Are Homosexual Thoughts Sinful?

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The words heterosexual and homosexual suggest that we are assigned sexual orientations at birth just as we are assigned male or female. They suggest that God gets it right sometimes and God gets it wrong sometimes. More accurately, such a vocabulary gives legitimacy to evolutionary theory of the 19th century, where homosexuality becomes but a genetic mishap by a benevolent mother nature. But are homosexual thoughts just as sinful as homosexual behavior? Does the Bible even address such thoughts? If we consider sexual attraction an invisible force that was created when God created Adam and Eve, then the Bible does specifically addresses this in Romans 1:20-21:

20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

I think these are verses that can only be correctly understood using the King James Version of the Bible, as quoted here. Note that verse 20 ends with a colon, so the same thought process is carried to verse 21. When combined, the two verses can be read: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen . . . when they know God.” In other words, human sexuality cannot be understood unless you know God. It’s divine creation and function cannot be understood unless you have a personal relationship with God. Even though we live in a world that glorifies science, we can never know more about sex than God does. It’s his creation and his means of reproducing the human species on this earth. He could just as easily created us to reproduce by stepping on each other’s toes, shaking hands, or spending five minutes together under a moonlit sky. Social scientists have conjured up many words and phrases that seem politically (and financially) correct. For example, where did he idea of sexual orientation come from? If we go back to the Garden of Eden and ask Adam about his sexual orientation, what do you think he would say? He would probably respond with “what are you talking about.” Even the idea of a “sexual orientation” is a concoction of man-made science. There is nothing in the sexual proclivity of man today that did not exist with the earliest humans and descendants of Adam and Eve. Neither man nor evolution has added anything to God’s creation. Textbooks can describe it, online articles can make it sound like the truth, academics can sing its praises all day long – but all the science we know is but foolishness to God. As 1 Corinthians 3:18-19 tells us:

18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness.”

I’m afraid we have deceived ourselves. We have bowed down to the God of science and regard God’s word as narrow-minded and hateful. In Romans 1:26-27 we read one of the strongest indictments against homosexual thoughts:

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.

The “them” that is referred to in verse 26 is the ungodly and unrighteous referred to in verse 18. How can God give them up to vile affections? In their quest to Christianize and redeem “vile affections” (1 Cor 7:26), many today have argued that we should separate homosexual orientation from homosexual behavior. They put sexual sin in the same boat as any other sin – including greed, envy, pride, covetousness, etc. And of course man and his legalism have discounted such thoughts unless they are acted on. For example, you can think about stealing your neighbor’s new car all day and night. But you won’t get in trouble unless you act on such thoughts. You are still sinning though by coveting what you do not own. But our bodies are not cars. The “vile affections” of homosexuality and other sexual sins are in completely separate categories because they are sins against our own bodies. They are sins of a heart out of control. “Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:18-19).” The word “fornication” comes from the Greek porneia, which refers to any sexual relationship outside of marriage. It also applies to heterosexual marriage. So God is just not targeting those with homosexual thoughts. He calls all of us to sexual chastity outside of marriage and fidelity in marriage. Since homosexuality is a sexual relationship outside of marriage, it is sin. And the seventh commandment, “You shall not commit adultery” includes fornication, rape, incest, sodomy, unnatural lusts; and unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections. So not only is homosexual behavior sinful, but homosexual thoughts are as well.

There may be some who claim that all thoughts are natural, neutral variations in the evolutionary process. Just because it seems normal in our minds does not mean it is Godly in the eyes of God. So why doesn’t God specify heterosexuality as being the natural expectation? It may be because there are no other Christian alternatives. Why didn’t he specify theft as being anything over $100.00? There’s no need to. Stealing anything is theft. We cannot overlay man’s reasoning on top of God’s commandments.

So, even if a person has an attraction to the same sex, that does not mean they are doomed to fight their “natural” urges for the rest of their life. While God does not create homosexuals, he can give up a person to “vile affections” if his ungodliness and unrighteousness reaches a certain point. In other words, if your temple has reached a point of decay and decadence where you don’t even notice it, then God may not be knocking on your door so often. When he gives you over to homosexual thoughts, it may take a lot more effort on your part and your friends part to clean out your house and hand you back over to God. Conversion to Christ will result in a complete makeover of your temple – your body and mind – including homosexual thoughts.

The Euphemism Of Marriage

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According to the Oxford Dictionary, a euphemism is “a mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing.” We hear euphemisms everyday: Correctional facility instead of prison, collateral damage instead of accidental deaths, enhanced interrogation techniques instead of torture, pregnancy termination instead of abortion, etc. We can add one more – marriage. Turning to the Oxford Dictionary again, we see that marriage is: “The legally or formally recognized union of a man and a woman (or, in some jurisdictions, two people of the same sex) as partners in a relationship.” In short, it’s a legal sexual relationship recognized by the state you live in. The legality of marriage via a marriage license and wedding ceremony give it its formal social recognition. But it does not in any way reflect the relationship between God and his church. Do you think a state that recognizes a homosexual relationship can honor a same flesh union in the eyes of God? Of course not. That would be like casinos giving half their proceeds to the church. The dictionary’s definition of marriage is a far cry from the union described in the Bible. Oxford even now leaves room for the union of “two people of the same sex.”

There is an increasing attack on Christian virtue today and church leaders have no clue what to do. They have, in large part, brought it on themselves – whether through pride or just plain ignorance. Many of the inroads the homosexual activists have made can be traced back to the fact that the church has never defined marriage – other than a courthouse visit, a sprinkle of rice, and a preacher with a few talking points. When compared to the biblical description of a permanent one-flesh union, marriage today is but a euphemism – a punch line in a world that can’t even agree on what is male and what is female, a world where the norm is adultery and fornication. It is but a mere ticket to free sex and legal disposition of inheritance at the time of death. And it has come to mean no more than a marriage license, a wedding ceremony, and a tax break. Oh, and don’t forget the honeymoon. So if marriage is just a euphemism today, what is the more harsh word that it’s replacing? What is the biblical terminology that has become too uncomfortable in the 21st century? Could it be the biblically based “one flesh union.”

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 2:24.

“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.” Ephesians 5:31.

“What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.” 1 Corinthians 6:16.

This may come as a shock for many, but a biblical marriage has nothing to do with a marriage license, wedding ceremony, exchange of vows, justice of the peace, preacher, or three day cruise. But wait a second, you say. If you take away all of those things, then what is left? That’s just my point. What we know as marriage today is not even remotely akin to God’s original plan. A biblical marriage is a man and woman becoming one person in Christ; witnessing together, making decisions together, raising children together, reading the bible together, etc. They move in one accord. Their love is unconditional. They sacrifice for each other. Divorce is a foreign concept to them. A more accurate noun today may be “covenant.” This word is used to refer to marriage one time in the KJV in Malachi 2:14: “Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.” While the Bible supports marriage being a covenant of one flesh between a man and woman and God, it does not support it as a contract between a “committed relationship” and a state government. The marriage license today is but a means to an end, a means for men and women to objectify each other and enhance social status. It’s seen as a way to get ahead, a way to ecoonimic prosperity, the Coupe de Ville status symbol. Those marrying young without adequate education and income find out it’s a quick road to poverty with their first child. For many churches, marriage has become the means by which a person gets to heaven. This is especially true in conservative denominations such as the Southern Baptists. Men are taught to “man up,” get married, and have children as soon as possible. The SBCs Albert Mohler has made this one of his talking points. Men are taught that marriage is the only way to become a responsible citizen. The fact is that marriage and family are worshipped today just as Baal, the pagan idol of the Phoenicians, was idolized in the Old Testament. The marriage license and its ties to the state are the very means by which the Defense Of Marriage Act was struck down in 2013. So now we have a legal contract on the civil state side and a sacrificial covenant between two baptized people on the church side. Is it time for preachers and priests to quit signing marriage licenses and retire their roles as civil servants? Which side would it help, those holding to a traditional view of marriage of a man and woman for life or those in favor of redefining marriage as any “committed relationship”?

The meanings of words do change over time, regardless of whether or not they are biblical. Consider what happened to the definition of “saint.” It went from meaning someone the Roman Catholic Church deemed holy in some way to a person who is particularly good. But biblical principles do not change, regardless of prevailing terminology. Apostle Paul explained this clearly in 1 Corinthians 7:19: “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.” The same thing is true of marriage. Marriage is only as important in so far as it observes the commandments of God. The marriage license has no inherent value. The vows have no inherent value. Wedding rings have on inherent value. But the witness of loyalty and commitment does have value that transcends courthouses and joint tax returns. If you would need a marriage license and church service to legitimize your marriage, then it has indeed become no more than a euphemism.