Vol. 5, No. 9
Since You Asked
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Names may be included at the discretion of the Editor unless querists request their names be withheld. Please check our Archive for the answer to your question before submitting it; there are over 1,000 articles in the Archive addressing numerous biblical topics. Submit a Question to GGO.
I was sitting in a ladies class last night and the statement was made that homosexuality is sinful and wrong, but if you are not a PRACTICING homosexual, all is well. What??? Scripture clearly reveals from my understanding that this is a perversion and all who are involved in this lifestyle will be condemned if they do not confess and forsake. ... I would very much appreciate your biblical insight on the subject.
There are two English dictionary definitions for the adjective, "homosexual." The first definition is "to direct sexual desire toward another of the same sex"; the operative word in this definition, for our purposes, is desire. The second definition for the adjective, "homosexual" is "involving sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex"; the operative concept in this definition is the activity. Similarly, the definitions for the noun, "homosexuality," are "the quality or state of being homosexual" and "erotic activity with another of the same sex." (Webster) In both instances, a desire or temptation precedes any possible acting upon that desire or temptation.
We learn from the Bible that it is not wrong of itself to be tempted. After all, Jesus was tempted (Matthew 4:1-10). Our Lord, though, did not act upon Satan's efforts to tempt him. James analyzed temptation or inducement to sin and, apart from temptation, the subject of sin. "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death" (James 1:14-15). Inappropriate thoughts of any kind should not be given a place to dwell in one's mind, and such things should be quickly dismissed from one's mind. Obviously, we ought not dwell on anything, which if we acted it out, that would be sinful. "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies" (Matthew 15:19).
Without doubt and without controversy, contemporary trends in denominationalism to rethink Bible truth notwithstanding, the Bible clearly and forcefully denounces homosexual activity as sinful, for which the impenitent will be eternally lost. "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination" (Leviticus 18:22). "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 homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, NKJV). See also Romans 1:26-27; 1 Timothy 1:10.
God who created us declares in the Bible that it is not ordinary or normal for men to desire men sexually or for women to desire women sexually. The fulfillment of those desires is sinful, which under the Old Testament era was punishable by death. "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them" (Leviticus 20:13).
To some extent, it is a word game to say a non-practicing homosexual is not condemned by the Bible but that a practicing homosexual is guilty of sin. Someone with biblically impure thoughts of any kind, including sexual desire for a person of the same sex, ought to immediately and purposely try to dismiss those thoughts from his consciousness. Certainly, he should not dwell upon them or fantasize about them, which itself is only a precursor to acting them out. God does hold us responsible as sinful for what we purposely think as well as what we do. "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). Anyone who participates in homosexual acts commits what God considers an abominable sin.
Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. CD-ROM. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 1993.
Please stop with the, "the Bible doesn't say how Jesus looked" and "we just don't know". The Bible clearly says he had feet of brass and hair like lamb's wool. Josephus states He was short, dark, with an underdeveloped beard. It's time for us to stop ignoring the evident!!!! It is obvious that Jesus was not blonde haired and blue eyed like most of you would like to believe, but quite probably was a man of color. Why is that so hard to admit? For me personally, what he is/was is not important, but when you see young children of color who think that all they can be is sports stars, rappers, or pimps, or that all black folks have ever been was slaves except for Martin Luther King, Jr., they especially need to know that not only did Jesus most likely look like them, but so did many other prominent historical figures. Yours in Christ, Chuck Smith
I appreciate your sentiment, wishing to find a hero to whom black youngsters can look and imitate. However, misconstruing Scripture is not the way to do it. The color of our Lord's skin or the color of anyone's skin is immaterial to God or right-thinking Christians. Jesus is the spiritual hero for every man, woman and child irrespective of one's race or skin pigment.
The passage to which you refer uses figurative language about Jesus Christ in heaven. It reads: "His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength" (Revelation 1:14-16). Phrases "eyes were as a flame of fire," "in his right hand seven stars" and "out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword" should indicate to readers this is figurative language, not a literal description of Jesus Christ on earth. Incidentally, the passage refers to our Lord's hair in this figure as "white," hardly in agreement with your assertion. The reference to "white" in the passage implies purity and has nothing to do with anyone's race. The reference to "fine brass, as if they were burned in a furnace" also refers to purity in the figure of metal heated until it is white-hot and glowing. Again, there is no reference to race here.
The Gospels of Matthew and Luke respectively give the family tree of his adoptive father, Joseph, and his mother, Mary (Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-38). None of the enemies of Jesus made any accusations regarding his parentage. Both Matthew and Luke conclusively teach that both of our Lord's parents were Jews. Therefore, Jesus, during his earthly habitation had the appearance of other Jews. He was not a black man, but spiritually, his ethnicity and skin pigment are immaterial.
If Salvation is based upon our own "obedance" than Christ's death was not worth anything. I know in and of myself i cannot earn my way nor will i ever try because the harder i try the harder i fall. When we relize the freedom we have in Christ through the shedding of his blood, Eph 1:7, than living for God become a desire instead of a duty. ~ John
One's pilgrimage to heaven from this green earth will be better served by reliance upon God's Word and properly handling it (2 Timothy 2:15, ASV; 3:16-17) than upon reliance on self ("I know in and of myself") and baseless suppositions (i.e., without biblical support). The salvation made available to the whole world by the shed blood of Jesus Christ (1 John 2:2; Ephesians 1:7) is not received by the whole world, because reaching the blood of Jesus Christ and the resulting salvation is conditional. If the blood of Jesus Christ and salvation are not conditional, then universalism, everyone will be saved, is true (e.g., including Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, atheists, etc.). However, it is abundantly clear from Scripture that not everyone will be saved; "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal" (Matthew 25:46).
Most religionists who profess Christianity will allow that one must believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ or Son of God. "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?" (Romans 10:13, 16). Incidentally, belief or faith is cited in the prior passage as part of obeying the Gospel. Therefore, either belief (which is called obedience to the Gospel; see also Romans 1:5; 16:26) is obligatory upon mankind to receive salvation, the chief blessing afforded by the shed blood of Jesus Christ, or universalism is true and everyone will be saved (in direct contradiction to plain passages of Scripture that some will be lost).
Granting that some human response is required to be the recipient of salvation owing to the blood of Jesus Christ, why is it so hard to imagine that there are additional conditions requiring human response to reach the blood of Jesus Christ and be saved? That some response by mankind to the shed blood of Jesus Christ for the souls of the world can hardly be denied by any rational person. "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12). Incidentally, human obedience appears here as well.
Human obedience does not equal sinless perfection. Irrespective of how well one obeys God by conforming to the Gospel (Romans 12:1-2), his obedience is incapable of removing sin. However, in response to man's best effort to comply with the Gospel (obedience), God extends his grace (Ephesians 2:8) and mercy (Titus 3:5) to make up the difference between where man is and where man needs to be spiritually to have fellowship with God, now and eternally.
Hence, Scripture plainly reveals that Jesus Christ saves the class of people who, imperfect as their obedience is, obeys him. "And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him" (Hebrews 5:9). Consequently, Jesus will have an entirely different disposition toward the disobedient at his Second Coming. "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power" (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). Who, then, dares discount the place of obedience in salvation?
Respecting salvation, the Book of Acts (a book of conversions) and the rest of the New Testament include several elements to which are attributed saving power, which I have bolded in the following quotations of Scripture. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved..." (Mark 16:16). "...Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins..." (Acts 2:38). "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession [of Jesus as Lord, Acts 8:37] is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:10). "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16).
When pressed, most religionists professing Christianity will acknowledge the necessity of belief or faith, repentance and professing Christ, which are acts of obedience. Most religionists professing Christianity, though, balk at acknowledging that baptism is also associated with salvation according to Scripture. This is regrettable as Scripture teaches that, in conjunction with belief, repentance and professing Christ, baptism is the point at which one comes into contact with the saving blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus shed his blood in his death when a Roman soldier pierced our Lord's side with a spear (John 19:34). Subsequently, two passages of Scripture tell how one can come into contact with that blood by symbolically joining our Lord in his death. "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?" (Romans 6:3). "Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead" (Colossians 2:12).
Are we saved as obedient or disobedient souls? No right thinking person could embrace the proposition that one is saved in his or her disobedience, especially when Scripture clearly states that the disobedient "shall be punished with everlasting destruction" (2 Thessalonians 1:9). Respecting initial salvation, one's obedience culminates in baptism for the remission of sins. Failure or refusal to be baptized, in view of the passages cited above and more not consulted here, is disobedience, for which souls greeted by Jesus at his Second Coming will see him coming "in flaming fire" (2 Thessalonians 1:8).