“Hey Dad, I’m Puzzled” – A Dad’s Biblical response to his son’s question on Homosexuality
Many have commented that this is perhaps the finest article addressing the issue of homosexuality that they have ever read. Whether it is or not, you can be the judge; that’s certainly not the point. Providing a compassionate, truth-filled, redemptive discussion on a very difficult, confusing and potentially painful subject is.
The Current Controversial Dust Up:
Given the current dust up regarding BuzzFeed’s veiled accusation of Chip and Joanna Gaines, the hosts of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” – that somehow they must be anti-LGBT because of their church’s stated position on homosexuality. Is that fair? Does believing in the Bible and holding true to what it says make you a hater? We thought it might be helpful to release this article from The Founders’ Bible, so we could all hopefully see what the Bible has to say.
The context is a dad’s response to his son’s question after a rather robust debate on Facebook that left him puzzled. It’s a dad wanting to shepherd his son’s heart by revealing God’s heart on the matter. No one I know desires to be unloving or hateful. None of us wants to be rejected. We all long to be accepted, to know that we are loved. Each one of us is incredibly valuable, worthy of being treated with dignity and respect. Yet, to discover truth, we are in desperate need of humility and the courage to be honest.
As such, please take the time to read what is meant to be an insightful, redemptive, non-judgmental, but non-compromising look at what the Bible has to say about homosexuality. As opposing to lobbing a religious hand grenade using a single verse as a proof-text to blow someone up, we have set it in context of the full relevant passage where it appears in the book of Romans (Rom.1:16-2:16). I think you will be surprised by what it reveals.
Brad and David discuss one of the articles on Homosexuality found in the Founders’ Bible. Click on the video link below to listen in:
From: Son <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, Apr 6, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Subject: I’m puzzled
To: Dad [email protected]
I know you have a ton of other things to do, but if you get a moment, I’m interested in what you think. After the big debate on Facebook, and also discussing the topic with someone who is gay, and considering all the things that are going on politically, I’m puzzled. I believe that love can overcome anything, but what are you supposed to do with a kid like the one in the Internet article? Why do people feel “gay”? It would seem that God didn’t make them that way, because Levitical law and other verses seem to condemn homosexuality. If someone says he’s gay, and that being gay is what makes him happy, what do you do? Just let them be “gay,” so they can be happy? Do you let them suffer the consequences of their actions and not worry about it? Is it judging them to say that what they feel and are doing is wrong? Here is the link to the article http://www.
From: Dad <[email protected]>
Date: Sat, Apr 7, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Subject: Re: I’m puzzled
To: Son [email protected]
Let me see if I can lay out some thoughts that might be helpful. First off, feelings are not right or wrong—they just are. Feelings are not “sin.” We can be “angry,” and sin not. Anger is not right or wrong, but what we do with it can be. I can take my feeling and act on it in a productive way, or I can act on it in an unproductive, harmful, sinful way. I can act on it in a way that just affects me, or perhaps it has an effect upon someone else. I’m not responsible for the impulse or stimulus that produces a response in me—the feeling—but I am for what I do with it.
So, the fact that someone feels attracted to someone of the same sex, or the opposite sex, or, as goofy as this is, even an animal . . . those feelings or attractions have been around since the dawn of time. The question is, where is the impulse coming from? What do I do about it? Is it helpful, constructive? Does it build me up and bring clarity? Or does it author in me confusion?
When I see something that someone else has, and I want it, that’s a feeling, a simple want or desire. What if the thing I want belongs to someone else? What if I don’t have the means to get one for myself? What do I do then? I want it. I must have it! It’s not fair that they have it and I don’t! I think I will just take it. That’s called “coveting,” or conspiring inside to take something from someone else because of our longing to have it, which can lead to “stealing.” The impulse of wanting it is merely an impulse, but what I do with it can become helpful or harmful, not just to me, but also to others.
But if I had it, I would be happy. Okay, but does that make it “right”? Not in and of itself. But it’s just “natural” for me to want that. Is it? I don’t know. It just is—it’s an impulse. The fact that you want it or would be “happy” if you had it doesn’t make it right or wrong—not in and of itself. Is it right for me to take it? Not if it belongs to someone else—that’s stealing.
For me to harbor the desire, the wanting what belongs to someone else, the longing to have what only the act of stealing can produce, starts to fall into the realm of coveting, something the Bible says is “wrong.” That’s one of the clear “Thou shalt nots.” I’m not supposed to covet my neighbor’s wife, nor his donkey, etc., and I’m not supposed to steal.
The Bible says adultery (sex with someone other than your wife) is wrong.
The Bible says fornication (sex outside of marriage, before marriage) is wrong.
The Bible says sex with animals is wrong.
The Bible says homosexuality is wrong.
Why? Well, the last two are sins against the laws of nature. Why is homosexuality a sin against the law of nature? Because, if practiced by the entire species, it would lead to our extinction. Just because I can do that with my body doesn’t make it right or natural.
Is the person “wrong”? No, the person is a person, who has value, who is worthy of love, who should be respected. Are their actions wrong? Could be. Who says? Who has authority to declare that? Well, I believe in God and in the Bible, and despite the anger, angst, and desire of many to declare otherwise or say it’s wrong or archaic, the Bible is clear on this. Homosexuality is not new; heterosexuality is not archaic. The arguments and demands that we just accept and declare their actions as right—sorry, I’m going to line up with what God says on this. The laws of God and the laws of nature are not to be broken; they won’t be, but we will.
So why does someone have those feelings? There can be a thousand reasons.
I think the feelings stem from an innate desire to be loved. When we are little children, we need our heart filled with the love of a mother and a father. We need both. That’s healthy and helps to make us “whole.” But when that little tank doesn’t get filled, goes unmet, or somehow gets wounded, or worse even abused, we can get warped and look to have “righteous” desires fulfilled in unrighteous ways. Many children are the victims of others’ mistreatment or neglect. Our senses, our radar, the way in which we interpret love, our longing or need for love—all those can be healthy and lead to natural and right and good attractions. Or they can get warped, damaged, shut down, or confused.
Homosexuality is just one of the myriad of ways we can get bent or warped. People get messed up in heterosexual ways as well. Sin and damage are equal opportunists and exploiters. Hurt people hurt other people, and the cycle of pain often gets passed along. Sadly, it’s the little innocent ones who get trampled. They don’t have the means to stop it. They have no idea why the mistreatment is happening to them. They don’t know how to process it, so it gets buried as part of a coping mechanism. And if it is left untreated, it breeds confusion.
A little kid’s first impulse when his parents’ divorce is “I must have done something,” and they end up blaming themselves. The same is true for little ones who have been sexually abused. Attempting to silence the noise inside, they conclude they are to blame in some way, or they brought it on themselves—and the bondage seeps into their sense of self. Most people are not good at talking about their pain. Families often live silent lives of deep, unprocessed pain. Is it any wonder we emerge a bit confused and a lot messed up?
So the impulse isn’t wrong, but why is it there? What is the craving? How is it impacting me? What is it drawing me to do? What is the diagnosis of my real need? What’s there behind my want or “feeling”? Do I have any understanding of why it is there? And what do I do about it? Again, feelings are not wrong, but what I do with them can be.
Do I think people are just “created” this way? No, I don’t believe that God creates us this way. He would not create us with the particular sex and genitalia that we have, and then “create” us with the warpage that desires the very thing that is opposite of what is “normal” or “natural.” The Bible very pointedly declares: God is not the author of confusion. To lay the blame at His feet and say that God created me that way is a convenient way to dodge any culpability. I have no choice. It’s not my fault. I’m not responsible. It must be okay—natural and right. Why? Just because . . . because I think I have always felt this way, and thus I must have been created with this. I don’t believe that is correct. God is simply not the author of confusion.
We can try to redefine that if we want, but we do so to our own confusion and destruction. We are free to do that—it’s just not helpful. But we are free to do so. Neither God nor the laws of the land are forcing anyone to think a certain way.
But I want it so bad that I will just declare it “right.” Okay? But that doesn’t make it true. That just tells me the depth of your desire and the need for you to validate it. You don’t feel okay, and you desperately want to—and don’t know how to change, or perhaps don’t want to, and thus you need to redefine what will make it okay.
So what if I am just so angry, I want to kill someone? Well, unless I’ve been attacked and am acting in self-defense, it’s wrong—period. If acted upon, it will be deemed murder. So acting on it, simply because of the strength of the impulse, doesn’t justify it. It explains why we do it, but it doesn’t make it “right.”
Someone who is “gay” or has homosexual attractions will say, “But how is what I want hurting anyone?” Well, I know that is the usual defense—that what we do doesn’t have any effect on people. While that might be true if you’re the only one living on a deserted island (which still doesn’t make the actions “right”), it is not true for someone who is living in society. Even if we think what we do is “private” and that our actions don’t actually impact others, they do. I’m not sure any of us can really know the full outcome and effect of our actions to declare that they don’t. Most everything I do affects those around me in some way or another.
That’s where the Bible says, “Do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” That includes this area as well. Just because someone feels it is “just the way they are” and “that it is not hurting anyone,” it is not wisdom to lean on your own understanding. It seems we have supernatural abilities when it comes to justifying and rationalizing just about anything when that’s what we want—but that doesn’t make it “right.”
To declare that “right” and “wrong” actually exist, you have to acknowledge that there is a standard—set by some authority—by which those things are determined. You are free to declare, “There is no God, and even if there is, I don’t care what He thinks or what He says. I’m just going to do my own deal,” but the Bible says that those who chose that path have chosen to “suppress” the truth.
I want you to read Romans 1:16—2:16. Really read it. And figure out what it says plainly and clearly about this stuff. Some find it hard, full of judgment, and even say it is “hate speech.” I don’t. It is hard, but I think it is just plain “true” and to be embraced—and when we are not fighting against it, it is actually very encouraging and full of promise, commending those who are seeking to do what is right and honorable.
When your desire is to do what is right, the Bible is your friend, not your enemy. If you just want to do your deal, well . . . Read the whole passage; the ending will provide an important balance and might surprise you. . .
Romans 1:16 starts off: “I am not ashamed of the gospel.” Ask yourself, what does “the gospel” mean? Most people chirp: “It’s the good news.” Okay, but good news about what? Why is it good news? For who? Most of us do not know or take the time to discover. But you need to. I could tell you what it is, but it will be far more valuable if you figure it out. Take a concordance and your Bible and look up every reference for Gospel. Figure out how the Bible defines what it is and what it does.
Once you have a sense of what the Gospel means, the next part of verse 16 says very plainly: it is the power of God. That’s the reason you don’t have to be ashamed. The Gospel is not empty words—it has POWER to bring salvation. That is another good word to study. It’s not just “eternal life,” as in when I die—it is health, healing, wholeness, fullness, peace, restoration, something real and lasting, progressive, both now and in ever-growing, greater capacity. So when I know the Gospel, it is the power of God to bring health and wholeness. For who? “Everyone who believes.” That means nobody is left out. Because it is true, if I will embrace it and put my trust in it and build my life on that foundation, that unlocks the power for it to happen.
In verse 16, it continues: “For in it”—in what? In believing in the Gospel, the truth as God has declared it—“the righteousness of God [what God says is right, good, and true—not just words, but reality—the presence of HIM, being right there with us to be fully embraced and enjoyed] is revealed from faith to faith,” meaning it grows in a progressive manner, and I “hear” it and receive it as true.
That’s what the Bible says is the key to life. “The righteous man shall live by faith.” That’s how we learn, grow, walk all of this out in our daily existence and actually experience “LIFE.”
Verse 18 then gives an indictment against those who fight against that: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men . . .” So what is the wrath of God? Is that just God being angry or mad? No, it is the activity of a righteous, jealous (in a good way) God who is going to take action against those things that are trying to destroy life and that which God loves. God’s wrath would be like your dad becoming a big strong grizzly bear and attacking something that had come to hurt you. My wrath is being revealed in a desire to protect what I love from being harmed by that which is not like me. It’s not that God has a “rule” and is offended that someone disregards it, or doesn’t like it, or decides they will just define things different.
God is our Creator. We are created in His image and likeness. We are the pinnacle of all the created order, the greatest of all His activities. Each of us is fearfully and wonderfully made! We are meant to be like Him. We’re His kids!
He is the DAD. He is our dad, my dad! My Papa Bear! We are created to be like Him. And God is taking issue with the things that are asserting themselves against that—that is, what ungodliness and the unrighteousness of man are doing. It’s declaring something different than what is. God is not jealous in the insecure way that we are. His jealousy is exercised on my behalf because of His love for me. He doesn’t want something to destroy me.
If we only see God’s wrath through the lens of punishment, we completely misconstrue who He is and what His heart is. His wrath is not the absence of His love, but rather the very expression of it—for me, not against me. His wrath rises to contend with whatever rears its ugly head and is seeking to destroy us. His wrath is not so much to punish someone for doing it wrong; it’s His coming to set things right.
Many of us misunderstand God’s wrath because we have never been disciplined in love and known it. We usually get punished because someone is frustrated or angry, and they take it out on us because we did something they didn’t like. That’s all we know, so that’s what we assume God does. But God is altogether different. God is love. Everything He does is consistent with who He is. It is impossible for God to be un-loving. He would have to be un-God, not Himself. That doesn’t happen. The problem is not with Him and what He does, but rather our interpretation—a lack of understanding on our side, not His. That just might be some valuable humility worth embracing.
Why is that wrath revealed? First, because Papa Bear is confronting something that is likely to destroy us. That is Him dealing with the external influences that are trying to warp us. And then He takes issue with us on the inside. God is acting here because the truth is being “suppressed.” In His estimation, the truth is plainly evident through the entire created order. That is what is meant to be the natural conclusion when we look at the world around us. “Wow! There is only one explanation for all of this: God.” A tree, a bird, a sunset, the majesty of the stars, and the intricacy of all that is around us tell us that God is and speak of His invisible attributes—His power—His nature. God considers that as “clearly seen,” plainly evident.
God declares that those who disagree with this are “suppressing” the truth, making an active choice to deny the obvious. They are pushing that back, and they are doing so in “unrighteousness.” As in, they are not right in doing so, and they are warring against their own conscience inside, “because that which is known about
God is evident within them” (v. 19).
That brings us back to “feelings,” and the conclusions we draw from them. If someone says he must be “gay,” and God must have created him this way, he’s not being true to himself. If he is honest, he will confess that he is pushing against a conclusion, which may be why the homosexual crowd so often becomes outspoken and adamant and actually violent against anyone who dares to think different.
They are the ones fighting the truth, not me/us. I’m not at war with them, nor do I need to fight them, argue or convince them of anything. I’m not the one suppressing the truth. I think it is plainly obvious and evident. I’m not the one who desperately needs to validate my lifestyle and force others to agree.
When you know what the truth is, you can securely sit down on the inside. You don’t have to argue or fight for it. It’s not true because I passionately believe it to be so. It is true because that’s what truth is. So if someone gets all up in arms about it, don’t jump into the fray. Be secure in what “is.”
Notice in v. 19, God says “He” is the one who is speaking to them: “for God made it evident to them.” It’s not just that it is out there and evident to all. It is, but God is going a step farther. He is saying it is evident “within them,” because He made it evident “to them.” That’s not passive. God is declaring that He Himself is actively communicating. The question is, are they willing to hear? Or must they suppress the truth?
God says He had made it evident to them. Made what evident? That they are suppressing what is true. That’s speaking directly to our conscience on our inside. It’s clear that God exists, and all we need to do is look at the world around us to know that. When someone says, “I don’t know” or “God doesn’t exist,” they first had to suppress what I have simply accepted to be true. Long before anyone else had an argument with them, God was there making Himself known to them, and they are choosing to ignore or suppress it.
Why do I conclude that? Because it’s right there in the Bible, and God is declaring
for us that He is the one making Himself known to them. God is Love; love communicates. Love doesn’t exist apart from a relationship. God is Light; it is the nature of light to reveal. As such, God is making Himself known. They are not ignorant or unable; they are unwilling, for some reason. That’s why it says “they are without excuse” (v.20). None of us get a free pass on any of this.
Verse 21 adds, “For even though they knew God [When did that happen? When He gave them the inkling He was there.], they did not honor Him as God or give thanks.” God knocks on the door, and they choose to not honor Him as God. Rather, they say, “You didn’t do what I wanted, or You didn’t affirm or agree with me and what I want, so I am not going to honor You. I’ll choose something else.” And they refuse to “give thanks.” The suggestion is that the natural response is to be appreciative. Thankful that my heart beats, that I have breath, for the gift of life—I have no right to any of those things. They all come by a gift and come from God as His love expressed to us.
So when we choose to ignore that, to not honor God for Who He is, and refuse to be grateful for just the gift of “being”—my existence—what happens then? We become “futile in [our] speculation.” We have to look for something other than the obvious. As opposed to accepting what is, we invent an alternative. As opposed to knowing something, we speculate and act as if that is now the truth. “No, I was just born this way! It’s genetic. God created me this way. I know this.” No, that’s speculating.
And in so doing, “our foolish heart was darkened.” Why? We are refusing to receive the light of what is true. We’re closing the curtains on the reality of the world that exists as God has so designed it, and behind the curtains of truth, in the darkness of our creation, we start speculating on some alternate explanations and seek to light our own light. Verses 22–23 state: “Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged [they had something but gave it up for something else] the glory of the incorruptible God [the nature of something right and true, the nature of God] for an image in the form of corruptible man.”
Proverbs 23:7 says, “As [a man] thinks within himself, so is he.” If you choose to decide “I’m gay,” I guess you are—but not because God made you that way, not because that is normal, natural, right, or should be just fine. No, you are making a choice about who you are. You are giving up the glory of what is incorruptible and choosing to embrace a different picture—the image of corruptible man. What if your version of reality is corrupted? How would you even know, now that you have become your own authority? You won’t. Doing so, embracing a corruptible lie, only spirals downward with worse complications.
Verse 24 says, “Therefore [as a result of their choice to do that] God gave them over
. . .”—which is to say that God lets us have what we want. God is not forcing. His kingdom is not about coercion. He gives good gifts to His children. He is not holding out on us. Later in Romans, it says that if God has already given us His Son, Jesus, is there any good gift He will withhold? Scripture asks us a question, because God wants us to answer that confidently for ourselves. That was the original lie we fell for in the garden.
My answer is No! The problem is our definition of what is good may not always match up with His. If I persist in my desire for something, even contrary to His wishes and warning, at some point, He lets me have what I want, as that may be the only way I will learn that it was not good.
So God gave them over “in the lusts of their heart to impurity.” Why? “That their bodies might be dishonored among them.” In God allowing us to go our own way, we experience the unfortunate consequences of what we do. Forgive me for being blunt here, but I think this is the Bible’s way of describing rather delicately the indelicate reality of what homosexuals do. They stick their male sex organ into a wrong place full of waste and bacteria, one that is an exit, not an entrance. You mess with that sphincter and guess what, older gay guys often have to wear diapers because that particular body valve was not meant to be invaded or stretched. When it gets damaged, it can no longer hold its junk.
Is that honoring or dishonoring your body? It was not designed for that purpose. Just because you can do something with your body is not enough reason to suggest that you should. That’s your own physical body suffering dishonor. And that’s just the tame side of what can go wrong.
AIDS, or Acquired-Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome, is a dis-ease. It is your body shutting down on itself, no longer able to fight off viruses and disease. You become profoundly vulnerable to what other healthy bodies can fight off. You cannot catch AIDS like a common cold. You only get it with the transmission of blood or the exchange of bodily fluids.
There are different theories for where it originated, but however it entered into the human population, it is a disease that initially spread among homosexuals and unleashed something horribly destructive. And from homosexuals, who were also bisexual and promiscuous, it spread and entered the general population and became a devastating sexually transmitted disease.
Is that a direct judgment from God? Only God can answer that directly. But it is clearly a disease I don’t need to get if I choose to live as God intends and designed, just as is true for how to stay free of any sexually transmitted disease. You don’t want to catch any of them. Remaining a virgin until you are married is the most glorious and safe way to not have to worry about any of that.
God says to those who choose to ignore Him, refuse to honor Him or give thanks, “You can have the world as you see it. It might be futile in its speculation and darkened in your understanding, but that’s because you have refused to accept the light or truth. That is your choice, so go ahead and convince yourself you are right; be adamant about it even . . . fight, argue, and demand as you suppress the truth and promote what you so desperately need to justify.”
In verse 25, it says, “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature [their passions, lusts and desires that God gave them over to].” Had they believed the Gospel, embraced the power of God to transform, to set right that which is wrong, and to heal and bring wholeness, it would be a different story. But if we don’t want that, we can have what we want. That is our free choice.
Verse 26 states, “For this reason . . .”—what reason? Their choice to exchange the “truth” for a “lie.” For that reason “God gave them over to degrading passions.” When someone says, “This is just who I am. It feels so natural, so right. God created me this way,” yes, I imagine that’s what it feels like when you have been given over to it, and there is no longer anything fighting against you inside.
And just what are those degrading passions? “For their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural” = lesbians. “And in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error” (v. 27). Could the Bible be any clearer on what God says?
It goes on: “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer . . .” (v. 28).
We disregard the Creator and what He says is true, in favor of something different. So
“God gave them over to a depraved mind to do the things which are not proper.” The mind becomes darkened, and the person’s heart spirals downward into a long list of depravity: filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice—they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, and “without understanding.”
Need I cite more? When the person says it’s not hurting anyone, and you look at that list, it’s hard to imagine that list doesn’t negatively impact a lot of things and people, near and far. No one is an island.
“And although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death . . .” (v. 32). Admittedly, that is rather harsh. Despite this behavior being worthy of death, it isn’t saying to us or anyone that God is looking to kill them.
In 1 Corinthians 6, it gives a list of sinful lifestyles and says those people will not inherit the kingdom of God, which I think has more to do with eternal rewards than it does just salvation, but the whole context of what Paul is saying is that they used to be those people. They were guilty of some of the same things worthy of death, but in Corinth, the power of the Gospel of the kingdom had come, and with it hope, redemption, and the possibility of change.
Corinth was the most sexually wicked city there was, and they were changed by the love and power of God. I don’t understand everything going on here, but this is not an “iffy” subject. Homosexuality is clearly something that is condemned, and something we are to avoid. Change is possible, but we have to choose. God is saying that they know all that—they know the ordinance—but they are choosing to go headlong into it anyway. Not only do they do it themselves, but they “give hearty approval to those who practice them”! Not good.
None of these arguments are new—not for some 2,000 years at least. But make sure to read the second chapter of Romans as well.
In Romans 2:1, Paul states, “Therefore you have no excuse.” He’s speaking to me and you—us. If the first part was all about “them,” God now turns His focus on us. “You who pass judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself.” Choosing to take the posture of judgment is not what God is looking for. What follows is a warning. The people who end up “hating fags,” spewing their venom and judgment, are not commended by God in any way, shape, or form. If you choose to sit in the seat of judgment, the measure you use will be measured unto you. Whatever comes down upon them is going to come down upon you as well. None of us is free from guilt. We all sin and fall short. Judgment is not what God is looking for here. That’s not His heart or what He desires from us.
“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering . . . ?”
(v. 4 NKJV). God is kind, loving, and patient—He puts up with a ton of our junk, our sin, their sin, everybody—their stupid, vain speculations and our unloving and unkind judgments. “Not knowing . . .”—who’s not knowing? The ones doing the judging, those making the summary conclusions and shutting out people who are confused and darkened. God says we do that (judging and shutting people out) because we do not know something. Not knowing what? “That the kindness of God leads you [me, you, them, everyone] to repentance.”
That has to be one of the most glorious truths in Scripture, and one that sadly seems to escape far too many people. What is God looking for or hoping I will know? How should I respond to those who vehemently disagree? With kindness, forbearance, and patience . . . as God does. Jesus is in me, and He loves people! So I can let Him do so in and through me. It’s His kindness that leads to repentance. A failure to respond as Christ does to people who are caught in their mess is not going to help lead anyone to repentance. Verse 5 tells us that our stubborn, unrepentant heart leads to storing up more wrath for ourselves. So does theirs. A little kindness and forbearance would lead us down a better path.
Do I need to agree with them? No. Are they right? Not at all. Scripture would say they are confused, darkened, futile speculations, given over to stuff that’s wrong, and they can no longer see it. They think they’re right! But they’re not.
So I can stand firm in what is plainly obvious to anyone, not needing to suppress the truth: men with men, women with women is not natural—it’s unnatural. It’s depraved, its impure, it’s indecent, and it’s damaging to them and to the ones they supposedly “love.”
The reality is: God will render to each of us according to our deeds . . . DEEDS, not feelings, not impulses, but DEEDS. That’s what we do.
“To those who by perseverance [which implies a bit of a struggle against impulses that might be contrary] in doing good,” God says those people are seeking “for glory and honor and immortality, ETERNAL LIFE,” which is the life of the Eternal One (v.7)! It’s not just length of days as in quantity, but a quality of true life—life as God lives it. There is an unimaginable intimacy and fellowship that is a part of the package. There isn’t a person on this planet who doesn’t long to know love—to love and to be loved, fully and freely. There is no greater source for that than God Himself.
But “to those who are selfishly [seeking their own way and wants] ambitious [wanting what they want and demanding to have it now no matter what others say] and do not obey the truth [those things are natural, righteous, the created order] but obey unrighteousness [what they choose as their alternate truth], wrath and indignation. There will be tribulation and distress for every soul that does evil” (vv. 8–9). Not my favorite outcomes.
“But glory and honor and peace to every man who does good . . . For there is no partiality with God [He is not playing favorites]. For all who have sinned without the
Law [they didn’t really know what the Bible says] will also perish without the Law [the laws of nature are enough to convict you of truth and are enough to declare you guilty should you violate them]” (vv. 10–12). You see, 2+ 2 = 4. It doesn’t require special math to figure that out; it just is. All who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law. There is no scooting by for anyone. We are all accountable. Creation has made this self-evident to all, as does our conscience. It’s plain to see if we look around outside. And it’s plain to see if we look inside.
The Jews were the people who would have known and had the Law in those days (the Old Testament Bible). The Gentiles did not have the written Law, but God says they “instinctively” are a law to themselves, in that we have a conscience and to a very real measure already have God’s laws written on our hearts, bearing witness to us internally, either accusing us (and we know it) or defending us.
And the end of the matter is that we will all stand before God and on that day, according to the Gospel, “God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus” (v. 16). You may end up getting nowhere with your appeal to some of these people. Love them. Be kind, forbearing, and patient. In the end, this is an issue between God and them and their own conscience. If they want to sear theirs with a hot iron so as to render it dysfunctional, I pity them, for they will have to give an account, and they will be without excuse. It will not go well for them.
But as for you and me—in humility, let’s ask for God’s grace to continue to transform and change us into His image and likeness and choose to do what is right and good. If we do, we will find ourselves in a marvelous position of being richly rewarded, approved, and given praise for seeking Him and seeking to love all those around us. It is well worth it!
I cannot vouch for others and what they say or think, but that’s what I know to be true. I will always choose to listen to others, because that is part of loving them and seeking to understand where they are, but I don’t readily accept anyone’s “speculations”—not even my own. We all have much to learn and are works in progress.
Remember: it is God’s kindness that leads to repentance. I can be kind without compromising the truth. Arguments rarely lead anywhere. Truth is what sets people free, and His name is Jesus. If Jesus can say of the very people crucifying Him, “Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing,” perhaps I can as well.
I LOVE YOU,
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