This month begins a 25-week study in the book of Romans. On Sunday, CVCYouth Pastor Joe Valenti preached on the second part of Romans chapter 1, a very important and often cited passage of the Bible. Romans chapter 1 is probably the clearest passage in the New Testament revealing that homosexual sex acts are not according to God’s plan. It is contrary to the way God designed and intends people to express themselves sexually.
Many times people have looked at Romans chapter 1 and concluded that homosexual sex acts are a “worse” type of sin than other sins like gossip or greed. In Romans chapter 1 the Apostle Paul tells us that people exchanged the worship of God, the Creator of the universe, and exchanged it for worship of creatures, things God has made. This is a distortion of what “has been clearly perceived (vs. 20)” in the natural world. The Creator is to be honored more than the creation. In this terrible exchange, God “gives them up to the lusts of their hearts to impurity (vs. 24)” to do things that are dishonorable. People have exchanged the truth of God for a lie (vs. 25). Because people exchanged the truth for a lie, God again “gave them up to dishonorable passions.” These dishonorable passions are manifested further in homosexual sex acts.
So, are homosexual sex acts worse sin than the other sins we see in Romans chapter 1? The answer to this question lies in our understanding of the term “worse.” When we talk about statements of value, we need to differentiate between “type” and “degree.” For example, is depression worse than anxiety? In my mind, depression and anxiety are so different that they can’t be ranked better or worse than the other. This is an example of different “types.” But, if my speeding ticket costs $500, that is worse than a speeding ticket costing $200. Value statements of type cannot be ranked, but value statements of degree can.
A positive example of “degree” would be this: having a seven-day vacation with my family is better then a five-day vacation with my family. But is a smile from my wife better or worse than a smile from my five-month-old son (example of a different “type”)?
When we talk about homosexual sex acts and the relationship to other sins, we see that homosexual sex acts are sin, and there is only one “type” of sin, namely, that which makes us guilty before God and deserving of the punishment of God. Thus, homosexual sex acts are the same “type” as the sin of gossip or greed, and all sin is equally sin before God.
There is a difference in homosexual sex acts than other sins. Homosexual sex acts are in no way more “bad” or “sinful” than gossip or greed; it is the same “type” of sin. But, homosexual sex acts are a different “degree” of sin because it requires a greater “exchange” between God’s natural plan and the “lust of their hearts.” Even without Holy Scripture, the natural world tells us that a natural outcome of sex (procreation) can only happen between a male and a female. The male and female reproductive organs complement one another to reproduce for the next generation. Homosexual sex acts distort the natural function of sexuality and are a greater “degree” of distortion.
Doesn’t this mean that homosexual sex acts are “worse” than gossip and greed? No, it is not, but it is a greater distortion of God’s design. For example, if I put water in my car engine instead of motor oil, the outcome will be a broken engine. This is like the “lust of their hearts to impurity” in verse 24-25. But, God giving them “up to dishonorable passions” in verse 26 is like someone putting milk in the gas tank. The result again will be a broken engine, but adding milk to the gas tank is a greater distortion to the design the engineers have for my car.
In summary, homosexual sex acts are not worse sins because all sin brings us under the judgment of God and puts us in need of salvation. But, homosexual sex acts distort God’s original design to a greater degree than heterosexual sexual sin.
What does that mean for our everyday lives? Two things. It means that every single one of us are in need of the saving love of God, and that not a single person in all the world has done anything that is too far from the saving love of God. No matter if you are a “moral” person with a house in the suburbs, 2.5 kids, and a white picket fence and have gossiped just once or you are someone who has lived a homosexual lifestyle for 50 years, both are in need of the same type and degree of remedy: the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.
To learn more about how to receive that love, click here.