A homosexual is a person who has sexual relations with another person of the same sex. A man having sex with a man is a homosexual. A woman having sex with a woman is also a homosexual, though many people use the term lesbian for a female homosexual. Unlike what you may have been taught in school and what you have seen on television, God teaches us that homosexuality is not due to a genetic difference. People are not born with a predisposition toward wanting to have sex with someone of their own sex; nor does God consider homosexuality an acceptable alternative lifestyle. To God, homosexuality is a sin - nothing more and nothing less.
People want to say that there is a genetic disposition toward homosexuality to remove from themselves any blame for their actions. If people were born homosexuals, it would be difficult to claim that it is a sin. If people can't help being homosexual, then God would be unfair labeling their actions as wrongful. Similarly, calling living in a homosexual relationship an alternative lifestyle is an attempt to get society as a whole to view homosexuality as normal, everyday behavior.
The Bible is very explicit about God's opinion on homosexuality. In the Old Testament, there is a law recorded in Leviticus 18:22 that clearly says a man is not to have sex with another man. People who were guilty of such acts were punished by death (Leviticus 20:13). The New Testament is also clear on the topic of homosexuality. In Romans 1:24-32, Paul describes the moral decay of the Gentile people over the years. The people turned their backs on God, so God gave up on them and allowed them to practice what their hearts desired. The first phase was the committing of sexual sins such as fornication and adultery. They worshiped the body instead of the Creator of man. The second phase was women having sexual relations with women. Paul described it exchanging the natural use of the body (having sex with a man) for unnatural use. It is obvious from the way God created men and women that men were not designed to have sex with men and women were not designed to have sex with women. As a result, these people burned in their lusts for one another and committed acts that are shameful. The result is that the acts carry the penalties for the actions. Homosexuals are plagued with diseases that are only transmitted sexually. While these diseases are not the final punishment, they serve as a warning of the punishment to come. Unfortunately, it doesn't stop there. People who want nothing to do with God have nothing to stop them from committing any number of sins. However, the people who commit these sins will face an eternity in Hell. Not only the people who actually commit the sins but also the people who approve of the deeds though they don't participate in them.
You cannot be a homosexual and be a faithful member of the church. However, the church does contain people who had committed homosexual acts before they learned the truth and turned to the Lord (I Corinthians 6:9-10). Baptism can wash away all sins, if we will just turn our lives around and live righteously before the Lord. Baptism does not make homosexuality acceptable. A person wanting to be a child of God must give up his sinful practices. A thief cannot continue to steal after becoming a Christian nor can a homosexual continue to have sexual relations with a man after becoming a child of God.
Sometimes you will hear people claim that the Bible doesn't condemn homosexuality. Obviously, the verses we have just read show this claim to be false. The idea that the Bible doesn't condemn homosexuality is derived from the fact that the King James Version of the Bible does not contain the word "homosexual." That statement is true. When the King James Version was written in 1611, the English language did not include a specific word for the act of a man having sex with a man. However, it doesn't mean that the Bible does not talk about the idea, nor does it mean that God doesn't condemn the act. Modern English does contain the word homosexuality. You will find that the new English versions, such as the New King James and the New International Versions, use the word homosexual in the appropriate places.
Many people believe that homosexuality is a relatively new phenomenon. It isn't. People have been guilty of homosexual acts from as early as the days of Abraham, if not earlier. In Genesis 19:1-25, we have the account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. These towns were very wicked. When two men (who were actually angels) entered the city, Lot insisted that they spend the night at his house. After supper, the men of the city, young and old alike, surrounded Lot's house. They told Lot to send the strangers out so that they could have sex with them. ("To have sex" is the meaning of the phrase "that we may know them"). Lot went out and tried to strike a deal with the men. He offered to send out his two virgin daughters. They could do whatever they liked with them, but they could not have his guests. The men rejected the idea and threatened to do worse things to Lot than they would have done to the men. At the last moment, the angels rescued Lot by striking the men with blindness.
In Judges 19:16-28, we read of an account that is similar to what happened in Sodom. As in the earlier account, some men of the city of Gibeah surrounded the house where a stranger was spending the night. They demanded that the owner of the house send out the stranger so that they could "know him." In other words, they wanted to have sex with the man. Once again, they refused the offer of an exchange of a woman for the man. However, when a woman was all they could get their hands on, they raped her all night.
The word "sodomy" was derived from the name of the town famous for its homosexuals. The word means a male prostitute (a man who will hire himself out for sex). It especially means a homosexual. In recent years, the meaning of the word sodomy has broadened to refer to any sexual act that doesn't include copulation. The following verses show that homosexuality was a continuing problem in Israel: I Kings 14:24, I Kings 15:12, I Kings 22:46, and II Kings 23:7.
It is obvious from the way God designed the sexual organs of men and women that sex is to be between members of the opposite sexes. We don't even have to turn to scripture to prove this. It is obvious from a natural viewpoint. Homosexuality is not a natural phenomenon. It is something that men decide to do that is against nature. Yes, the men that participate in it most likely enjoy what they are doing. I'm sure some people get a thrill out of stealing and murdering as well. However, fun doesn't make an action right or wrong. God views men having sex with other men as an abomination. (An abomination is something extremely disgusting and repulsive.)
Sex is pleasurable, but restrict yourself to enjoying sex God's way - with your spouse.
When a person has sex with other members of his own family, it is called incest. In Leviticus 18:6-18, God gives a long list of various relationships that he does not consider righteous. The idea of uncovering a person's nakedness implies more than accidentally seeing a person without clothing. The wording is such that we are talking about a person removing someone's clothing to expose their genitals. It is implied that the purpose of this is to have sex with that person. Notice that uncovering a man's wife is equated to uncovering the man himself. The only person who should have sex with a woman is her husband. Any violation of that is a violation of the husband as well as the wife.
Leviticus 20:11-12,17-21 gives the punishments for having sexual relationships with a close relative. A man who has sex with his mother, stepmother, daughter-in-law, or step-daughter is punished by death. The person who consented to have sex with him was also put to death. Other sexual relationships with family members were punished by exiling the guilty couple. The couple was no longer considered Israelites.
Obviously, incest has been a problem for a long time in the world. Among the many other problems that Israel had, they were guilty of incest (Ezekiel 22:10-11). Even the early church faced this problem. In I Corinthians 5:1-5, we are told that a member of the church at Corinth was living with his father's wife. Instead of being appalled by this sin, as even non-Christians would have been, the Corinthian Christians were proud to have this man among them. Paul severely scolded them for their sinful pride and demanded that they immediately separate themselves from this sinful man.
In the passages that we have considered, there is an implication that the people involved in the incest were old enough to desire sex and had consented to the act. Sometimes children are forced to have sex by another member of their family. While we could label this incest, it would also be called rape. Just as a woman who was raped by a man is not guilty of sin, neither is a child guilty of sin when forced to have sex with someone else.