|Vol. 14 No. 9 September 2012||
Mark T. Tonkery
It seems that we hear a lot about homosexuality. Turn on the TV, read the newspaper or search the Internet, and we are bombarded by the homosexual influence. Over the past few weeks, there has been a lot of media coverage of homosexual activists in our society. Such news highlights range from the shooting recently in Washington, D.C. by a homosexual activist to the boycott of Chick-fil-A by the homosexuals because of its President’s stance on biblical marriage as well as the boycott of the Boy Scouts of America because of their stance against homosexuals being in Scouting. In addition, the President of the United States came out in support of homosexual marriage lately. It would seem that everyone is homosexual.
In reading the Bible, God designed one male and one female for marriage for life (Genesis 2:22-24; Matthew 19:11-12) in which this is the only relationship that is ordained by God for sexual relations (Genesis 1:26-28; 2:22-24; Romans 1:20-32). God has made each person a wonderful creation in His image (Psalm 139:1-16), and He did not create evil in them (Job 34:10-12). God did not make anyone a homosexual. As someone has stated, “Either you side with Chick-fil-A or you do not, but one thing is for certain, if you want chicken, you need a hen and a rooster.” God did not make people into homosexuals or into other types of sinners, but people choose to sin. Each person, including me, has struggles with sin that seems unbearable at times (Romans 3:23; 7:7-25).
Proverbs 1-9 tells us that sexual sin is a very strong temptation, and it is destructive, but we can overcome all sin. God does not allow anything that we cannot overcome (1 Corinthians 10:13). In fact, we are told to die to all sin (Romans 6:1-7; Acts 15:19-20; Ephesians 5:3-7, 22-33; Colossians 3:5-12; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7; 2 Timothy 3:1-9). Every person can overcome his or her trials, even the sin of homosexuality (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; James 1:12-20), but one must be willing to submit totally to God (James 4:7-8).
Yet, the common thought today is homosexuality is the norm and an acceptable way to live. So it seems that everyone is a homosexual. Neal Pollard in his Daily Bread email devotional (Monday, 6/4/12) noted that the percentage of homosexuals in America is only 3.5%. Gary Gates, “demographer-in-residence” at the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at U.C.L.A., giving an educated guess based on five different studies, says 1.7 percent of Americans over 18 admit to being homosexual while another 1.8 percent say they are bisexual (David Crary and Terry Tang, via Huffington Post, 4/7/11).
Maybe not everyone is a homosexual, but it seems another problem we are facing is there are many of those who may not practice homosexuality but they support it as an acceptable lifestyle. We live in a day and time that many people call good evil and evil good. Isaiah warned in Isaiah 5:20, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” James Burton Coffman commented on this passage by saying, “Calling sins by names that appear to approve of them is an old satanic trick. Thus the infidel is called a free thinker; the drunkard is called sociable; the alcoholic suffers from alcoholism; the stingy is called thrifty, etc.” Today even to speak out against these sins as well as homosexuality (1 Corinthians 6:9-10), one is called a “bigot,” “unloving” and “hater.” So society now calls “good” what God has called “evil,” and what God calls “evil” the world calls “good.” Paul warned of the danger of this in Romans 1 after talking about many of the sins that the Roman Christians were facing, including homosexuality, by stating in Romans 1:32, “…that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”
Did Jesus Teach against Homosexuality?
Yes, Jesus taught against homosexuality. Although he did not use the word “homosexual,” He did teach against it – first by promoting God’s design for marriage in Matthew 19:4-12. He excluded all other “types of marriage” or sexual relationships such as homosexuality, bestiality, polygamy and other sexual relations. Second, Jesus used the Greek word “porneia” to teach against sexual sins that His followers should not do. “Porneia” is where we get our word for “pornography” and can mean any sexual sin outside of the marriage of one man and one woman for life. It can include but is not limited to premarital sexual relations, incest, adultery, prostitution, homosexuality, bestiality, polygamy, lust and other sexual sins.
Third, Jesus taught against homosexuality by supporting the Old Testament Scriptures (Matthew 19:4). Jesus used and believed in the Old Testament where it states very clearly that homosexuality was an abomination (Genesis 19:4-5; Leviticus 18:22-23; 20:13; Deuteronomy 23:17; Judges 19:22-24, 1 Kings 14:24; 15:12; 22:46; 2 Kings 23:7). Homosexuality is also repeated in the New Testament as being a sin (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 1 Timothy 1:8-10).
Paul E. Marty
A very wise man gave some very good advice to a young preacher of the Word of God. The wise man was the apostle Paul, and the young preacher was Timothy. The advice was given in 2 Timothy 2:15. What was said was simple, yet profound, short, yet deep in meaning and best of all, it still applies today. The advice was this, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
Let us closely examine this advice. Step one here that Paul gave Timothy, and that we need to follow also, is that we study. Study is also translated as give diligence, be diligent. It is the translation of the word meaning be diligent or earnest.
Secondly, he was to study to “show thyself” – meaning to present. He was to present himself as distinguished from others. This means that studying and presenting oneself is the responsibility solely of each individual Christian. No one can do it for you.
Thirdly, he was to study to show himself “approved unto God.” Approved by God, literally comes from a word meaning tested by trial. This stands in opposition to being reprobate and condemned.
Fourthly, we are to be workman, workers in God’s kingdom.
Fifthly, we are to work as to not be ashamed. This means that we are to do work that we are not to be ashamed of, as opposed to being deceitful workers.
Sixthly, he told him to be rightly dividing the word of truth. There are some very meaningful things included in this phrase. So Bengel in his commentary here took Paul to mean that Timothy may make ready a straight way for “the word of truth,” and may himself walk straight forward according to this line, turning neither to the right nor to the left, “teaching no other doctrine.” After all, as pointed out in Revelation 22:18-19, if we add to or take from the Word of God, we fall under the curse. We must rightly divide the Word also in the sense of properly interpreting it. We must keep in mind that the Old Testament and the New Testament are not both in force, neither can they ever be. The Hebrews writer pointed out that God took away the first that He might establish the second. It, the New Testament, is a better covenant established on better promises.
So in conclusion, let us rightly divide the Word as Paul told Timothy. Let us study to show ourselves approved unto God so that we are workers who do not need to be ashamed of what we do in God’s service. May we rightly divide and properly handle the Word of God, the Word of Truth.