Anyone who has read Scripture knows there are several laws that exist within Christianity. In fact, there are over 600 commandments that are given throughout the entirety of Scripture. Whereas not all of these apply to Christians, who are under the new covenant law, there still remains plenty of laws we are to follow. We are to love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind (Mt. 22:37) We are not to commit murder, theft, idolatry, or bear false witness (Mk. 10:19). And we are to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mt. 22:38). These are laws that we’re all generally aware of, and are rather easy to assent to. However, there are a variety of hard pills to swallow that Christianity also prescribes.
There can be moments when we read Scripture and are challenged with one of God’s mandates, and we find ourselves asking “Does the Bible really say that?”
This questioning is often the result of a cultural “truth” being confronted with one of God’s truths.
There are many things that our culture claims to be acceptable or normal, and there are many things that God has declared to be unacceptable and immoral. It’s no wonder we have so many questions about the Bible…
Therefore, I am going to address a few questions that I think are commonly questioned by individuals within the American culture. I will address the following:
- Does the Bible really say you can’t have sex before marriage?
- Does the Bible really say that homosexuality is a sin?
- Does the Bible really say that non-Christians go to hell?
Does the Bible really say you can’t have sex before marriage?
This question is a common one because it is the perfect example of a cultural “truth” coming face-to-face with God’s truth. I believe people often raise this question, not due to confusion, but because they don’t want it to be true. Nevertheless, it is an important topic that needs to be addressed.
To be straight forward, you will not find a “Hebrew or Greek word used in the Bible that precisely refers to sex before marriage.” However, in 1 Corinthians 7:2 were alluded to the condemnation of sex before marriage: “But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.”
In this passage, Paul is prescribing marriage to be the solution to sexual immorality, and he is equating sexual immorality to ‘sex before marriage.’ Additionally, the evident “each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband,” is also stated.
Aside from this passage, the meaning and purpose of marriage can be found at the beginning of Scripture; the beginning of creation.
Genesis 2:24 says “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Again, Mark 10:8 says, “‘and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.”
It is of more than passing significance that God declares the unison of marriage to be the bonding of two people into “one flesh.”
God created sex to be experienced, exclusively, within the covenant of marriage.
This is a hard pill to swallow because our culture incessantly promotes promiscuity.
Hollywood Romcoms, the music industry, and reality television are all espousing sex to be a casual encounter that should be enjoyed by all. However, it has to be understood that our culture has moved from being a once Christian nation to a post-Christian nation.
Therefore, nothing that our culture proposes to be normal should ever be taken at face value. The things that our culture advocates should always be compared to God’s Word.
God has spoken richly on this topic and has deemed pre-marital sex to be sinful. In Hebrews 13:4, marriage is held to a high standard and is not to be defiled by casual encounters: “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” God has declared judgment on pre-marital sex.
His judgment is not only received in the life after this, it is received during this life as well. It’s not curious that casual sex is evidently detrimental to the health of the human body. Chlamydia, herpes, syphilis, and HIV (the list goes on) are the result of the normalization of casual sex. Not to mention the contemporary issues of divorce and the egregious reality of abortion, that are almost always associated with premarital sex. Despite your beliefs, even “Mother Nature” is telling us that premarital sex is unnatural.
Does the Bible really say that homosexuality is a sin?
Many people are apprehensive to accept the condemnation of homosexuality because as the common argument goes: “How can homosexuality be a sin if it is rooted in love?”
This is a tough question to answer for that reason exactly. It’s a tough question because it stirs up doubt about the reality of God’s love. We say things like: “If God is so loving, then why would he condemn a relationship between two individuals who love each other?” or “Why would God disapprove of homosexuality if people are born gay?”
This topic is a controversial one indeed. I will do my best to answer it biblically. So, let’s go to Scripture.
To be upfront, God’s word has spoken about homosexuality on more than a few occasions, and always speaks towards homosexual behavior as being sinful. (Lev. 18:22; 20:13, Rom. 1:26-27, 1 Cor. 6:9-10, 1 Tim. 1:8-10)
I realize that I’ve mentioned laws from the Old Testament that regard homosexuality to be sin, and that not all Old Testament laws are still applicable. Therefore, we can cast these aside for the sake of argument.
However, in regard to the other three times that Scripture mentions homosexuality in the New Testament, the context is never positive and regards homosexuality to be sinful.
A read through this passage will tell you that God has explicitly stated that homosexuality is “unnatural,” “shameful,” and deserving of “due penalty.” This passage in Scripture also reveals that the causation behind homosexual behavior is the result of people denying God’s existence. To deny God is to deny his precepts, his truth, and his very nature. And when people continue in their sin and disbelief, God “gives them over” to their desires. Click here to read more on this commentary.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10
It is worth noting that this passage lists sexual immorality and homosexuality as being sinful. The distinction between the two is used in order to create clarity. Homosexuality is listed in this passage as being sinful, and that those who practice homosexuality “will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
1 Timothy 1:8-10
This passage also differentiates between sexual immorality and homosexuality (this distinction should be noted due the possible argument that would propose homosexuality to not be regarded as sexually immoral). The context of this passage is making an argument for the purpose of the law. It’s stated that the law is made for the lawbreakers, so that they may know the laws in which they are breaking. This passage declares a list of different crimes, to include murder, lying, and homosexuality. Homosexuality is listed among the long list of crimes that are committed by “lawbreakers.” And to break a law of God’s is to commit sin.
This is a hard pill to swallow because our culture incessantly promotes sexual fluidity.
God has deemed from the beginning of creation that man and woman were made, exclusively, for each other. The Bible says, “at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife (Mk. 10:6-7).”
God has left us with no room for confusion on the topic of homosexuality.
Does the Bible really say that non-Christians go to hell?
Jesus says in John 14:6 “I am the way, and the truth, and the light. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
This is one of the keystone verses in the Bible. It is by these words that the entirety of Scripture is held together in cohesion and purpose.
By definition, a Christian is a follower of Christ. A Christian is one who understands that it is never by their own merit or achievement that they will enter through the gates of heaven, thus they have chosen to believe in, trust, and follow Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the light.
Scripture tells us in Isaiah 64:6 that “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” It is not by anything that we can accomplish that we will pass through the gates of heaven. We have all “sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).
We have all sinned and are unworthy of inheriting the Kingdom of God. However, it is by God’s love for us that he has changed our destiny.
God does not focus his attention on condemnation, he focuses it on forgiveness. John 3:16-17 says “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
God is not a tyrant who sits in heaven and rejoices over the damnation of his lost children. He mourns over them. God went so far as to take upon the flesh and suffer the punishment of the cross just so that he could be with us. 1 Timothy 2:4 says that God “desires all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Jesus desires for all of us to be saved. Thus, he has paved the way to an eternity with him. By his own blood he has secured our salvation.
He is “the way.” He is not just a way. He is the only way. Therefore, to deny Christ is to deny heaven. A non-Christian cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.
This is a hard pill to swallow because our culture incessantly promotes absolute tolerance and cultural inclusivity.
This is not a xenophobic statement.
The truth is, there can be only one truth. To miss the truth is to be deceived, and to be deceived in this life is to spend the next life in hell. There can only be one religion that is true, and it’s Christianity.
A Christian should never condemn someone for believing in a religion other than Christianity, but that person will be mourned for if they die believing in anyone other than Christ Jesus.
We are all equal in one regard: we have all sinned, and we are all worthy of hell. It is by Christ and Christ alone that we will spend eternity in heaven. He is the only way, and the only truth, and the only light.