October 13, 1992
A letter to the editor of a small publication claimed that homosexuality was not offensive to God. The writer reasoned that God would not “condemn anyone who committed themselves to a loving, life-long relationship.”
To some, this sounds good. After all, the Bible says we are to love one another. First John even says: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God” and “No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.”
The letter writer even alluded to these verses in her defense of homosexuality. She reasoned that since the parties involved “loved” each other, they could claim God’s abiding presence and that their relationship was of Him. What she did not do was read the rest of 1 John. Why was John making these statements and what kind of arguments was he refuting when he challenged the level of love in his readers?
Attacks against the teachings of the Apostles were common in the first Century. That comes as no surprise since Christ Himself was misunderstood and attacked, even eventually crucified for what He taught. People did not like hearing a message that condemned their previously held ideas about God and how to approach Him. When John wrote his letters, he also had to counter false teaching. Some were saying true spirituality was not in any way related to material things. That is, God was too pure to inhabit a human body thus Christ was not God in the flesh. They also taught that people either did not sin at all ever, or if any did sin, it was only the physical part of them that sinned and their spiritual being remained unstained and pure.
Furthermore, these false teachers at first infiltrated the church but they eventually left. Because they did not agree with the true gospel (that man is sinful and Jesus was the Christ, come in the flesh to die for their sin, and give them His righteousness), they did not care for Christians, even hated them, so did not want to be around them.
First John is a rebuke to both this false teaching and lack of love. John affirms that a true teacher from God can be identified by correct doctrine about Christ, by a moral life that hates sin and does not habitually continue to sin, and by love for other Christians. This love is characterized by self-sacrifice (just as God’s love is sacrificial), by a desire for the other person’s eternal and present well-being, and by a freedom from fear of God’s judgment.
Put in context, this love that demonstrates that a person is “of God” is not referring to the relationship between a man and a woman, never mind same-sex relationships. It is referring to a love for Christians, and even beyond that, a love for righteousness and for the only One who is truly righteous, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not condoning relationships that the Bible elsewhere condemns.
It is sad that people dismiss the Bible as having any authority over their morals. It is not God or the Gospel that is harmed but they themselves. The wages of immorality is grief, guilt, and eventual eternal loss.
It is an even greater grief that some will rewrite God’s definitions of holiness and of godly love so they can use it (or should I say mis-use it) to support immorality. Those who advocate such contradictions bring destruction not only to themselves but to others who are gullible enough or uninformed enough to believe what they say.