Had you, instead of Moses, been on Mt. Sinai when God gave the law, and instead of cutting that law into the solid granite with His fingers, had God dictated it to you and then told you to list the commandments in the order that you deemed best, where would you have put the seventh commandment?
Would you have placed it, between the commandments against murder and theft? Would that not be too strong a position for the commandment against adultery to hold? Murder is the worst thing you can do to a man, for by it you rob him of all his possessions. Take his life and you take away from him everything he has on this earth. What is more, when you take his life, you perform a deed which can never be undone by you. You can never make amends to him or to his family. And shall we list adultery immediately after such a vicious sin?
Surely those who commit the sin do so voluntarily and do so because of the pleasure they derive from it. Shall we then list it so high among the sins that are condemned by God? The parents may have grief of soul when they learn that their son or daughter has fallen into this sin of adultery or fornication. The husband or wife whose mate has been unfaithful may be wounded in the soul by this deed. But would you still list it next to murder?
We had better leave it where God placed it, and we had better remember also that God decreed the death sentence for it in the Old Testament dispensation. Let our men and women who are contemplating divorce and remarriage bear that in mind as they read what Jesus said about divorce and remarriage in Matthew 19. Let our young men and our young women take a hard look at the position of this commandment in the law and listen to the Heidelberg Catechism when it declares that this sin is accursed of God. It is not literal adultery that occasions these lines.
It is not that normal adultery (normal for depraved man) that has been practiced by man through the ages that calls our attention at this time. It is a more vile form than that of which we write at this time. It is the sin of Sodomy, the sin for which Sodom and Gomorrah were known, and because of which God sent down brimstone and tire in His terrible displeasure upon these evil-minded and shameful people. Of them Paul spoke in Romans 1:24-27 in these words: “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up to 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 women, burned in their own lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.
Thus it was in Sodom; and that is the meaning of the statement that the men of Sodom came to Lot’s house and asked for the strangers who came to stay with him because they would “know them.” Homosexuality was the order of the day in that city. Unashamedly, young and old, they come, not one by one but in a group, all seeking to practice this vile deed, which was not only a case of leaving the natural use of the woman but a dishonoring of their own bodies. We have a picture here in Sodom of men whose morals are lower than the beasts of the field, men driven so fiercely by their lusts that even the beasts cannot teach them. Is it any wonder that God, Who created them in His own image, and instituted such a beautiful relationship as marriage to reflect His own covenant life, should send fire and brimstone to wipe them off the face of the earth and into the lake of fire?
One can only wonder at the patience of God when one looks around today and sees the Sodoms and Gomorrahs of our present “civilization.” The world is steeped in sexual immorality and does not know pornography from true art. Today men are seeking new ways to practice the evil and more ways of entrapping others into it. The homosexual is called sick; and he himself feels hurt that some in society still do not accept him. Sick? Well, yes, if you mean spiritually sick! But in the eyes of God it is being exceedingly sinful besides. And not accepted in society? If the beasts of the field could talk, they would speak out their rejection as well.
And can you imagine that in the church it is no longer called sin, in spite of what Paul wrote to the Romans, and in spite of this clear judgment of God upon Sodom? Can you understand that the knowledge that one is gay poses no problem in some circles for such to be on nomination for elder or deacon? Can you imagine that in spheres that claim to uphold the law of God and to defend sanctity some see no reason why such should not be ordained as elders and deacons in the Church of Christ? The Word of God says that they dishonor their bodies; and do not such also dishonors the Church, the Body of Christ? Can words be found strong enough to condemn this unnatural activity, this abuse of powers which God has given for wholly different purposes? Does man live for himself and have his members to end in himself and seek himself, or is there an all-wise God Who has fashioned us and made us male and female for the cause of His Church and the growth and fulness of His covenant? Scripture speaks of vile affections, which literally are dishonorable affections. And certainly such dishonor brings dishonor to the Church of God if the guilty ones are not disciplined—to say nothing about it if they are set up to be the ones to discipline as elders in the Church. To defile a woman is a great evil; to defile one’s own body as the homosexual does is a baser evil! And God said so when He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire!
Surely it is for the elect’s sake in this adulterous world that a new sunrise occurs every day and the world continues as it has for thousands of years. God is not willing that any of US should perish but that all of US should be saved. That is what Peter says in II Peter 3:9. Some of the elect must yet be born. Others of the elect must yet be born again; and that none of us should perish is so clearly taught when God takes Lot literally by the hand and pulls him out of the city before destroying it.
What a terrible devastation that was when Sodom perished! Not one soul escaped; and one who left the city with Lot still perished in the fire because her heart was still back in Sodom. Lot’s wife went a distance with him and their daughters. But gradually she fell back first a step, then two, and then more. For we read that Lot’s wife “looked back from behindhim, and she became a pillar of salt.” It was not simply a matter of looking back. That was forbidden them, for it meant that the heart was still in Sodom; and on all such its punishment would fall. But it was a case of not believing the words of the angel so that with leaden feet she went along a distance because Lot (not the angel) insisted on it, and because the angel took her hand also for a time and led her out of the city proper. Her heart was not in it, and she saw no reason for leaving. Nor did she want to leave. First she fell back because she wanted to go back. Then she looked back to see whether it would be wise to go back. And she got no further. As one who did not want separation from such filth, she died with the filthy.
Now those cities lie on the bottom of the Dead Sea. And the region is desolate. Nothing will grow or live in the Dead Sea because of its high salt content. Neither will anything grow or live on the land around its shores. It is indeed a dead sea and a living testimony of the fury of God’s wrath against licentiousness. It speaks of the place that the seventh commandment occupies in the law and assures that it is properly placed.
Let it be clearly understood then that it can happen again. Let it not be forgotten that it will happen again; and this time it will destroy the whole world with all its cities. The wages of sin is death. And God pays those wages. He may not pay them in full in this life. He does not settle His accounts in detail while we are in this flesh. He will do so fully when He sends His own pure Son upon the clouds of heaven. Even now the, diseases that accompany this sin are on the rise again, and men ruin their own bodies as well as dishonor them. Sin never goes unpunished, and the gay will always have to pay. In this life they may have their carnal pleasures. In the life to come they will have their everlasting, excruciating pains and woes.
The name given the homosexual (or did they pick it for themselves?) is misleading. They are to be pitied not envied. Webster says that the word gay is an adjective that in one of its uses means “Given to social pleasures or indulgences; hence loose: licentious; as a gay life.” And licentiousness is lewdness, lasciviousness which are strongly condemned in Holy Writ. Pity the homosexual then, but do not excuse him, for God has not one good word to say about his wholly inhuman, unnatural deeds.
In His own pity and mercy God will save that man, but in the way of taking him out of his dishonorable walk. God will cause him to walk as Paul writes inRomans 12:1 when he exhorts us to present our bodies as living sacrifices to God. Homosexuality by no stretch of the imagination comes anywhere near such presentation, such living as God’s royal priesthood.
It was this same pity of God that informed Abraham of Lot’s position in a city about to be destroyed in the holy wrath of a righteous God so that he could pray for Lot. And this incident is preserved on the pages of Holy Writ by God Himself that we might be informed and pray for His people in the modern Sodoms who are walking in the sins which the seventh commandment forbids, including the seeking of divorce and the remarriage of those who are divorced. These, too, are making great inroads into God’s church. Condemn it, but pray for those who are walking in it. Their works will be burned, but pray that they may be saved as by fire.