Is homosexuality and lesbianism ever sanctioned in the Bible/
Thanks for your question.
If someone lives a homosexual lifestyle and commits homosexual acts, then, according to the Bible he or she is engaging in sinful behaviour. However, everybody is a sinner in God's eyes, not just people who live a "gay" lifestyle. The point is that we must recognize our sinfulness and do something about it. What God wants us to do is to reject the lusts of our sin-prone nature and voluntarily submit to His will as revealed to us in His word, the Bible. He wants us to understand and believe the Gospel of His son, repent from our old way of thinking and acting, and live in obedience to His will. The first act of obedience is baptism through which we identify with His son's sacrifice and resurrection. We all have our problems many of them stem from our sexuality. Heterosexual people must not indulge in fornication and adultery. That is sinful behaviour. Those who are prone to homosexuality must refrain from acting on those impulses. If they do then they are engaging in sinful behaviour.
One of the difficulties of addressing this issue is that it is a very sensitive topic these days which many, especially those with homosexual desires, feel very strongly about. As a consequence, to suggest that the practice is in some way sinful in the sight of Almighty God, is to leave one open to the charge of being Homophobic. But we wish to emphasize that this is not the case. The Bible plainly teaches that many practices which men engage in to fulfil their desires are sinful – fornication, adultery, bestiality, lying, covetousness, to name but a few. Homosexual sex is not a practice which God considers to be acceptable among believers in Christ. However, that does not mean that followers of Christ are Homophobic – to be "phobic” is to have an irrational fear of something or someone. We are not afraid in the slightest of men and women who indulge in these practices. Neither do we wish to target them as a group – our objective is merely to set forward the Bible view on the subject, and allow those who desire to follow the way of Christ to see the mind of God on the matter.
THE TEACHING OF THE BIBLE
The Bible is the Word of God. It testifies of itself: "all Scripture is breathed by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for setting straight, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God might be fitted, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Bible then, is profitable for teaching, for reproof, and for setting straight. Believers in Christ must look to the Bible as an authority for moral teaching, to reprove their behaviour, and to set them straight in their journey to the coming kingdom of God. The teaching of the Bible must be the end word. Being the word of God, it is authoritative, and it is absolute Truth (John 17:17). Once a matter has been settled by reference to the Bible, there should be no further scope for argument, or debate – God has spoken.The Bible is specific and unambiguous in its position concerning homosexual practices:
THE OLD TESTAMENT:
"do not lie with a male as with a woman, it is an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22).
"and a man who lies with a male as he lies with a woman: both of them have done an abomination, they shall certainly be put to death, their blood is upon them” (Leviticus 20:13)
From these two passages, it is plain that homosexual practices are not approved by the God who wrote the Bible.
THE NEW TESTAMENT
New Testament teaching concerning the matter in question is in total harmony with the Old Testament. God’s morality does not change. Many of the moral principles of the Old Testament are reaffirmed by the New – for instance marrying outside of the Household of Faith (Deuteronomy 7:1-5 cp 1 Corinthians 7:39) and Adultery (Exodus 20:14 cp 1 Corinthians 6:9) to give just two examples. Where an Old Testament stance on a particular behaviour is re-affirmed in the New Testament, we are left in no doubt that the principles apply to believers today.
Consider the following passage:
"Because of this, God gave them over to degrading passions. For even their women exchanged natural relations for what is against nature, and likewise, the men also, having left natural relations with woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing indecency, and receiving back the reward which was due for their straying” (Romans 1:27).
Notice the language used here: - quite plainly, this is talking about homosexual relations on the part of both men and women. The Apostle describes homosexual desires as "degrading passions”, or as the King James translation has it, "vile affections”. He also describes the practice as being "against nature”, and those who participate in it as "burning in their lust” and "committing indecency”. Quite plainly, the New Testament does not sanction Homosexual relationships – rather, its sexual morality is identical with the Old Testament.
The Apostle again speaks of Homosexual relationships in 1 Corinthians chapter 6:9-10 "Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither those who whore, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor greedy of gain, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers shall inherit the kingdom of God”
Notice several points here: First, he says, "do not be deceived”, which implies that somebody would try to deceive the disciples into thinking that the behaviours listed here are in some way acceptable. Secondly, those who are guilty of the behaviours listed, it is stated, will not inherit the kingdom of God. And thirdly, listed among those behaviours, are homosexuality and effeminacy.
The word translated "effeminate” is the Greek word malakos. The word means "being passive in a same-sex relationship”.
Finally, notice the company that homosexuals are put in, in 1st Timothy 1:9-11 "But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.” So homosexual activity is condemned in the same way that all other immoral acts are condemned.
Here is a link to an online booklet about this issue. I hope you will find it useful.
I must emphasize we are not "homophobic" - we do not hate homosexual people. To act maliciously or hatefully towards any person or group is a greater sin than the one against which one is reacting. However, we are called upon, as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, to uphold the teaching of the Bible. The old saying, "hate the sin, love the sinner," was never more apt than it is today in dealing with those who have ensnared themselves in this sinful lifestyle.
I hope you have found this helpful.