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John Piper on homosexuality, Part 2

"John Piper on homosexuality, Part 2" Continued...

The root of all our problems in this world is that the human race has exchanged the glory of God for other things and that God has handed us over to bear the fruit of this exchange in ten thousand troubles—all of which should call us to repentance and worship rather than rebellion and atheism. And when I say all our problems, I really mean all. I mentioned last week that even our physical diseases and our natural calamities are owing to God’s judgment on creation for our exchange of his glory for other things.

What if There Were Genetic Origins for Sexual Disorder?

This is crucial for dealing with the origins of homosexuality. I don’t think anyone knows for sure what the physical components of homosexuality are. But what if genetic origins were found? What would this imply about the morality and fitness of the behavior? Very little, if nature itself is disordered and in need of redemption. So let’s look at this matter more closely this morning.

Consider Romans 8:20-23, “The creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope.” Notice that all of creation has been subjected to futility: things don’t work the way they were originally designed to work. Winds, rains, rivers, volcanoes, bacteria, viruses, Swiss Air jet electrical wiring, brake linings, heart-attacks of 86-year-old men driving through a crosswalk while a blind student crosses the street, wild white blood cells, trisomy of the 21st chromosome, and ten-thousand heartaches from a fallen world—the creation was subjected to futility.

By whom? Verse 20 says, “By Him who subjected it in hope.” That’s not man and not Satan, but God. God subjected the world to futility “in hope.” All the futility of this world is meant to waken us to the horrors of exchanging the glory of God for other things and to make us rely not on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead (2 Corinthians 1:8-9) and restores the glory (Romans 8:18-19).

Keep reading. Verses 21-22: “… that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption (= futility) into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.” Paul pictures the miseries and futilities and pains of creation as childbirth before the resurrection when all the pain of our disordered bodies and sexuality will be replaced with glory of God among his people.

And Paul even addresses the crying question that we raised last week: But surely, if all this misery and disorder and dysfunction in the world is owing to God’s judgment—his handing us over to the outworking of our ungodliness—then would he not lift the misery and the disorder and the dysfunction and the pain from his children who repent and believe the gospel? He gives his answer in verse 23: “And not only this [that is, not only does the “whole creation groan”] but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.”

The answer is: No, God does not deliver his people all at once from the futility of this fallen, judged creation. He turns the effects of judgment into the means of grace for his people (Romans 8:28). And he saves us in stages. “Having been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved” (Romans 5: 9-10). We have forgiveness for sin now; we will have freedom from all sinning later. We have reconciliation with God now; we will have complete intimacy later. We have the first fruits and the down payment of the Holy Spirit now; we will have the full harvest of his power and presence later. We have some healing now (from our sexual disorders!); we will have full wholeness later. We see his beauty through a glass darkly now, later we will see face-to-face. We have peace with God now; we will have perfection later. That’s the meaning of Romans 8:23.

What is “Natural”? The point of all this is that, whatever the physical or social or personal origins of the homosexual disordering of our sexuality, none of that would define it as good or “natural” or “normal.” In a world where God is the Creator and Designer of life, “natural” means in sync with God’s purpose and design, not just anything that has physical causes. Having a physical root makes nothing right. Physically based, aggressive tendencies may lead to violent behavior, but we don’t condone it. Physically based lethargic tendencies may lead to laziness and neglect, but we don’t condone it. Frenetic tendencies may lead to disruption and workaholism. A gloomy bent may lead to suicidal thoughts. An anxious bent may lead to paranoia. Addictive tendencies may lead to alcoholism or bondage to gambling or deadly smoking. A low frustration threshold may lead to outbursts of rage. Strong sexual desires may lead to lust or pornography or fornication or adultery or polygamy.

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