Posted by Stacy Lewis on May 22, 2014 @ 9:09 AM

Written by: Craig Waddell, elder at Center Church of Christ

“Jesus never condemned a person for being a homosexual.” This and similar quotations cross FaceBook news feeds on a semi-regular basis, especially during an election year. The context implies that while incarnate upon this earth, Jesus encountered one or more people practicing homosexuality and either chose not to confront them about their sexual preference or chose not to condemn them to either physical or spiritual death. Is this a valid statement? I don’t know, but neither does the author. The Bible is the only legitimate record of the years which Jesus lived upon this earth in human form; the four Gospels contain the majority of that history. The writers of the Gospels did not claim that their historical records were an unabridged narration of every event, encounter, and oration of Jesus during His ministry. In fact, John clearly states that he could not record everything Jesus did or said because the volume would be too massive. (John 20:30-31, 21:25) Any one arguing either for or against the beginning statement with its implications would be arguing from the silence of the scriptures and out of ignorance. A better way of addressing the matter is asking, “Did Jesus ever teach anything that related to the sexuality of mankind, and how should His teaching influence a person’s choice concerning practicing homosexuality?” The Bible is clear on the answer to this question.

On one occasion, the Pharisees tried to ensnare Jesus by asking Him about Moses’ doctrine concerning divorce. (Matthew 19:3-12; Mark 10:2-12) Jesus had already dealt with this issue in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:27-32), but He knew that the people needed to know the reason why He taught that it was sinful to end a marriage through divorce, or to put away one spouse and then remarry a different one. (Please note that one, and only one, scriptural reason is given for divorce and remarriage - fornication, or in our language today, one spouse cheating or having an affair.) Jesus based His answer upon the very writings from which the Pharisees were crafting their distorted question, but He went back further, all the way to the beginning of time; there are some foundational principles established at creation that have never changed and will never change no matter how long the earth exists or how “enlightened” man becomes, and the God-ordained context in which sexual intimacy is intended to be experienced is one of those basic principles.

Jesus, in teaching God’s and His intent concerning sexual intimacy said, “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man (male) leave father (male) and mother (female) and shall cleave to his wife (female): and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together let not man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:4-6, parenthetics and bold-typed emphasis mine CW) When God created the earth, Jesus was the agent by which everything was created. (John1:1-5,14; Hebrews 1:1-3) We were made for Jesus (Colossians 1:15-17), not as a toy to be played with, but as an heirloom to be valued and cherished. In the above passage, Jesus teaches that He by the Father’s command gave us the bodies they both wanted us to have, male and female, so that a male and female could be joined together in a God-tied union which man was not to untie, the two were to become one flesh (enjoy sexual intimacy), and in so doing produce another generation of males and females who could do the same. Any kind of sexual experience outside of this God-ordained marital context is classified as fornication, this includes, but is not limited to promiscuity, homosexuality, pedophilia, and prostitution. In fornication, “the limits which are willed by God (in this case in the realm of sexual ethics) are obliterated.” (The New International Dictionary of Theology; Colin Brown, Ed.;Vol.1, page 497) Thus, by this statement, Jesus told all mankind God’s expectations concerning sex and marriage; these expectations have existed from the very beginning and will endure until the end of time.

Jesus also said that anyone who received those whom He would send forth, received Him. (John 13:20) Jesus sent the Apostle Paul to the Gentiles to “open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” (Acts 26:18) Therefore, to receive the teachings of the Apostle Paul is to receive the teachings of Jesus. Paul, himself, claimed this fact. (1 Corinthians 14:37)

Paul, in his letter to the church at Rome, used the majority of his ink trying to convince both Jew and Gentile that the need for Christ’s salvation is universal. Before one can understand the need for salvation, he must be convinced and convicted of his sinfulness. The first chapter of the book of Romans was designed to convict the Gentiles. Paul described the condition of the Gentiles as holding the truth in unrighteousness and thus deserving the wrath of God. He said that they were vain, their foolish heart was darkened, and they professed themselves to be wise, but had become fools. They had changed the truth of God into a lie and had worshiped the created more than the creator. Due to these sinful desires and attitudes, God gave them up to their own “unclean lusts” and “vile affections” as they “dishonored their own bodies between themselves.” Out of all the rebellious and destructive acts that are in this world, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul chose to illustrate this “reprobate” way of life with the following words: “even the women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly.” (Romans 1:18-32) In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Paul listed several activities which unrighteous people engage in. He stated that these acts will keep the participants from inheriting the Kingdom of God. The practice of homosexuality is specifically named as one of those sinful activities. According to Paul, some of the Corinthians had been involved in this type of lifestyle, but they were no longer practicing it since they had been washed, sanctified, and justified. Could the Corinthians, or any of the other christians continue to participate in these sins and still be saved?

Paul would say in Romans 6:12, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” In Colossians 3:5-7, Paul would tell the brethren that they were to consider their bodies dead to such practices as fornication, lusts, impurity, and evil desires; they had once given into these sinful practices, but now must rid themselves of them. In the vision which John saw while on the Isle of Patmos, God said, “It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake of fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:6-8) John would say later that anyone who does the commands of Jesus will have a right to the tree of life, and may enter into the city (the new Jerusalem), but those who practiced the sins listed above would remain outside that city. (Revelation 22:14,15) .

While He was incarnate here on this earth, did Jesus ever condemn anyone for practicing homosexuality? We do not know either way because the Bible doesn’t tell us. Did Jesus and those whom he sent teach specific doctrinal principles concerning sexual intimacy and the God-ordained context in which it is intended to be experienced? Absolutely. Will the world accept those doctrinal principles as a law to govern their lives? The majority probably won’t. Will there be adverse consequences for this rejection? Absolutely. How do we know? The Bible tells us so.

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