Is Homosexuality a Sin in Romans 1?

It seems to be that the book of Romans is the most misunderstood passage in the Bible associated with homosexuality. I have talked to many gay and lesbian Christians that find Romans 1:26-28 one of the hardest to reconcile. Note that all the 6 verses that appear to condemn homosexuality are explained when we look at the original Hebrew and Greek language as well as the context and cultural atmosphere of Biblical times. I am devoting this page especially to Romans, but if you would like more information on the alternate view that shows that homosexuality as a whole is not condemned in the Bible, please visit my other website http://gaychristians.2freedom.com

Romans 1:26-28, “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their lust toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.”

The author Paul makes the meaning of this verse clear when reading it in context. First we must look at the verses before Romans 1:26 which clearly show that these particular people who were engaging in “unnatural behavior” had turned away from God and worshiped idols. Romans 1:22-25 states,Professing to be wise, they (idol worshipers) were made fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of fowls, and of quadrupeds, and of reptiles. Wherefore also God did give them (idol worshipers) up, in the desires of their hearts, to uncleanness, to dishonor their (idol worshipers’) bodies among themselves; who did change the truth of God into a falsehood, and did honor and serve the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed to the ages. Amen.”

*Note that this is speaking of a specific group of idol worshipers that were performing homosexual sex acts in rituals, NOT all homosexuals as a whole.

Secondly, note that these individuals “exchanged their natural function” or “abandoned their natural function.” The words “exchange” (Greek- Metallasso– “to change”) and “abandon” (Greek- aphiemi– “to give up”)  may demonstrate that they previously had their own personal natural attraction towards the opposite sex, but went against their own natural feelings to engage in things against their innate feelings. This would indicate a choice to engage in new pursuits of lustful sexual exploration (for the sake of idol worship), and not those who have always experienced romantic love and attraction towards the same-sex.

Furthermore, old translations make it clear that this verse does not speak of lesbianism in any way. Some newer translations say “women with women” which is just textually inaccurate. All it states pertaining to woman is: “for even their woman did change their natural function for that which is unnatural.” Not only was it common for male shrine prostitutes to be the receiver of male seed for the idols, but it was also common for the women to be a vessel for these idol worshiping men. They exchanged their natural function (male/female intercourse) for that which is unnatural (male/female anal intercourse.) Likewise, the men did the same (anal intercourse) with each other, all for the sake of idol worship. Having sex within a ritual of worship is what was unnatural. Also note that they were inflamed with lust for one another, which does not describe committed love. Therefore, Romans does not condemn gay and lesbian people individually or gay and lesbian people in loving committed lifelong partnerships.

Within Romans 1:22 they speak of “degrading passions.” The word “passion” in this specific verse comes from the Greek word pathos which means “acalamity, mishap, affliction, a feeling which the mind suffers.” This word is more similar to the context of “the passion” in which Christ suffered on the cross, not passion as we see it today (i. e- not a feeling of desire or love or sexual attraction). Therefore, it is not saying that sex between two adults of the same gender is degrading, but that they experienced degrading afflictions. In addition, it must be noted that the Greek word Eros (romantic love) is NOT used within this verse or any other passages that appear to condemn homosexuality. Due to this notation, romantic love between the same gender is nowhere found in the Bible as sinful. With this knowledge, it seems that the book of Romans speaks against members of the same sex engaging in temple idol worship which often involved sexual rituals.

If you read the entire book of Romans, it is not a book of condemnation, but a book of grace and love. It says that these sins were “what you were,” because we are no longer “under the law.” This does not mean that no one sins after accepting Christ, but that Jesus died for our sins so that we may be saved since the commandments of the Old Testament were unable to be perfectly followed by man (everyone falls short). It also says if you live under the law you will die under the law (only living by commandments and not saved by Jesus) and that if you judge another you are judging yourself and will be condemned. Obeying God’s commandments is an expression of love and obedience to Him, not the means to get to Heaven. If it were, no one would be able to succeed because we all make mistakes. Jesus paid the price for our sins. He is like a good lawyer that goes in front of the judge (God) and gets us out of our criminal case (our sinful nature). We don’t deserve it; he just gives it to us for free if we believe because of His love for us.

If you are still having trouble dealing with this passage, I encourage you to read all of chapter 1 and ask yourself these questions:

  • Although you know God, have you stopped glorifying Him and/or thanking Him?
  • Has your heart become dark and your thinking futile (completely ineffective)?
  • Have you claimed to be wise, but become a fool by exchanging your worship of God for worshiping idols instead?
  • If any of these questions have been answered thus far with “yes,” then have you noticed that since you stopped glorifying and thanking God and since your heart became dark to worship idols rather than God, God has caused you to abandon your natural feelings for the opposite sex (that you had previously) for inflamed lust for the same sex (something new, because you abandoned your old way of straight feelings)? Have you then exchanged your feelings of attraction towards the opposite sex for lust of the same sex?
  • Have you become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity?
  • Lastly, do you approve, take pleasure, or think it is right and good to do these things? :
  • Is it good to be full of envy?
  • Is it good to be full of murder?
  • Is it good to be full of strife?
  • Is it good to be full of deceit?
  • Is it good to be full of malice?
  • Is it good to hate God?
  • Is it good to be full of gossip?
  • Is it good to slanderer others?
  • Is it good to act insulting?
  • Is it good to act arrogant?
  • Is it good to invent ways of doing evil?
  • Is it good to disobey your parents in the Lord?
  • Is it good to act senseless?
  • Is it good to have no faith?
  • Is it good to show no love?
  • Is it good to show no mercy to others?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are guilty of the charges. If you answered “no” to all of the questions, than you do not fit the profile of the people written about in this chapter of Romans. Chances are, you answered “no” to all of the questions. As you can see, when we really look at the charges, none of them are against homosexuality as a whole or loving committed gay and lesbian relationships. Rather it condemns heterosexuals who exchanged their natural sexual desires to engage in lustful sex acts with the same gender to praise their false gods.

Although we have ALL been guilty of sinning, as Christians we do not approve or think it is good to sin. This shows that we have the Spirit within us and love God. We delight in God’s way and we do not agree with or think it is right to do hurtful and unloving things. We have not given up on God, and He has not given up on us. We believe, and for this, we cannot be guilty of the charges above because Jesus’ blood and Gods grace is much stronger than any of it. For more clarification, watch the video below:

To watch more videos on the topic of homosexuality and the Bible, go to: https://moanti.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/videos-explaining-an-ancient-perspective-on-homosexuality-in-the-bible/

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About moanti (moe·on·tee)

My main mission of this blog is to demystify the confusion of “homosexuality” in the Bible and let the rarely heard alternative perspective be known. I also aspire to spread the loving Word of Christ to the gay and lesbian community who feel left out due to our society. I have extraordinary compassion for gays and lesbians who have struggled with religious persecution, but hope that they can come to know God as loving rather than run from Him forever due to a group of naïve heterosexual Christians who discriminated against them. I want to bridge the gap of these two groups with knowledge! If only I had a bigger podium to accomplish this… Please spread the word. Thank you and happy reading! https://moanti.wordpress.com/2010/08/02/gaychristians/
This entry was posted in Bible, Bisexual, Christian, Christianity, Gay, Gay and Lesbian Christians, Lesbian, LGBT, Romans, Self Help and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Is Homosexuality a Sin in Romans 1?

  1. Pingback: Homosexuality in the Bible? – An alternative perspective | Writings of a Christian lesbian

  2. Pingback: What is “the due penalty for their error” in Romans? | Writings of a Christian lesbian

  3. Anthony says:

    Hello… Moanti.

    Here you are, standing on Paul’s shoulders, blatantly equating what he calls “unnatural relations” with “anal intercourse” in your scheme to elude lesbianism from Scriptures…

    Problem, your statement here is directly contradicting your other article : “Biological evidence that proves gay and lesbian sex is NOT unnatural’ … :/

    I am sorry, but this proves that. You are serving yourself, not the Biblical God.

    Again, for the third and LAST time, I am trying to help you OUT of your erroneous interpretation, your all too convenient and beloved “alternative perspective”, that is keeping you from coming to Christ, and being SAVED…

    The complete set of this man study, articles of Thoughtful faith :

    1 : http://thoughtful-faith.blogspot.fr/2012/01/is-there-gospel-for-homosexuals.html

    2 : http://thoughtful-faith.blogspot.fr/2012/01/is-there-gospel-for-homosexuals-can.html

    3 : http://thoughtful-faith.blogspot.fr/2012/01/is-there-gospel-for-homosexuals-is-god.html

    4 : http://thoughtful-faith.blogspot.fr/2012/02/is-there-gospel-for-homosexuals.html

    This man is a “gay” Christian person, I strongly, FIRMLY suggest you to contact and learn to know, to help you GROW in Christ, in Biblical righteousness…

    God SAVE yes, but with no repentance, there is no forgiveness…

    The ONE unforgivable sin, as far as I know from my humble Christian faith is this worst sin :

    ◄ Isaiah 5:20 ►

    “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”

    Amen,
    Your brother in Christ.

    PS : I will post this “gay” man, admirable example on Erik Brewer blog as well, since your moderation is holding it, I understand you do not want to risk my comments undermining your efforts at spreading your very own “heretic” view on Scriptures…

    • Dear Anthony,
      I have not withheld your comments from moderation. I like to have time to thoughtfully formulate a response before I press the “approve” button, but in this case I’ll make an exception so that you understand that I’ve not ignored you or felt threatened to approve you. I’ve not had access to a computer aside from my quite outdated mobile device which is difficult to use wordpress on…. Despite this, I have been working to send you a reply to your previous comment from my main page in my notepad (which I must copy and paste since typing in wordpress on my device is unfesible. Thanks for your patience and you’ll be hearing more from me soon!
      Your sister in Christ,
      Moanti

    • Again, this is not typical for me to write as I go, or approve without first thoughtfully formulating a response, but I must say that you are absolutely right to see the contradiction between the articles based on the title and Paul’s word “unnatural,” on the surface… This just shows how my writing and researching is a process, as I wrote this about Romans 1 before writing about the biological evidence. However, we mustn’t hold on too closely to one word in my title and accuse the whole argument of being false. The word in this case being “unnatural.” As stated in my other article, women do not have a prostate gland, therefore if we want to say that anal sex is unnatural for a man with a woman, than we could do so…. Perhaps instead of saying that homosexual sex is “not unnatural” in the title, it should be said that the body is designed for both heterosexual and homosexual physical bonding, because the base argument most have is that the body is NOT designed for homosexuality. But as far as all together when thinking of the word “unnatural” in the context of Paul’s writings, it would seem that the men left their traditional use of the woman as wives to have sexual intercourse with men and women shrine prostitutes (through anal sex) for the purposes of cultic sex ritual. This is what’s truly unnatural. Instead of using sex in the confines of a monogamous covenant, they have unnaturally used it for the sake of sacrificing their seed to idols. I truly wish I had more time to explain, but for now must go. I will read the articles in more depth later on and appreciate your care. God bless you Anthony!
      Your sister in Christ,
      Moanti

      • Anthony says:

        Hello Moanti,,

        Paul’s words are the strongest possible, they express a sense of permanence…

        “Exchanged” …. “Abandoned”… He is speaking of homosexuality lived DAILY permanently, not about culture bound seasonal or casual “idol worship rituals”, but about the homosexual lifestyle as it exist to this day and age…

        And becoming rampant because of our sick governments and gay lobbies shady agreements, strategies and manipulations for it being “valid, legitimate and good” to the uninformed public opinion…

        Not dealing with lesbianism…?

        “Women” are the subject of the sentence, “men” are adressed later, it is “women” who “exchanged” the natural realtions (with men) for unnatural ones (wijht women) …. In the same way, men “abandoned” natural relation with “women”, etc….

        The coherence of the original text is evident, and really, REALLY adressing,habitual homosexual behaviors, and both “gay and lesbian” sexual activities, as it is.

        Natural, unnatural relations…

        I quote myself from another comment I expressed :

        Still, whatever happens by our governments lies and laws, the norm is heterosexual why, because our very nature is physically and mentally structured as heterosexual, as male and female. Our mean of reproduction is exclusively heterosexual, actual sexual union is exclusively heterosexual OR YOU TELL ME HOW a penis / vagina can “perform” genuine sexual mating with another penis / vagina by their natural function, ie penetrating / being penetrated.

        God SAVE.

  4. Anthony says:

    Hi, Moanti.

    Hmmm… I thank you then, and sincerely apologize for my assumptions, of you moderating me unfairly, it really seemed so to my eyes, out of knowledge about your devices problems.

    I am sorry to have concluded that, wrongly.

    To exchange more with me.. Frankly myself, I do not have anything relevant to bring to your table, BUT the author of these articles I am forwarding, really, REALLY does!

    I pray with all I have as a faithful, humble believer and follower of Christ, that you will try to contact this person, for your own sake, and your Christian ACTUAL growth, edification.

    God bless you this way, please… Take care of yourself, do not be deceived!

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