Gays and lesbians 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, some Christians love to condemn just gay sex and gloss over all the other sins. I have seen these two verses cited as an angry reaction against the Supreme Court decision, but when it is read in its context, Romans turns out to be an inclusive condemnation of all sins so that no one can boast against certain sins because all are sinners. The condemnation of sin is including but not limited to gay sex. Gays and lesbians need to keep in mind that these sins are including gay sex within its condemnation. Christians need to keep in mind that this condemnation is not limited to gay sex and thus includes them as well.
Salvation from sin and from 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. If you refuse to acknowledge your own sin nature and your own depserate need for saving grace, then you are a hypocrite.
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 wrath and damnation because "there is no partiality with God." (Romans 2:11) and because "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) When we acknowledge our own fallen and sin-prone nature, readers, then we become more humble, more loving, and more merciful all the while maintaining a biblical outlook on sin. The only way we can declare gay sex a sin without hypocrisy is to declare our own tendency to sin and our own desperate need for salvation.
When people turn against God, then God gives them up to sin - to any and all sin they desire to commit. Paul references Old Testament scripture, and I have inserted the footnote citations into the body of the text. Now, onto the letter:
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, making request if by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart some spiritual gift, so that you may be established - that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.
Now, I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you but was hindered until now, that I might have some fruit among you, just as among the other Gentiles. I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it, the righteousness of God is written "The just shall live by faith." (Habakkuk 2:4)
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness because what may be known of God is manifest in them for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead so that they are without excuse, because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Professing to be wise, they became fools and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man - and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
Therefore, God gave them up to uncleanness in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator who is blessed forever. Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to vile passions for even the women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also, the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, mean with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful, who knowing the righteousness judgment of God that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
There who are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to the truth against those who practice such things.
And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
But in accordance with the hardness and your impenitent heart, you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who "will render to each one according to his deeds." (Psalm 62:12, Proverbs 24:12) eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth but obey unrighteousness - indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
For there is no partiality with God.
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