Sexuality Under the Law
Sexuality Under the Law
When we started out our reading of the history of man, God created Adam and Eve. Then God said: Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24) When Jesus quoted this he added: "So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:6
The world quickly departed from God's intended relationship and plummeted into a moral abyss of polygamy, adultery, and general immorality. When God redeemed Israel to be a holy nation unto Him, He warned them: "And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the Lord your God. You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the Lord" (Leviticus 18:1-5). Later in this chapter He states: “Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean…" (Leviticus 18:24). Then again He said: "And you shall not walk in the customs of the nation that I am driving out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I detested them (Leviticus 20:23). Israel was to be different because their moral code was revealed by God and not made by the hearts of men.
God therefore plainly condemned adultery (Lev. 18:20, Deut. 5:20), fornication (by implication of being punished for NOT being a virgin when becoming married as per Deut. 22:13-21), prostitution (Lev. 19:29), incest (Lev. 18:6ff), homosexuality (Lev. 18:22), and bestiality (Lev. 18:23). Almost every one of these had the penalty of death attached*. God meant what He said.
Paul wrote to Christians: "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). The Hebrew writer wrote: "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous" (Hebrews 13:4).
Like Israel of old, God's people today are different. Our moral standard is revealed by God. God means what He says. There indeed are yet penalties for rebellion against God in these things.
------------ Notes* Death penalty for:
Adultery Deut. 22:22; Lev. 20:10
Incest Lev. 20:11
Homosexual Lev. 20:13
Bestiality Ex. 22:19; Lev. 20:15-16
Fornication Deut. 22:21