This started out as my own personal introduction to Romans 1:8-2:11, which I will soon post in response to the Supreme Court decision on DOMA, but then I noticed some digressions connecting to to an earlier post of mine. Furthermore, this intro is now as long as the passage I will be citing.
All the letters and books were written for each to be single continuous documents. Dividing it into chapters and verses has made it easier for us to cite in discussions, articles, books, etc. Unfortunately, one thing I have noticed is that people started isolating the verses, quoting those only, and segregating them away from their context. I have noticed this regarding to Leviticus 18:22... pay attention to the intro and conclusion of Lev 18, people! but also regarding a diversity of other verses.
"Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14)
To understand that verse, please read chapters 5, 6 and the next verse after it. I say this to provide knowledge and information to those people who do not have this and who need to hear this. So far, only two individuals have corrected my interpretations of certain scripture in the past - blog editor Barry Bowen and Marcia Montenegro. I included Marcia Montenegro's correction as part of another blog article out of appreciation and gratitude.Because I need correction from time-to-time, I have no reason to boast, but I have every reason to continue sharing what I have just as they share what they have.
Now, after the decision on DOMA, many people have been citing Bible verses condemning gay sex. Gays and lesbians have started to insist that the condemnation in Romans 1:26-27 refers to gay sex within idolatrous worship or an idolatrous practice; they insist that Paul is condemning the idolatry, not the sex itself. Meanwhile, Christians love to condemn just gay sex and gloss over all the other sins.
Romans chapter 1 condemns all sins. The condemnation of sin is including but not limited to gay sex. The entire chapter thus becomes a strong slap to both sides. Salvation from sin and the wrath of God comes from faith in God. People who deny God and want to sin suffer the condemnation of wrath. When people reject God, He in turn rejects them and gives them up to their lusts for sinning. To all who want to practice gay sex, these sins do include gay sex, so your actions are sins. To all the Christians who want to focus solely on that one sin, the condemnation is not limited to sex and condemns you as well.
After Paul of Tarsus lists the sex sin, he then proceeds to condemn all the sins that have nothing to do with sex - "whisperers, backbiters, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful..." (Romans 1:29-31) The only way we can effectively dismiss the claim that Romans 1:26-27 is about an idol-worship practice is to place it within its scriptural context. In order to place it within its scriptural context, we must acknowledge our own sinful, shameful conduct and that we - same as them - have committed grievous sins deserving of condemnation because "there is no partiality with God." (Romans 2:11) When we acknowledge this, readers, then we become more humble, more loving, and more merciful all the while maintaining a biblical outlook on sin.