HM#137 - THE SIN OF SODOM July 2012
But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.
And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.
And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the LORD. And he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and he looked and, behold, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace.
When I was a youth in the 1940s, the word “homosexuality” was shunned in “polite society”. It was regarded as a topic “inappropriate” for discussion, especially in mixed company. If it did have to be mentioned it was common to refer to it in other less direct terms, such as “the sin of Sodom”, or “the sin against nature”. But there was no doubt about what was meant! They were built into the English language to describe the sin of “homosexual behaviour”. There were a couple of other terms in very common use in male work places, which were regarded as “swear words”, which for the sake of propriety, we will not mention here.
In that 1940s culture, homosexuals kept their sin hidden to avoid “discrimination” from others, especially employers, who often regarded them as “unreliable”. They could lose their job. There was also another reason why they wanted to keep a low profile. There was often persecution from gangs whose “sport” was to search them out and beat them up!
Today the meaning of those terms has become blurred by the constant and very public campaign by the homosexual community to have their sin accepted as “normal” and “legal” behaviour. They have even managed to change our language by hijacking words which were once quite “innocent”. e.g. “gay”. They have been so successful that there are now “Christian” Churches whose membership is almost exclusively homosexual. In other places there are large numbers of professing Christians who have joined with them to try to tell us that the Bible does not forbid homosexual behaviour! And there are even some large denominations who now routinely ordain homosexual ministers!
In my youth there were laws against homosexuality. In some circumstances, you could even go to prison!
Today those laws have been repealed. Now there are new “anti-discrimination” laws in place which require you to be careful how you speak about homosexuals to others. Under these new laws, if you say the wrong thing about them, it is you who are in danger of a fine, or even prison! They are even lobbying for the right to “marry”! In many places that lobby has been successful, and laws have been changed to accommodate them. In other places, it may be only a matter of time.
Christians face some difficult choices. The Bible does tell them that they should be careful to obey the laws established by their rulers! (Romans 13:1-7)…… Of course that must be tempered by the qualification that obedience to the “Law of the Land” must not contradict the laws of God. (Acts 4:19; 5:29)
So how do Christians obey these laws …… without disobeying God?
Let us be clear about this. Christian obedience requires that we love ALL men …… even our worst enemies. And that means that we must not hate homosexuals …... We must not vilify them, or slander them …... We must not do them harm …... We must not take it into our own hands to attempt to inflict God’s judgment on them ….. We must not incite others to do those things …...
And “gay bashers” will incur the same judgment from God, ON JUDGMENT DAY, as those they bash!
On the other hand, true Christian love does require us to warn homosexuals about the judgment that GOD SAYS they will incur on Judgment Day …… if they do not repent. We are to give them the SAME GOOD NEWS ABOUT FORGIVENESS that we give to other sinners!
Like Jesus, when he spoke to the woman taken in the act of adultery, (John 8:1-11) we must learn when and how to say, with sincerity and compassion
“Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” (John 8:11)
Note carefully however, that although Jesus did not “condemn” her, neither was he condoning her sin. “Go and sin no more” is a call to repentance!
Of course Homosexuality it is NOT the only sin about which God speaks in this way! The Bible lists it as only one of many sins which will incur the same judgment! But, whilst we do not want to ignore those other sins, it is not our purpose to discuss them here. In this article we are talking specifically about homosexuality, because it has become a topical issue. People have become confused about the changes in attitudes in our 21st century society. Some simply accept it. Others, especially those from my early 20th century generation, are looking for guidance. Were they wrong about what they understood the Bible says about it? Or were they right? And if they were right, what should their attitude be to a culture which demands that they abandon their conscience to conform with the opposing values of the 21st century “gay movement”?
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?
The origin of the two phrases above is Biblical.
“Sin of Sodom” comes from Lamentations 4:6.
For the punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom, that was overthrown as in a moment, ......
And “sin against nature” has its origin in Rom.1:26-27
"God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly."
The issues surrounding this Biblical origin have become blurred by some who misquote the Bible to say that Homosexuality was NOT the sin of Sodom! Ezekiel 16:49 is commonly misused this way:
Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
Of course this is selective quoting. It ignores the context of very next verse of the chapter itself! Verse 50 says:
And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.
The key is in that word “abomination”. Check it out in the Old Testament where it is spelled out very clearly that God says homosexuality is amongst a number of the sins which he calls “abomination”. (and in passing, we note that “cross dressing” (commonly practiced amongst homosexuals) is also included in that list!)
Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. (Leviticus 18:22)
If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. (Leviticus 20:13)
The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God. (Deuteronomy 22:5)
There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel. Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God. (Deuteronomy 23:17-18)
Note: In this verse, “dog” is used as a euphemism for “male prostitute”.
Which particular “abomination” did Sodom commit?
We are not left in doubt! In the same chapter which describes the destruction of Sodom, there is a graphic description of the attempted homosexual rape of the angels sent by God to check out the city. (Genesis 19:5-7) When Ezekiel 16:50 uses the word “abomination” it is actually confirming for us that homosexuality WAS amongst the many “very grievous” sins (Genesis 18:20) for which Sodom was destroyed!
Further confirmation of the homosexual nature of “the sin of Sodom” is found in Jude:
…... just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 7)
The Bible is uncompromising about the “Sin of Sodom”.
It is clearly against homosexuality.
Homosexuality is listed amongst other sins which are a barrier to inheriting the Kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NKJV
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
It is contrary to the “sound doctrine” of the Gospel.
1 Timothy 1:10 NKJV
But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.