“Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way, the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.” Romans 1:26-27.
What a sordid picture! What people call love, God calls lust. What’s the difference?
Although lust can have the neutral meaning of desire, in the New Testament, according to its context it is most often used to mean a craving or “strong inordinate desire for sexual relations.” (www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/lust/).
However, lust does not only refer to the action. It begins in the mind with the desire. According to Jesus, “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come – sexual immorality…All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” Mark 7:21.
James expanded on Jesus’ words. “…Each person is tempted when he is dragged away by his own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” James 1:14, 15.
The problem with sinful behaviour, and especially that which destroys another person, is that it dehumanises the ones who engage in it. Human beings were created to be like God, to have His nature and His capacity to be in perfect harmony with Himself and with one another. Anything that detracts from harmony robs those involved of their likeness to God and their true humanity. This is what the Bible calls “corruption” – moral perversion or depravity; putrefaction and decay.
Roman society in Paul’s day was rotten with sexual promiscuity and homosexuality. We should not be surprised because it was also full of idolatry. As Paul traversed the Roman Empire with the good news of Jesus, he encountered idol worship and the effects of it everywhere. Just as he said in his letter, when people refuse to acknowledge God, they have to invent gods for themselves who are to their liking because their gods accommodate human wickedness. Then their devotees can freely pursue their lusts with their gods’ approval because the gods are just like them.
Every false religion is a form of idolatry because human beings have expelled God from their thinking and set themselves up as the authority, creating gods in their own image. They become their own gods and then replicate themselves in their gods.
Sex is a powerful force in nature and in human beings. In the natural world, creatures need to reproduce to continue the species. They will fight to the death for the right to procreate. However, God created humans to reflect Him as the highest order of creation. Contrary to the evolutionist teaching, (which is just another attempt to oust God from His place as God and His right to rule His creation), humans have not evolved from animals. Human behaviour is sometimes so gross that even animal behaviour puts humans to shame. At least most of the animals use sex to do what they are supposed to do, to reproduce the next generation.
Humans, on the other hand, instead of using sex to express and foster unity between a husband and wife in a faithful monogamous union as God intended, as well as to give God godly offspring (Malachi 2:15), deliberately fracture themselves by using sex to satisfy lust in defiance of God’s purpose. When people connect sexually with a multiplicity of men and women, both homosexually and heterosexually with no regard to the spiritual union they create, they unwittingly fragment themselves.
“Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? “The two shall become one flesh.” …Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:16, 18.
Is it any wonder that such people become desperately unhappy because they have left bits of themselves all over and don’t even know who they are?
And all that because they refuse to acknowledge God and honour Him as God. Sadly, in the name of freedom, the only freedom they have is to destroy themselves, and God allows them to do it because it’s their choice.
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