2 Timothy 4:3 "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry".
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Open letter to a friend who has a gay loved one:
You have asked me to exegete Romans 1:18-32 for you to examine whether or not God through Paul is addressing homosexuality specifically or sin generally. Here is my take:
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
We are correct in assuming that this is a passage against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. The wrath of God is revealed, specifically in the fact that men die ( the soul that sins, it shall die). People who are trapped in sin suppress the truth, because, as John explains in John 3, They love darkness rather than light. The result? Jesus came to save sinners, because we stand condemned or judged already for our sins.
19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
A universal truth, God has revealed himself to all mankind. He has done this through creation, as well as the law written on the heart of man. Where does ungodliness and unrighteousness come in? When we suppress the truth by our deeds.
20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
The goodness of God and the morality of God is revealed in creation. His attributes are revealed, specifically, his power (as creator) and his divine nature(merciful, loving, and yes, just) Being that the law and these attributes are written on the hearts of all men through what we call the conscience, when we sin, we do so with (con) knowledge (science), all men are without excuse when they suppress the truth and they choose to sin. Remember, John 3:17-20...men are condemned already.
21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
They knew God, through creation and conscience, yet they chose not to honor Him. As a result, they became futile (worthless) in their thinking. Their foolish hearts were darkened or hardened.
22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
An example of this is the many religions formed over the centuries. Mankind has created gods in their own image. Philosophers have come and gone, proclaiming wisdom, yet in the end, they were proven foolish. One day, those who call homosexuality natural or something people are born with will have to face God on judgement day. They will understand they were very foolish, as will the thieves, liars, and adulterers who made a god in their own image believing that he made them that way and that they have an excuse for sinful actions. They will question the creator, as many do now, and He will say depart from me, you who practice lawlessness (MT 7:20-23)
23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Some religions (see evolution) are so foolish that they assign creation to created things, and worship those created things rather than worshipping God. Some modern and ancient religions would worship the sun, the moon, and even rocks.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
God gave them up- that is he gave up those who suppressed truth, denied their conscience, and sinned against God, and created gods of created things. He gave them up to lusts- all the things of the flesh, all the things that are manifested out of pride and selfishness. Specifically, God gave them over to impurity, which is manifested in sexual perversions, whether it be homosexuality, beastiality, incest, pornography, fornication, etc. etc. They dishonored their bodies among themselves...God made their bodies for a specific purpose, their sexual organs for a specific purpose. He made man with parts and women with parts. These parts were for specific function for the purpose of pleasure and procreation within a covenant relationship. He made woman for man and man for woman. Any 1st year biology student can understand this. But, because they are given over, their hearts are darkened, they have become fools, they believe that they can use specific parts for different functions. They have exchanged the truth about God- that he is the creator, that he has laws, and that he has attributes and character, for a lie. They believe that, for example, God created them that way. But God is not to blame for sin of any kind. We choose to sin. We have the nature to worship and please ourselves in our own lusts rather than pleasing and serving God.
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.
Very clearly, this is about homosexuality. This is not the way God made man and made women. God calls homosexuality dishonorable, unnatural, shameless, and punishable by the wrath of God. Since they gave up on God, and pursued their own lusts, God gave them up, and allowed them to pursue their own lusts. I don't want to seem mean, Ronald, but statistically, homosexuals have a much higher suicide rate than heterosexuals. Modern man attributes that to persecution or not being loved or accepted. I believe it is because they know that the wrath of God abides on them, they are filled with shame, andthey are receiving the due penalty for their error in their misery.
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
This debased mind includes belief that what they are doing is right and proper and smiled upon by God. It is not.
29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
This is the description of all the other ways that sin manifests itself in people. And certainly, we should judge ourselves. Indeed, Paul was writing to the Romans describing the world caught in sin in this first 3 chapters. He was placing all of us under the law, including the Jews (and modern day pharisees)in chapter two, who would say, well, I am not like that, so I am okay. Paul uses the ten commandments to show us that there is no one righteous, not even one.
My friend, I weep for you and for your son. I pray that instead of self protection in the form of justifying your son's sin, and believing in a false God who would change His standards and His Word for your son's benefit, I would warn your son that if he dies in his sins he will go to Hell! Part of true salvation is repentance, which includes agreeing with God about sin in your life (confession) and a 180 degree turn from that sin to God, placing your full trust in Him. If your son does this, God will forgive his sins, and give him a new heart and a new mind with new desires.