SODOMY BEFORE AND UNDER THE LAW
The Scriptures are a revelation of the mind and purpose of "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." As such, they are not primarily a manual of conduct, although they do address the matter of human behavior. Today, my employment of the Word of God is intended to establish God's attitude toward the sin of sodomy. Our response to that revelation will be governed by our acceptance of the mind of the Lord.
I shall employ the term "sodomite" instead of homosexual. The latter term is too tame for the sin. It denotes a sexual preference for those of the same gender. But this is a sin of perversion, not preference, and "sodomy" connotes sexual aberration. I will also confine my remarks to intimacies involving humanity. Sodomy also includes bestiality, another sin that extends beyond the perimeter of even nature.
My remarks will be based upon expressions found in the section of our Bibles commonly called "The Old Testament." I am employing this part of Scripture as God's dictionary and encyclopedia. Here is where definitions and concepts are developed for mankind. We glimpse the heart of our Father here--a heart that has been revealed in statutes and commandments, as well as Messianic prophecies and precious promises.
Briefly summarized, in creation God made no provision for intimacy between like genders in either the brute or personal creation. Scripture indicates that the desire for a companion was awakened in Adam when he named the animals. They came in pairs, male and female. Yet, Scripture apprizes us, for Adam no "suitable helper" was found (Gen. 2:20-21). It is axiomatic that because God chose a women for man's intimate companion, that was the only suitable choice. ere we to have no other word from God on the subject, due consideration would compel us to conclude that sodomy is moral corruption and perversion.
PRIOR TO THE LAW
Early in human history, we are introduced to the sin of sodomy, or sexual perversion. The intrusion of this sin did not occur in Eden, or immediately after the expulsion of the guilty pair from that paradise. Adam and Eve were too close to God to be enticed with this sin in Eden, and humanity had not descended into degradation far enough for it to occur immediately after Eden. This immoral seed could not grow until the soil of humanity had been significantly corrupted.
The Spirit informs us that this transgression was spawned in a society that refused to acknowledge God or retain Him in their knowledge. It is also declared to be the result of divine abandonment. Men actually burned in their lust toward one another, and women expressed sexual passion for one another. While this may be viewed as an alternative life style by cultured sinners of the 20th century, it was not so viewed by the God of heaven.
The only two historical examples of sodomy are found in the Old Testament. One before, and one after, the inauguration of the Law. The sin is of such a nature, that we not given the names of those indulging in it. Murderers, liars, and adulterers are named, but no sodomite.
The first incident is well known, and is a thorn in the side of contemporary sodomites. The city of Sodom was a citadel of sexual corruption and perversion. The sin blinded the minds of those immersed in it, and caused them to aggressively seek the fulfillment of their depraved appetite even though severely handicapped by angelic hosts. The record is arresting. "Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom--both young and old--surrounded the house. They called to Lot, Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them. Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, No, my friends. Don't do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don't do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof. Get out of our way, they replied. And they said, This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We'll treat you worse than them. They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door. But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door. The two men said to Lot, Do you have anyone else here--sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the LORD against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it" (Gen. 19:4-13).
At the outset, I want it to be clear that I am not interested in listening to the opinion or logic of anyone that seeks to dull the edge of this text. There is no philosopher or orator capable of neutralizing these words. Keep in mind that these people had no Bible. The Law had not been given, and there had been very limited exposure to the mind of the Lord. Yet, Lot knew the impropriety of the deed these men sought to perpetrate. Observe that both old and young were involved. Secondly, note that "all the men from every part of the city" participated. Third, it is not possible to misinterpret their request. They sought sexual intimacy with what they thought were two men visiting their corrupt city. It was not feasible to dignify their sin then, and it is not possible to do so now. Those that maintain Sodom was destroyed because of its lack of hospitality, only betray their ignorance of God, caused by the defilement of the world's wisdom. Their explanations do not deserve a hearing, and must not be given one.
UNDER THE LAW
The Spirit informs us that the knowledge of sin comes through "the law." Here we learn to think like God Himself. The Law was explicit on the point of sodomy. "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable (an abomination, NKJV)," Lev. 18:22, NIV. The penalty for this transgression was death: "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads" (Lev. 20:13, NIV). Our introduction to this sin is aggressive. By its very nature, it is detestable, loathsome, and repulsive.
Remember, this is an expression of the mind of God. This activity is offensive and repugnant to Him. He is repelled by it because it is an affront to His nature. Secondly, involvement in the sin brought the forfeiture of a right to live. This was a law enacted by God Himself. The purpose for its enactment was to duly impress upon humanity the nature of sin. Duly considered, it would constrain one to avoid such expressions. Further, it is not possible to read these words and conclude that sexual perversion is a matter of little or no consequence.
DURING THE LAW
There is an obscure incident during the period of the Judges that duplicates the events of Sodom. The difference is that God had revealed more of His mind at this time, making the transgression even worse. "While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him. The owner of the house went outside and said to them, No, my friends, don't be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don't do this disgraceful thing. Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But to this man, don't do such a disgraceful thing. But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go" (Judges 19:22-25).
The men involved in this incident are termed "wicked men of the city." The KJV and other versions translate the words "sons of Belial." These were men under the immediate influence of the devil. Their appetites had been corrupted by the adversary of humanity! Their request was to the point. They wanted to have relations with the new man in town. Now, the host knew the abomination of their desire. He did not view it as an alternate life style. They requested a disgraceful thing--disgraceful at any level. He did not say they had been born this way and could not help it. Something that is disgraceful can be helped!
First, using the definitive and preparatory writings of Moses, it is not possible to promote sympathy for those involved in sodomy. If it is true that these Scriptures are the appointed preparation for the New Covenant writings, it is inconceivable that the testament for which Law prepared us would justify the practice of sodomy. This sin is consistently condemned by God, without a single exception. He never condones it, never speaks sympathetically concerning it, and is declared to always judge it. There is no provision for its expression by the creation, during the period before the Law, or during the Law.
Second, any theological position that requires us to subdue impressions created by God's Word is spiritually lethal. That persuasion is fostered by the devil himself, and will, if accepted, alienate one from God. No person is at liberty to ignore concepts revealed by their Creator. Every person is under obligation to agree with the One that made him and will judge him. God will not revise His revelation, and He cannot deny Himself!
Thirdly, we have dealt with Divine foundations. In Moses and the prophets God has taught us how to think about morality. This is not an area for philosophizing, but for seeking unmitigated agreement with the God of all the earth. No man or woman is at liberty to disagree with God with impunity. He will be justified in all of His sayings (Romans 3:4).
Fourthly, the fact that God has not burned up San Francisco like He did Sodom and the cities of the plain does not indicate a change in His attitude. Nor, indeed, does the cessation of capital punishment against those guilty of sodomy prove that the Divine nature has been altered. Rather, it confirms God's intense desire for men to turn from this wickedness. Because of the vicarious sacrifice of Christ, God has provided space for sinners--sodomites in this case--to repent and believe the Gospel. If they do not, they will face "eternal fire" just as surely as Sodom and Gomorrah. If they respond to His overtures, He will be "merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities" He will "remember no more" (Heb. 8:12). Forgiveness will make their sin as repugnant to them as it is to the One whose image they bare.
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