A commenter in the earlier post about Exodus International is checking to see if I am ashamed of Leviticus 20:13 yet, which I am not. But before proceeding, let me quote that verse in full.
“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” (Lev. 20:13).
This passage is the Word of God, and before moving on to how we are to receive and apply it today, let us — by which I mean all Christians who believe the Scripture — affirm that this law, as originally given, was holy, righteous, and good. This means that in the time of Moses, if a homosexual acted out his impulses, doing what is here forbidden, and was caught in that deed, and was duly tried and executed, no injustice whatever was done. This law, along with the rest of God’s law, teaches us what holiness means. To apologize for it, or to refuse to talk about it, because the perpetrators of unholy deeds today might find it offensive, is to contribute heavily to the lostness of a very lost generation.
So what about today? How should passages like Lev. 20:13 be received and applied? There are legitimate secondary questions that arise from this, like what the ideal law would be in a postmillennial republic. I have written about this elsewhere, but our chief task is to get there, and not so much to speculate about what it might be like when we do. And so how are we to get there? The answer is gospel, and nothing but gospel, and passages like Lev. 20:13 (unapologized for) play a key role in this.
Taking the flow of redemptive history into account, the central use of such passages must be evangelistic, which they cannot be if we spend our time being sorry about their existence. The law condemns sinners, and convinces them that they are under the just sentence of God’s holy wrath. This wrath manifestly includes those who pursue the unnatural lust that leads to same sex copulation. God hates it, and because He hates it, He will condemn to Hell those who live this way without repentance and faith in Jesus.
This means that execution for homosexual behavior is not passé. It still happens, and when it happens — at the hand of our most holy God — it is a judgment that is righteous and good. And without repentance, the sentence will fall on everyone who sins in this way, and it would be better to have the Grand Tetons fall on you than that. The wrath of the Lamb will be as furious as His blood was red. And unlike Leviticus, this sentence is forever.
“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections . . . who, knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Rom. 1: 26, 32).
Note that Paul is echoing the teaching of the law here, in complete agreement with Moses, and he is telling us about it in terms of what we deserve. This is not necessarily what we get, but it is most certainly what we deserve to get.
Another passage like it is found in 1 Corinthians, and it gives us some additional guidance on how we are to treat sins in the time of the new covenant, if those sins were also capital crimes in the time of the old covenant.
Paul says this:
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither . . . effeminate [catamites], nor abusers of themselves with mankind [sodomites] . . . shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:9, 11).
And such were some of you. Paul gives us a list of sins, a number of which were capital offenses under Moses, and he tells the saints at Corinth that a number of them used to live this way. But they were accepted by God now; they were now saints. They were cleansed, washed, holy. They were justified — declared righteous. He does not argue that because they had this guilty past, they were now required to go throw themselves off a bridge. They deserved death, but the mercy of God had now arrived in Christ. But note — the arrival of mercy in Christ did not mean that this guilty past wasn’t really a guilty past.
The giving of the law under Moses was a rough tutelage, designed to teach holiness to a planet full of sexual pirates. When the time was fulfilled,God sent His Son to be a sin offering in order to accomplish what the law — however holy it was — could not accomplish. The holiness of the law could not make us love the law of holiness. But what the law could not do, seeing that it was undone by our lusts, God did by sending His Son in the form of a sinful man. And He took on this body in order to make an excruciating death on a cross of wood possible. This is something He did for sodomites.
Get that? The new era arrived, but it was not a new era because we finally realized that homosexuals didn’t deserve to die because of their alternative life choices. Of course they deserved to die, and they deserved it precisely because of those choices.
I should also note that it is de rigueur these days for all good Christians to hasten to say at this point that heterosexuals are big, fat sinners as well, also deserving of death for their corruptions and misdeeds. And if you are asking me to say this because it is the truth of God, I am happy to do so. It is the truth of God, as amply demonstrated by the rest of those lists in Romans and Corinthians. But if you are asking me to do so in an attempt to pull the punch in what I am saying about homosexuality, I am not going to do it. Not the right time. Practicing homosexuals deserve to die, and without repentance they will die everlastingly, under the horrific sentence of the Lord Jesus. Depart from me, He will say, you workers of iniquity. The doctrine of Hell cannot be understood as an instance of God walking Leviticus back. No, it is more like Leviticus everlasting.
And if you want to accuse Him of eschatological hate crimes, remember He is the same one who died on the cross so that we might have the tremendous privilege of offering free forgiveness, free grace, and imputed righteousness to homosexuals everywhere. Friend, the reason Jesus died on the cross is precisely because your sodomy is worthy of death. He died there so that we might have the great joy of telling you here that the sentence of death you so richly deserve has already been executed. God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf. Jesus died so that we might rejoice to say . . . and such were some of you.
We know this, in part, because of the passage in Leviticus, and others like it. Backing away from such passages is backing away from a possibility of salvation for those trapped in same sex lust. The demand that we back away from this is a demand for us to stop loving homosexuals, and to start hating them. The homosexual movement, as it is playing out in America today, is a loud concerted demand that the church agree together that God’s revealed pattern of law and grace is not for homosexuals. Unbelievably, many quarters of the church are going along with it — withholding the gospel from homosexuals in the name of loving them.
Now what I have written above is the grand theme of the New Testament. It is all gospel, and that is what we were told to lead with. This message is what we are to use to tear down strongholds. When we do that, we may turn our attention to other lesser matters. So why needn’t the blood of a homosexual be upon him, as Leviticus says? The short answer is because the blood of someone else is on him.