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John Piper

John Piper on homosexuality, Part 2

Homosexuality | More ‘brilliant exposition’ from Romans, with helpful biblical counsel for homosexuals and parents

“Brilliant exposition” wrote one commenter about the Oct. 11, 1998, sermon by John Piper we posted last Saturday. Well, Piper the following Sunday, Oct. 18, 1998, preached again on homosexuality, and we’re posting it below because so many Christians are hungry for biblical teaching that does not give in before one of today’s most powerful political juggernauts. 

Piper’s text once again was Romans 1:24–28, which reads as follows:

“Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; 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 and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.

Now, Piper. — Marvin Olasky

Seeing God at the Center

I confess that my main aim in these two messages is not to persuade you that homosexual behavior is wrong. It is wrong. But you can believe that and not be a Christian. So what does it profit a man if he knows everything that’s wrong, and loses his own soul? My aim is much higher than to persuade you that there are many sexual disorders in the world—both homosexual and heterosexual. My aim is to transform the way you see Reality, and to put the glory of God back at the center, like the sun in the solar system of sexuality (and everything else) that holds all the planets of our passions in their proper order. When you exchange the sun for a man-made satellite all the planets leave their orbit and head for oblivion.

The murder of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming, was committed by men who had exchanged the centrality of God’s glory for the satellite of self-exaltation. And self-exaltation or self-determination over against God cannot hold the planets of passion in their orbit. I learned this from verses 28 and 29. Look at them with me. Romans 1:28-29a: “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, (29) being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder. …”

There it is. Where does murder come from? It comes from this: “They did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer.” Or as verse 23 says, “They exchanged the glory of God for images”—in this case money and hateful power. Or as verse 25 says, “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie.”

The Root of All Our Disorders, and God’s Judgment

We saw this in the text last week. The root of all our disorders—sexual and social and physical and emotional—is the exchange of the glory of God for other things. The solar system of our soul and our society was made to orbit around the glory of God as its all-controlling sun. And the entire human race has exchanged the glory of God for weightless, substitute satellites that have no gravity and can hold nothing in its proper orbit. Therefore all the world is disordered and decaying and moving toward destruction.

But we saw something even more stunning last week from this text. This disorder and decay in our lives and in our society and in our universe is the judgment of God, and is meant by him to be seen as a terrible drama of a horrific underlying spiritual evil. We saw this three times. After each statement that we have exchanged God for other things (verses 23, 25, 28), it says, God therefore hands us over to our depravity so that our soul and our society disintegrate into all sorts of evil deeds and dreadful diseases and death and destruction.

For example, verse 24: “Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.” Verse 26: “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions.” And here in verses 26-27 he details homosexual behavior as one outworking of these degrading disorders. Then verse 28b: “God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.” And here in the following three verses (29-31), he details twenty-one other outworkings of a depraved mind. No one escapes here. Homosexual, heterosexual, male, female, old, young, religious, irreligious—all of us are under the sway of a depraved mind. As Romans 3:9-10 says, “Both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one.”

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