Sex & Polyester – Leviticus 17-19

Read Leviticus 17-19

When thinking of recent discussions on homosexuality, two verses are often mentioned when discussing the intersection of the Bible and same-sex attraction:

“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22).

“If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them” (Leviticus 20:13).

These are among the clear prohibitions in all of Scripture. But someone says in response, “You are ignoring a lot of Leviticus. What about the passage where you aren’t supposed to wear clothes of two kinds of fabrics? And what about all the rules about food? How can you ignore some of Leviticus but keep other parts? Why do you pick and choose the parts of the Bible you wish to believe?”

Let me offer you four reasons why these two commands in Leviticus still apply to us today:

1) The New Testament also bans homosexual practice (Matthew 19:3-12; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10). In fact, the entire Old Testament sexual ethic is carried forward into the New Testament. Every law and rule about sex remains the same.

2) We don’t ignore any part of the Old Testament, but we do see God changing His expectation of us. When Jesus died, the curtain in the temple tore in two, doing away with the sacrificial system (Hebrews 7:1-10:18). Further, we are told all foods are now clean (Mark 7:19; Acts 10:11-6) and special holy days no longer are obligatory (Romans 14:5-6). These laws teach us about God’s character though we no longer are commanded to obey them as previous believers did.

3) The moral law (think Ten Commandments) still applies to Christian believers (Romans 13:8-10). Again, the moral commandments are still in force today.

4) We don’t stone people who are adulterers, Sabbath-breakers, and homosexuals today because we are no longer Israel, a theocratic state where God’s laws are our nation’s laws. Unlike the Old Testament, the federal or state government does not punish you when you do such things, but you could be excluded from church membership for doing so. Instead of only one nation following God, the gospel is spreading to all nations.

Both Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 condemn sexual relations with someone of your same gender. God’s plan, as originally stated in the Garden of Eden, is for sex to be between only one man and one woman in their lifetime. Today’s reading tells us God’s plan for sexual intimacy was not for close relatives, not for someone else’s spouse, not two men or two women, and not for animals. God’s plan for sex was one man and one woman for a lifetime. You are not being inconsistent to apply these two commands to our lives today. Instead, you are following the will of God.