Why? Why Not?
Read Acts Chapter 15
Ac 15:15 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: 16 “ ‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, 17 that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear My name, says the Lord, who does these things’ 18 that have been known for ages.19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.
There are many things which were forbidden in the Old Testament which are no longer forbidden. When Christ came to earth, He gave us a new covenant which took away some of the requirements of the law. Actually, that’s not completely true in the sense that we might think. For example, the requirements regarding sacrifices were done away with – in one respect. On the other hand, Christ became the ultimate sacrifice, cancelling out the need for animal sacrifices. Another example of a change in the law is in regard to foods.
Mk 7:18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? 19 For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”)
Another example of changes to the old covenant is in regard to the stoning of homosexuals. How do we know this has changed?
1Co 6:9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. 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.
Although this passage is sufficient proof that homosexual stonings are no longer required, it does not sanction homosexual behaviors. The phrase, “that is what some of you were,” indicates that repentance is necessary in order to become a true follower of Christ.
It is difficult to rightfully discern what OT instructions are not applicable for today. We could have lengthy discussions about this. But there are some things which are clearly black and white. We can be sure that those things which were forbidden in the OT and are noted as forbidden also in the NT, remain forbidden even now. One of those which is clearly black and white is the issue of sexual immorality. Sexual sins are listed over and over in the NT as forbidden, including homosexuality. Romans chapter 1 is sure proof that homosexual behaviors remain taboo. This passage from Acts mentions that sexual immorality is still on the “don’t” list.
We can get discouraged over this. Why did Christ not remove this particular issue from the “don’t” list? We could think about that and find ourselves unhappy over the way God does things. If we entertain those kinds of thoughts, we cannot let them remain in our attitudes for long. We must dismiss them as quickly as possible. Our Lord has good reason for everything He does. We must trust that He knows best, and submit to His design.
Here is the best way to our questionable way of thinking about this. We can rejoice over the fact that God has revealed truth to us. He hasn’t done that with every SSA man and woman. You and I are especially privileged and blessed because God has included us in His circle of those who know the truth. The truth about the sinfulness of homosexual behaviors is saving our eternal souls from a horrible death – a spiritual death. We are grateful that this truth has saved our lives. Those who do not know the truth on this issue are the ones who have reason to be discouraged. But they don’t know that.
Prayer: Thank You! Forgive us for whining and complaining about the difficulty of our struggles. We know that we are gaining much, much more than we are losing. Our struggle will seem as nothing in due time. We love You for loving us enough to show us the truth.