual perversion. The practice of homosexuality, however, with or without "love," is a form of sexual perversion and is condemned by the Bible. God's intention from the beginning was for "a man to leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). The Lord Jesus in no way modified this creation ordinance. (See Matthew 19:5.) If homosexuality "with love" were really acceptable to God, this practice would not be lumped together in 1 Corinthians 6:910 with idolatry, adultery, stealing, drunkenness and slander. The text would list sexual violence or sexual abuse instead of homosexuality as the sin. This would be true of 1 Timothy 1:811 as well. Homosexuality practiced in a context of "love and commitment" is just as much in the category of sin as adultery or idolatry practiced with so-called love and commitment! If we disregard or gloss over this Scripture, we deny the clear teaching of the Bible and choose the way of deception. Many homosexuals have chosen to deny that the Bible is the Word of God. Denial of the Bible is really the only logical way that homosexual activity can be justified. Amazingly, atheistic humanists have tried to build cases both for and against the practice of homosexuality on the basis of what's "best for mankind!" This kind of reasoning is like attempting to build on a foundation which is located in midair! Unfortunately, most of these humanists have not thought through to the logical conclusions of their denial of God and the Bible. They do not see that without the God of the Bible and His absolute moral standards given in the Bible, there is no basis or foundation for making any moral judgment. In this context, all human judgment and all laws of society become relative and ultimately meaningless. Because Christians are not immune to gradual brainwashing by the humanistic ideas that have seeped into and colored the thought processes of our society, this philosophical deduction may be difficult for us to grasp. However, let's think it through step by step. In reality, is it rational or logical to attempt to build any moral values into "society" if its "members" are merely evolved molecule arrangements? You see, if there is no Creator, human beings are reduced to nothing more than complex arrangements of molecules that have evolved over long periods of time, by chance mutations, from "nothing." Can such molecules have "meaning"? Can collections of molecules, even complex ones, have ultimate meaning or value, or make moral judgments? Is it philosophically sensible to believe that any "social values" or laws can be or should be forced upon evolved molecules? If we as human beings are evolved molecules, moral values like "do unto others what you would like them to do to you" or "murder is wrong" logically carry no weight. If molecules have no ultimate value or meaning, does it make any difference if one evolved complex arrangement of molecules (called a person) happens to "kill" another complex arrangement of molecules? Or does it make any difference if two assortments of molecules interact to "have sex" with one another, regardless of whether they are labeled "male" or "female?" So if there really is no Creator, and the Bible is merely a collection of "wisdom sayings" and human ideas about some hypothetical supreme being which were written long ago by a small portion of evolved humankind, then there is no moral authority whatsoever, and anything goes. Any and every moral value that human beings (remember, we are only evolved molecules!) might attempt to make is completely meaningless. If the human race came from "nothing" and will ultimately come to nothing when the universe ends in its fiery death, then what difference does it make if non-moral molecular groupings do anything they want in the meantime? "Homosexual conduct" would be no more sinful than mixing up molecules in a test tube! No wonder the bottom line of the deception package coming out of the closet is an attempt to deny the Bible as the authoritative Word of God. Unfortunately, however, for those who deny the Bible with this line of thinking, acts such as stealing and murder are also no more sinful than mixing up molecules in a test tube! Without the Bible, all foundation for law and order and for any moral judgment in society is gone. When the Bible is accepted and properly read and interpreted, we see that the God of the Bible does not condemn the practice of homosexuality without offering love and hope to homosexual persons. We read in 1 Corinthians 6 that some of the Corinthian Christians were formerly homosexuals. But they had become Christians, and in Christ they had not only been forgiven of all their sin, but they were enabled to break free of their homosexual lifestyle. They were now "washed and sanctified" (v11). This does not mean that they no longer faced temptation. Washed and sanctified heterosexual Corinthians also struggled with sexual temptations, but in Christ they also found victory. That same power of Christ is still available today! Growing Christians must not fear, ignore, shun or forsake the homosexuals who have come out of the closet, but must reach out to them in Christian love and offer them Christ--the only way out of deception.