Did Jesus say anything about homosexuality? That’s the challenge offered to Christians who cite the Bible as the basis for their convictions about same-sex marriage. My answer: Jesus said something in Leviticus 18:22-23, 20:13, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9, and 1 Timothy 1:10.
The Bible’s view of the Bible is that it is God-breathed. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” Jesus is God, therefore all of the Bible is His Word, not just the parts in red in the four Gospels.
Jesus spoke about everything from Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21. And that includes anything in the 66 books about homosexuality.
Right now, R.C. Sproul’s book The Truth of the Cross is available for free on Ligonier’s website as an audiobook. It’s the perfect weekend to listen.
In this book, Dr. R.C. Sproul surveys the great work accomplished by Jesus Christ through His crucifixion—the redemption of God’s people. Dr. Sproul considers the atonement from numerous angles and shows conclusively that the cross was absolutely necessary if anyone was to be saved.
Opening the Scriptures, Dr. Sproul shows that God Himself provided salvation by sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross, and the cross was always God’s intended method by which to bring salvation. The Truth of the Cross is an uncompromising reminder that the atonement of Christ is an absolutely essential doctrine of the Christian faith, one that should be studied and understood by all believers.
Two regular commenters on my “Christians, You Will Suffer” post had an exchange worth sharing with everyone. “Goat Head 5” was objecting to the idea that anyone would say God is sovereign over the evil that happens in this world. Below are some of his and “WisdomLover’s” thoughts on this (with some reformatting and combination of separate comments by me for the sake of brevity):
WISDOMLOVER: You want a case of God willing evil on an innocent victim, and I give you the example of Christ…. God apparently allows the suffering of innocent people. What is more, He has all the power in the world to prevent those sufferings….
Let's suppose my daughter is learning to ride a bicycle. Also suppose that I am perfectly capable, and do, run alongside the bicycle…. At the slightest sign of her falling over I can steady her, or, if need be, snatch her from the bicycle. I can, of course, also allow her to fall over.
None of this takes a thing away from the fact that my daughter freely rides the bicycle, that she freely kept herself from falling.
But I am also in control of whether she falls over.
GOAT HEAD 5: How could God be in control when I do what He does not want done? … How do you reconcile the Bible saying God is good with your theological idea that God wants every evil action to happen so much that He controls every event to make sure that it does? How can these coexist?
WISDOMLOVER: In my example of the father and the bicycling child. The father is in control of whether the child falls or not. He does not want the child ever to fall, he actually hates it. For all that, he may choose to let the child fall, he may even push the child over, for all sorts of reasons that are more important than preventing what he hates….
To return to the example, the father might cause the very fall that he hates to prevent the child from getting run over. (Because he hates that even more, you see).
Couldn't it be that the evil we see in this world (that God hates) is necessary to prevent other evils that God would hate even more than the evils he allows or even causes?
Just as the child might never see the car that would have run her over...the car that required that her father push the bike over, perhaps we will never see the reason God had for causing or allowing the evil in our lives that He does.
It comes down to this. Are we going to trust in God's love for us? Or trust in our own wisdom about how things should be?
GOAT HEAD 5: If God is in control, and control is that what God wants to happen, happens, and evil happens, then God wants evil to happen. Is this OK with all of you?
WISDOMLOVER: In the bicycle example, the father's will wins whenever the will of the father and the will of the child come into conflict. God, like the father in the bicycle example, wills that necessary evils happen. Whether that's OK with me or not, the evils are necessary. I suppose I could rail against necessity as the child does. Or I could trust in God to only allow necessary evils.
You can read the unedited exchange between all the commenters here.
As this is Holy Week—a time when we commemorate the week Christ suffered great evil at the hands of men as part of the plan of God—this subject is particularly relevant.
Life, righteousness, holiness, and redemption are found in Jesus, and found by those—and only those!—who look to him. Perhaps I should be clearer: It is not that we look, get some sense of what Christ is like, and then go away and strain to make ourselves similar; we become like him through the very looking. The very sight of him is a transforming thing. For now, contemplating him by faith, we begin to be transformed into his likeness (2 Cor. 3:18), but so potent is his glory that when we clap our eyes upon him physically at his second coming, then “when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).
That full, unveiled, physical sight of the glorified Jesus will be so majestically effacing it will transform our very bodies around us. The sight of him now by the Spirit makes us more like him spiritually; the sight of him, then, face to face, will finally make us—body and soul—as he is....
The light of his perfection exposes our imperfection more than any wielding of the law ever could. It makes us see ourselves aright. As John Calvin put it, “man never achieves a clear knowledge of himself unless he has first looked upon God’s face.” But it does more than expose: it overcomes our imperfection and so liberates us. And it cures us far more effectively than any effort at self-improvement….
[I]t is the very grace of God, appearing from heaven in Christ, that turns hearts from worldly passions to godly passions. Where self-dependent efforts at self-improvement must leave us self-obsessed and therefore fundamentally unloving, the kindness of God in Christ attracts our hearts away from ourselves and to him. Only the love of Christ has the power to uncoil a human heart.
Read the rest of the excerpt in Christianity Today, or get the book.
I had a brief interaction with an atheist on Twitter a couple of weeks ago that unexpectedly turned to the issue of suffering when she said:
You clearly never had a time you were hurt. I don’t mean sick. I don’t mean heart broken. I mean literally a near death experience or rape or abusive relationship…. You can keep floating on a [expletive] cloud thinking Jesus will do everything for you but it’s a lie. What makes you so special?
That surprised me at first because it didn’t seem to have anything to do with the tweet she was responding to, and I was confused as to why she would assume I’d never been through anything traumatic. But then in subsequent tweets, when she revealed she had been raped, it became clear that her trauma had played a central role in her becoming an outspoken, obviously angry “antitheist.” She’s a self-described antitheist now because she thinks Christianity teaches Jesus “will do everything for you” to give you a perfect life, and now she knows that’s a lie. The rape proved her understanding of Christianity false.
So it made sense for her to reason that since I believe Christianity is true, I must still be under the delusion that Jesus is making my life special, which means I obviously never encountered any evil or suffering to shake that delusion.
Hear me, everyone: This is a failure of the church.
A friend of mine who was deeply suffering once said to me that many Christians are in for “an epic letdown” when they realize their preconceived notions about what God is expected to do for us are false. Pastors who preach a life-improvement Jesus are leading people down this precarious path to disillusionment.
If suffering disproves your Christianity, you’ve missed Christianity. The Bible is filled with the suffering of those whom God loves. The central event of the Bible is one of suffering. Love involves suffering. “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” That means suffering.
But Christianity also promises justice for evil. And grace. And life from death. Resurrection. New bodies. Hope. Jesus is the only hope for true pain. Without Him, there’s nothing left to do but rail against God with the most perverse insults imaginable.
The truth is that even if you’ve been taught these things, a time will come when an experience will make this real to you, and then you will struggle to learn how to entrust yourself to God when you can’t trust He’ll protect you from pain and tragedy, can’t trust that things will get better. The only thing you can trust is Him. That He is good. That He knows what suffering is. That if He was willing to give His son over to death for us “because of His great love with which He loved us,” then we know His love won’t stop there—He’ll withhold nothing else from us that we should have. The good He seeks for us is to reveal Himself and conform us to the image of His Son. We will suffer no pain without purpose.
I said to the atheist, “Those who suffer know Him better,” and I meant it. He is the God who knows suffering. He is the God who suffered. He is the God who works beauty through suffering. He is the God who resurrects.