Key points regarding the law in the Old and New Testaments
1. The first purpose of the law in the OT was to help define a certain people as "set apart" and holy unto God.
2. The second purpose of the law in the OT was to enable a fledgling nation to stay pure, survive, prosper and grow.
3. The first purpose of the law in the NT is to identify sin and make people consciously aware of it.
4. The second purpose of the law in the NT is to point out our inadequacy with the sin nature in keeping the entire law.
5. The third purpose of the law in the NT is to drive us to Christ as the only possible solution for our sin through the grace and atonement of the cross.
6. The purpose of the law in the OT is more punitive in nature. The purpose of the law in the NT is more redemptive in nature.
7. The NT is a new covenant, a new legal code that supersedes the OT old covenant legal code.
8. The Apostle Paul underscored that we live by grace and that the legal requirements of the law have been "abolished" in Christ.
9. Therefore, if points 1 through 8 are true, there is no room for the view that NT Christians are to hate and kill homosexuals today in accordance with scripture.
10. On the contrary, if points 1-8 are true, then NT Christians are to share the love and truth of Christ, as salt and light, in the hope that practicing homosexuals will repent and model Christ in purity.
And a little more detail...
1. Leviticus 20.26 states, "You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own." (NIV) When the OT law was given, a consecration occurred emphasizing an exterior cleansing. Exodus 19.10 states, "Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes." (NIV)
2. Deuteronomy 4.1 states, "Now, Israel, hear the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land the LORD, the God of your ancestors, is giving you." (NIV)
3. In II Corinthians 3.9, Paul defined the Old Testament and the law as "a ministry of condemnation" as such, "If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!" (NIV)
4. James 2.10 states, "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." Jesus upped the ante in the Sermon on the Mount showing that internal anger is likened to murder and lust is likened to adultery. See Matthew 5.27-28 as an example, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery. But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (NIV) Jesus raised the bar by demanding the kind of perfection that a person following the law alone could not achieve, as noted in Matthew 5.48: "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (NIV)
5. In Galatians 3.24, Paul states, "Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith." (NASB)
6. The redemptive nature of the NT interpretation of the law was summarized in the previous verse, Galatians 3.24. The New Testament emphasizes spiritual empowerment to fulfill the law through a personal relationship with God. This aspect of the New Testament was foretold in the Old Testament in Jeremiah 31.34: “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. I will put my law in their mind and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord."
7. In Matthew 5.17 Jesus states, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." (NIV) Homosexual advocates will often claim this means that all the points of the Old Testament remain in effect. But the word "fulfill" has no such meaning in the context of the NT. Paul spelled out the proper interpretation of the law in the NT using the exact same word, "fulfill" in Romans 13.8 as noted, "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law." (NIV). Jesus helped fulfill the law and the prophets by loving the world enough to lay down his life as a sacrifice for sin. Matthew 22. 36-40 offers a dialogue, "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
8. The apostle Paul emphasized that Christians live by grace and are not under the legal requirements of the law in Romans 6.14: "What then? shall we sin, because we are not under law, but under grace?" He was even more explicit in stating the law was "abolished" for NT believers. Ephesians 2.14-16 states, "For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh, abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it." (NASB - emphasis added.) In Christ the law is abolished, of no effect. See point 7 to understand how Christ fulfilled the law.
9. The only way in which a person can propose that NT Christians are supposed to hate and kill homosexuals is by misinterpreting scripture and taking verses out of context. If you disagree with any of these points, do post scriptures in context to explain your view in the comment section.
10. Instead of hating and killing, Jesus advises his followers to be salt and light. Matthew 5.13-16 states, "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." (NIV) NT Christians are to be light and salt in a dark and decaying world.
According to the theocratic legal system of the Old Testament, incest was a sin that warranted the death penalty in Israel (
A logical argument against Christian capital punishment for homosexuals.
1. There is a case in the New Testament where capital punishment would have been demanded according to the OT law for a sexual sin, but an Apostle recommended a restorative approach (I Corinthians 5).
2. There is no case in the NT where OT-style capital punishment was demanded by Christians for sexual sins.
3. Therefore, the Christian example set forth in the New Testament supports a more restorative approach to the law, as outlined and underscored by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.
4. Therefore, we can conclude that the killing of homosexuals is not in accordance with NT practices.
Many societies today support the idea that capital punishment is justified by the government in cases where a person is a convicted murderer. This is justified in accordance with Romans 13.4: "For the one in authority is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God's servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer." (NIV) However, as noted in I Corinthians 5, the early church did not support the idea of capital punishment for sexual sins. On the contrary, a restorative approach was recommended.
One of the key points of the New Testament is that we Christians cannot live the New Testament life by willpower alone. It is by the saving grace of Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that we become free from the slavery of sin, as outlined in Romans 8. Until a person repents and is born again, as outlined in John 3, there is no hope of addressing the sin nature and overcoming the most challenging obstacle in life, which is our own sinful nature. Even the Catholic Church, which had a history of emphasizing works-based righteousness, has come to affirm that salvation comes by grace and justification by faith, and that spiritual rebirth is a key to redemption. Cathechisms in the 1990's offer clauses such as these: "Our justification comes from the grace of God." and "The Holy Spirit is the master of the interior life. By giving birth to the "inner man," justification entails the sanctification of his whole being." All the main Christian branches have acknowledged that New Testament understandings of grace, faith and love are presented in a manner that supersedes the Old Testament legal requirements of the law presented to Israel. People who wish to deny this truth often contend that the word "covenant' has no significant meaning.
The 1966 photo of the gay activist picketing displays a sign reading, "Homosexuals should be judged as individuals." According to scripture, it is the word of God that will judge all men, not people. And, in the mean time, Christians are to offer love and truth, not hatred and condemnation. And there are many examples of Christians who had lived a gay lifestyle who have come to recognize God's true plan for their lives. The Apostle Paul described this phenomenon in the early church:
"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor [a]effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." - I Corinthians 6:9-11 (NASB)
A 1980 study in the American Journal of Psychiatry outlines eleven men who were former homosexuals that became heterosexuals "without explicit treatment and/or long-term psychotherapy" through their participation in a Pentecostal church. The study is titled, "Ex-Gays": Religiously mediated change in homosexuals"
Michael Glatz is a Christian ex-gay activist who has described his experiences in an autobiographical account.
Photo is non-copyright - Barbara Gittings picketing the White House in 1965, photo taken by Kay Tobin Lahusen
Tags: Homosexuality and Old Testament - New Testament, hermeneutics and homosexuality