Matthew 19

Read Matthew 19.

People in our culture sometimes say, “Jesus never talked about homosexuality.” Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter said that in 2012*.

Technically, that statement is true. Jesus did not directly condemn homosexuality the way he did unlawful divorce (v. 9) and a number of other things.

But, notice here in Matthew 19 what Jesus said when he was asked about divorce (v. 3). He could have said, “Haven’t you read… that at the beginning the Creator… said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?”

In other words, Jesus could have started his quotation of Genesis with Genesis 2:24, the verse that directly speaks to marriage. BUT, instead, he first quoted Genesis 1:27 in verse 4: “…at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’”. Jesus framed his answer on divorce with a biblical understanding of marriage and he quoted from two different chapters in Genesis to frame that biblical understanding of marriage.

Why did he do that?

One reason was to preserve the biblical definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. Humanity was created in male and female counterparts so that by coming together as one flesh (v. 5, Gen 2:24) they could glorify their creator by enjoying godly sexuality and by creating children together.

Divorce destroys God’s intention for marriage (v. 6). That was Jesus’s point and why he quoted from Genesis in his answer. He acknowledged that divorce was “permitted” (v. 8) in some situations but that, in most instances, it is just a legalized form of adultery (v. 9).

Same-sex relationships–whether legal or not–also violate the Creator’s intentions for marriage and, unlike divorce, there are no exceptions allowed anywhere in scripture.

All kinds of sexual relationships are considered acceptable in our culture but that cultural acceptance do not change God’s infallible Word. Most people on earth are or could be tempted by some form of sexual sin whether premarital sex, adulterous sex, homosexual attraction or sex, lust, and so on. As Christians, we should obey God’s instructions and plead for his grace and mercy, not label as good what God calls sin.


* Click here to read the story on President Carter.

2 Samuel 13, Ezekiel 20

Today we reading 2 Samuel 13 and Ezekiel 20.

This devotional is about Ezekiel 20:32: “‘You say, ‘We want to be like the nations, like the peoples of the world, who serve wood and stone.’”

Peer pressure is something we warn teenagers about, but adults are far from immune to it. Marketers use a form of peer pressure called “social proof” to get you and me to buy products. Similarly, ideas and actions that the Bible label as sinful have become acceptable in human societies because a majority of people consider them OK. Sexual activity apart from marriage, homosexuality, and transgenderism would all be in this category, but there are probably many more things that you and I could list if we took some time to think about it.

These things are now considered as acceptable, within the range of normal in our society. The Bible warns us Christians that we would be out of step with the world around us and that the world would pressure us (Rom 12:2) to conform. Just as God’s people in Ezekiel’s time wanted to worship idols because other nations did, we Christians will feel external and internal pressure to conform to the world around us. At some point–probably soon–some major evangelical figure will come out and say that homosexuality is acceptable as long as it is practiced in a marriage covenant of some kind. Though many believers will resist, many will jump on board and urge us all to change our understanding of what it means to follow Christ.

God warned his people of judgment here in Ezekiel and in all the other prophets of scripture for conforming to the practices of the world around them. Idolatry was the specific sin then but the desire to be like everyone else was the motivation then just as it is now when we abandon God’s word and practice or condone in the church what the Lord says is sinful. Let’s prepare ourselves, then, to be faithful to God’s word even as we fall more and more out of step with the world around us.