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John Piper on homosexuality

"John Piper on homosexuality" Continued...

Step 1: Human beings exchange God for what God has made; we prefer the creature to the Creator.

Step 2: God hands us over to what we prefer.

Step 3: We act out externally and bodily in our sexual relations a dramatization of the internal, spiritual condition of the fallen human soul, namely, the horrendous exchange of God for man and the images of our power.

Walk with me through the text. I will show you the three times that Paul gives us this sequence of thought.

First time through the three-fold sequence: verses 23-34

Step 1: “They exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man …” (verse 23).

Step 2: “Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity” (verse 24).

Step 3: “… so that their bodies would be dishonored among them” (end of verse 24). In response to the rejection of God’s glory as their treasure, God wills that there be a disordering of their bodily life in dishonorable deeds. He hands them over to impurity “so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.” The sexual disordering of the human race is a judgment of God for our exchanging him for the creature—all of us.

Second time through the same steps: verses 25-27

Step 1: “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen” (verse 25). This parallels verse 23: They exchanged the glory of God for images. The “truth of God” is that he is glorious and to be desired above all things. The “lie” preferred by us humans is that the creature is more desirable than God.

Step 2: “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions” (verse 26). That parallels verse 24: “God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity.”

Step 3: “… for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts” (verses 26b-27). That corresponds to verse 24b: “… so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.” So the dishonoring of the body that Paul had in mind in verse 24 is specifically homosexual behavior. And notice carefully, now we can say more specifically than in the first sequence of thought: The sexual disordering of the human race, especially homosexuality (but not only homosexuality) is a judgment of God for our exchanging the truth of God for a lie.

Third time through the same three-fold sequence: verse 28

Step 1: “They did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer” (verse 28). That corresponds to verses 23 and 25: They exchanged the glory of God for images and they exchanged the truth of God for a lie. Here: They simply don’t want God in their knowledge any more.

Step 2: “God gave them over to a depraved mind” (verse 28b). That corresponds to verse 24, “God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity,” and verse 26, “God gave them over to degrading passions.” This was God’s response to the universal exchange of God for the creature.

Step 3: “[He gave them over …] to do those things which are not proper” (verse 28c). That corresponds to verse 24b: “… so that their bodies would be dishonored among them,” and to verses 26b-27, where the women and the men are pursuing homosexual relations. So homosexual behavior is parallel with dishonoring the body and doing what is not proper.

Conclusions

Now let me close with four brief concluding statements:

1. The deepest problem of our lives, whether heterosexual or homosexual, is the terrible exchange of the glory of God for images (verse 23). The exchange of the truth of God for a lie (verse 25). The disapproval of having God in our knowledge (verse 28). Failed worship is our worst disorder. This is beneath all the maladies of the world. Repairing this, not first our disordered sexuality, is our main business in life.

2. The sexual disordering of our lives, most vividly seen in homosexuality (though not only there), is the judgment of God upon the human race because we have exchanged the glory of God for other things. Sometimes people ask, “Is AIDS the judgment of God on homosexuality?” The answer from this text is: Homosexuality itself is a judgment on the human race, because we have exchanged the glory of God for the creature—and so is AIDS and cancer and arthritis and Alzheimer’s and every other disease and every other futility and misery in the world, including death. That’s the point of Romans 5:15-18 and Romans 8:20-23, which we looked at when talking about Romans 1:18.

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