It is clear that there is something about the image of God reflected in the fact that God created man as male and female.
This picture (right) captures the way that human marriage (the true one flesh relationship) reflects (images) God.
This imaging is only possible when a man and a woman who have a relationship with God are united.
Also note, that as they grow closer to God, they grow closer to each other.
For the good of children and society, non-believing unions must be ordered, regulated, and protected. But those relationships, no matter what they are called, are not this relationship.
Transition to Part Two: Marriage also reflects another aspect of God’s plan.
Part Two (Redemption):
Husbands, sacrificially love your wives, just as also Christ sacrificially loved the church and gave himself on her behalf, in order that he might purify her, having cleansed her with the washing of water by the word, in order that he might present her to himself a magnificent church, having no stain or wrinkle, or any other such thing, but that she be holy and blameless. (Ephesians 5:25-27)
The one-flesh relationship found in marriage also is a proclamation of Christ’s relationship with the Church, his bride.
Let us rejoice and celebrate, and give the glory to him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his bride has prepared herself. (Revelation 19:7)
As a human bride prepares herself for her husband, so all of Christian history is the Church preparing itself to be the Bride.
For this reason, a man will leave his father and his mother and will be united to his wife, and the two will be for one body. This is a great mystery; but I am speaking to Christ and to the Church. (Ephesians 5:31-32)
Paul call’s this picture of Christ and believers a mystery, because it is yet to be revealed and fully understood.
For I am jealous for you with a jealousy from God. I promised you in marriage to one husband, to present you to Christ as a pure virgin. (2 Corinthians 11:2)
The apostle Paul recognized it was his job to get the bride ready for the wedding. That is still our job today.
“(Defending the definition of marriage) is about the desire to preserve the magnificent picture of the image of God. It is about His ultimate design for the Cosmos—the Grand Wedding of His Son to the Prepared Bride.” -James L. Garlow, Well Versed, Page 69
Transition to Part Three: If we stopped here, this would be enough for us to determine that we cannot give up this ground. Marriage, for Christians, is between a man and a woman. The reasons why are incredible. God chooses our relationship to reflect what his relationship with the Church is like. That is an amazing reality, and worth defending.
Part Three (Old Testament Prohibition):
While many commentators will spend a great deal of time discussing Sodom, it does not add a lot to this discussion. It is descriptive in nature, not prescriptive. It certainly describes some very negative activities, but not in a way that clearly defines all the issues. When Lot’s guests are threatened, it is clearly a case of attempted homosexual rape. But Lot’s offer of his daughters is clearly a reprehensible offer intended to prevent homosexual rape by replacing it with heterosexual rape. There are much clearer passages in the Old Covenant which speak to the issue.
Do not have intimate relations with a male as one has relations with a woman; treat it as a loathsome thing. (Leviticus 18:22)
The Mosaic Code is clear. Same-sex relationships were outside of God’s plan for Israel.
The Code of Moses is abrogated for Christians (cf. Colossians 2:13-14). This refers especially to the ceremonial and dietary laws.
However, God’s moral code is written on our hearts, and Moses simply codified the moral code that was already written in the heart.
Do not bring uncleanness on yourself by any of these things, for by all these things the nations which I am driving out before you have become unclean. The land has become unclean, so I am bringing the punishment of its iniquity upon it. The land will vomit out those who inhabit it. (Leviticus 18:24-25)
This passage clearly teaches that the Gentiles who lived in Canaan had violated the God’s moral law even before the Law of Moses had been given. This was the law that had been written on their hearts. This violation eventually defiled the land, and the consequence was that they were driven out of the land. This is a strong statement of what the Bible teaches about same-sex relationship. It demonstrates that all cultures are subject to the moral prohibitions of Leviticus 18.
Transition to Part Four: While there are other scriptures in the Old Testament to which we could refer, for the sake of time, and because the Leviticus passages are so clear, we now transition to the New Testament.
Part Four (New Testament Teaching):
Therefore, God handed them over to moral impurity in accord with the sexual lusts of their hearts, so that they treated their bodies shamefully with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for the lie and worshiped and served the creation instead of the one who created, who is praised forever. Amen.
Paul speaks is speaking about the Natural Knowledge of God. He teaches about the fact that a culture can determine that there is a God from creation and conscience. You can’t determine who he is, but if cultures seek God rather than making their own religion, they honor him. However, if they don’t honor God in this way, these verses explain what happens.
If a culture doesn’t honor God, he hands that culture over to their heterosexual passions.
This passage strongly implies that it is God’s purpose to give every culture the common grace that is necessary for a culture to live faithfully in their relationships.
When that culture no longer honors God, he hands it over to their passions. That is a warning sign to the culture that they are going the wrong way.
This is a strong judgment because the heart of any culture is the family, and behavior that threatens the family is a warning sign that things are not going well.
For this reason, God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 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. (Romans 1:26-27)
If the culture does not respond, God sends another warning sign.
He hands the culture over to homosexual passions.
They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. they are full of envy, murder, strife, and deceit. They are mean-spirited, gossips, slanderers, and hate God. They are insolent, arrogant, boastful people who invent ways to do evil. They are disobedient to their parents and are without understanding. They break their promises, lack normal human affection, and are without mercy. Who, although they know God’s righteous requirement, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do these same things, but are pleased with those who practice them. (Romans 1:29-32)
If the warning signs are ignored, God lifts common grace even further, and the culture becomes depraved in the ways outlined in this passage. When the unrestrained activity of sexual passion is ignored, then the culture slides into some very difficult things.
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived, neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, adulterers, passive and dominant homosexual partners, thieves, the greedy, habitual drunkards, slanderers, nor robbers will inherit the Kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
Paul is warning the Corinthians that their lack of Christian life can threaten Kingdom power in their life and ministry.
In his long list of the behaviors over which they were stumbling, he mentions two different terms that the Greeks used to refer to homosexual activity. Greek culture was very conversant with homosexuality, it was even lauded as beneficial for the warrior spirit, so it had very detailed language that referred to same-sex attraction.
The Kingdom begins in our heart (Luke 17:21) releasing righteousness, peace and joy (Romans 14:17). But when it has done its work on the inside, it releases power on the outside (1 Corinthians 4:20). The negative behaviors listed by Paul threaten the Kingdom in and among us.
And some of you used to do these things, but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
(1 Corinthians 6:11)
This is great news is that Christ washes us, and the Holy Spirit sanctifies us.
We are declared innocent of all our sins through faith in Jesus.
Come to Christ, get the Holy Spirit, and he will clean you up. He is capable of changing us.
When people repent by agreeing that he is right and we are wrong, he puts his Spirit in us to begin to change us.
The Purpose of this Study:
This study is for Christians to help them better understand what the Bible teaches on this issue so they can make an informed decision with respect to their personal beliefs.
It is not intended to attack anyone’s beliefs. We recognize that those outside the Christian church are our neighbors whom we love, and even if they believe differently than we do, like the Good Samaritan, we help, love, and honor them.
It is simply to answer the question, “What does the Bible say?”
The Bible is very clear. It teaches that God established marriage as a way to reflect his image on the earth, and to foreshadow Christ’s marriage to the Church. It clearly portrays same sex attraction and gender confusion as wrong paths for those who want to follow God’s plan for life in this fallen world. Thus, those activities must be resisted by those tempted by them, and when engaged in, repented of. According to the Bible, we risk losing power in this life—and our relationship with God in the next—if we do not.