"And Such Were Some of You…"

The love, grace and the cleansing and transforming power of the gospel are for all who are in need of the Savior.

Over eight years ago, a Supreme Court ruling overturned a Texas sodomy law and virtually legitimized and de-stigmatized the immoral behavior of homosexuality and lesbianism. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who passionately opposed the decision, stated in dissent that the court had “taken sides in the culture war” and had “largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda.” What an extremely insightful observation! Historically, Western culture has been influenced by principles drawn from the Bible in defining moral behavior. But now, America has abandoned God’s truth. We have seen this continued downward slide in the recent acceptance of homosexual “marriage” in New York and other states. And just recently in California, Governor Jerry Brown signed a law requiring California public school textbooks to include the contributions made to society by homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons. Clearly, this issue will continue to take center stage in our nation in the future.

Yes, the “culture war” has heated up drastically in recent years. American society is being swallowed up by what is often referred to as “postmodern relativism.” Truth is no longer considered to be absolute—truth for one is not necessarily truth for another. The concept of absolute truth is rejected; hence, the Bible is roundly ridiculed and rejected as a legitimate source of light to direct society’s actions and to define moral issues. In the 2003 Supreme Court decision, Justice Scalia had, in essence, stated that the highest court in our land has now officially voted relativism in and God and His Word out. After this ruling, for all practical and legal purposes, morality according to the standard of God’s Word will have no bearing whatsoever. Our increasingly pagan culture has won a notable battle to say the least.

Today’s new definition of “tolerance” mandates that the gay and lesbian sexual lifestyle be viewed as morally acceptable. This new definition of “tolerance” in our present culture actually elevates the practice of homosexuality as being, in and of itself, morally right! In the past, “tolerance” meant that everyone had a right to be heard and others could choose to listen or not to listen, to accept or reject what was proposed as “right” by any group. But not today! In our politically-correct environment, “tolerance” requires the acceptance and approval of any contrary position on an issue concerning what is right or wrong, acceptable or unacceptable. As a result, morality becomes amoral—there are no absolutes! The culture war is a battle for the way society thinks.

As Bible-believing Christians, we firmly believe that the written Word of God is absolute truth; it is without error; it is our all-sufficient authority. Yes, we must speak the truth, God’s truth, but we also must “speak the truth in love” as the Bible commands. Especially is this true when we speak of matters such as what the Bible has to say regarding the gay and lesbian movement of our day. God’s truth must be proclaimed by all who call themselves Christians. If a preacher of the Word does not clearly and accurately proclaim the content of the Word, then he has no right to call himself a Bible preacher. How God defines and views sin opens the way for the forgiveness, cleansing, and deliverance from the bondage of that sin through the almighty, transforming power of the gospel. Such is true love—God’s love!

Historically, Bible believers have universally recognized same-sex relationships not only as a sin about which God’s Word warns but also as that which will inevitably bring God’s judgment upon those who refuse to repent and accept God’s forgiveness and cleansing. God’s judgment upon the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in the days of Lot was thereafter referred to throughout the Old Testament as an example of God’s chastisement upon these sins. Jesus Christ, during His earthly ministry, also referred to and warned about these same transgressions of the Law of God. Along with other sins that bring God’s judgment, both lesbianism and homosexuality are specifically described in language which cannot be misunderstood: “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: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another [consenting adults!]; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet” (Rom. 1:26-27).

Second Peter 2:6 specifically mentions the judgment of God upon Sodom and Gomorrah, and the entire chapter prophetically reveals the very situation that exists in the world today: “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly.”

Some professed Bible experts have purported that the sin for which Sodom and Gomorrah were judged by God was that of inhospitality—the angelic strangers to the city were not properly cared for—rather than accepting the fact that God’s judgment was upon the sin of immorality. Notice in Jude 7 that the reasons for God’s judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah included not only “going after strange flesh” (homosexuality and lesbianism) but also sex outside of marriage (fornication): “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” The end for the one who refuses God’s remedy for sin is certain. God must judge sin because He is holy.

We must deal with those caught in this particular sin’s grip with the same love and compassion we must have for all who need salvation. But always remember, sin must be acknowledged to God as sin before cleansing can be afforded in Christ’s perfect salvation: “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge [discern the truth regarding sin and its remedy], that if one died for all, then were all dead. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:14, 20). Salvation is available for the sinner! The responsibility of the ambassador for Christ is to make the message known. That message also entails the fact that the love, grace, cleansing, and transforming power of the gospel are for all who are in need of the Savior.

When one is born again by the power of God, that same power can and will change the life. Progressive, daily sanctification (deliverance from the reign of sin in the life) follows being cleansed and justified in Christ. Notice in the following verses that sin, homosexual sins included, must be acknowledged as sin before one can be cleansed and transformed: “Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Yes, God’s grace is able to save and deliver anyone from the reign of sin.

The attempt to deny the Bible definition of any sin conceals the necessity for repentance (seeing our sin as God sees it) that precedes the new birth. Paul preached in Acts 20:21 “repentance toward God” (that is, seeing our sin as God views it and recognizing that it is worthy of His abiding wrath) and “faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (that is, the forgiveness secured through faith when the sin issue has been penitently acknowledged). If we truly love the lost, we will forthrightly define all sin, for it required Jesus’ subsitutionary death and the shedding of His blood on the cross.

— Pastor Dennis Costella. Reproduced from Foundation magazine, Volume 32, Issue 2.