In this final post in this series on homosexuality, I’d like to focus on two sometimes-overlooked aspects of the last verse of Romans 1 in relation to this particular sin.
Homosexuality and the Purposes of Marital Intimacy (with related links)
Homosexuality — What the Bible Clearly Says
Romans 1 and Christian Errors on Homosexuality (part one)
Romans 1 and Christian Errors on Homosexuality (part two)
Romans 1 and Christian Errors on Homosexuality (part three)
Romans 1 and Christian Errors on Homosexuality (part four)
The Scottish Kirk now permits the ordination of actively practicing homosexuals. We’ve been looking at this in our Bible Study, with these posts based on that study.
24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27 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, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
As we’ve seen earlier, this passage is not simply about homosexuality, but about those who reject God, refusing to glorify Him, and the many sins (including homosexual sins) that come out of that rebellion. Verse 32 tells the level of depravity to which rebellious sinners can sink. It thus applies to those who commit homosexual sins as described earlier, but also to those who commit many other sins.
“Have Pleasure in Them that Do Them”
It is easy to see the truth of these words — sinners take pleasure in those who commit these sins. Non-homosexual politicians support homosexual marriage so they can be seen to be supporting this sin. The press, the entertainment industry, sport organisations, all the prominent voices (including many popular religious “leaders”) rush to endorse as heroes those who “come out” and to demonise any who say God does not approve.
This is not solely true of homosexual sins. Our society celebrates all kinds of immorality. The entertainment industry (including “news” providers) almost invariably portrays rebellion against parents as good and acceptable, and mocks Christian faith. Viewing violence for entertainment is “normal,” and it is expected (often seen as commendable) for sportsmen / athletes to be proud and boastful.
Many Christians find this distressing, but it is exactly what Romans 1:32 says to expect from corrupt, God-rejecting people. Rather than be discouraged, Christians should be encouraged to see Scripture so obviously validated.
Romans 1:32 can be useful in witnessing. Many unbelievers know that homosexual behaviour is wrong and wonder why everyone is so thrilled with it. This verse describes exactly what they see around them. The Lord can use it to open their eyes to Scripture’s authority and to lead to further conservation about spiritual things.
“Knowing the Judgment of God”
This verse tells us that those who commit such sins know they are under God’s judgment. We can easily get caught in debates / arguments as to whether homosexual behaviour is right or wrong, but that is futile and irrelevant — they already know.
Those who commit homosexual sins suffer in conscience, or they would not try so hard to silence those who believe their actions are wrong. (I wrote earlier on the homosexual hunger for validation). Some may have seared their conscience so badly that its functioning is badly hindered, but they still know their actions displease God. They may make outward claims of a clear conscience, but Romans 2:16 says God will judge the secrets of the heart. The guilt of the sin, both before God and in the person’s own conscience, will not be removed by “Gay Pride” marches or silly legislation.
We don’t have to debate whether or not homosexual behaviour is sin. God clearly says it is, and Romans 1:32 tells us they know it, too. As I wrote earlier, it is only a symptom, anyway. The real problem is rebellion and unbelief. If God blotted out every verse against homosexual sin, a guilty conscience would still tear at them, for that sin and all their other sins. They would still need a Saviour, still need to repent and believe, still need to be cleansed from sins, still need assurance of God’s forgiveness.
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
We don’t need to argue the morality of homosexual behaviour. Those who commit this sin are reproved by the Spirit. We can speak of God’s provision of righteousness, asking that the same Spirit convict them of the truth of that wonderful message.
I’ve spent a lot of time on Romans 1 in these five posts. Most of that has been to address errors that Christians sometimes make. A common theme runs through these posts — this passage is about those who are lost in their sins, and a focus on redemption’s message will prevent a lot of errors.
Romans 1 tells of the need for redemption. The Old Testament tells of the need for redemption. So does I Corinthians 6 (another key passage on homosexual sins). Whether we discuss this in the political realm or the evangelistic realm, if we want God’s blessing we need to keep sharply in focus His view of the sin and those who commit it.