“I just can’t believe He would object to two people loving each other, no matter the gender,” said she – let’s call her Nancy, in a nod to detective extraordinaire Nancy Drew. “If He is love, how could He condemn a loving, committed, monogamous relationship?”
I totally get the question; I asked it myself early on in my Christian walk. In fact, I studied it out years ago, concluding that the Bible undoubtedly condemns sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman; you really have to twist it to come to any other conclusion.
I tried to answer Nancy’s question, drawing upon various scriptural truths to do so, and attempting to explain how such anti-biblical lifestyles (and here I include the “free love” heterosexual lifestyle that my generation pioneered back in the ‘60s) prevent us from even turning to the word of God, let alone accepting and obeying it, and blah blah blah.
I don’t think she was convinced. No surprise there: I was relying on my fuzzy recall of a subject I’d studied in some depth, but long ago. But she was gracious, and said she’d think about it.
Fast forward to last night, as I continued an Old Testament study of 1 Kings. Imagine my surprise to encounter a passage that answered Nancy’s question in just ten words – one I’d read a dozen times before without once having an “aha!” moment.
This particular passage cites the Lord’s command to the children of Israel to refrain from intermarrying with other nations, for one very simple reason:
“Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” (1 Kings 11:2b)
We go on to learn that this is precisely what happened to Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived: He wound up with 700 wives and princesses and 300 concubines, clinging “to these in love.”
The modern mind asks how God could object to this behavior, as long as Solomon loved these women.
The answer begins in verse 4: “For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods: and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David.” We learn further that he “did evil in the sight of God,” building for his wives temples to worship “abominations” from Chemosh to Molech. And we learn that this was why the Lord later divided the nation of Israel into northern and southern kingdoms, ultimately leading to many centuries of national dormancy.
There you go: sexual sin, like all the rest, turns our hearts away from the living God. And there are consequences, both temporal and eternal.
As Ray Comfort said in his comment on this passage, “Solomon had incredible wisdom and yet lust turned his head from God to women, and then (predictably) to idolatry to accommodate his sin” (The Evidence Bible, p. 456).
In other words, when we give ourselves over to our rebellions of choice, we invariably design for ourselves a god who approves of them.
This is a devastating problem on so many levels.
For instance, from the viewpoint of this life, most of us know, in our heart of hearts, when we are rebelling against God. After all, He has written His law on our hearts. And until our hearts become too hardened to hear, our consciences nag us relentlessly whenever we break that law; our imaginary gods don’t really fool us. But rather than turning to the true God in repentance, most of us instead try to drown our consciences in alcohol or drugs, or work or hobbies or interests that dominate our thoughts every waking hour.
Bottom line: we harden our hearts by turning to everyone and everything but the living God, and so find no true peace in this life. The only comfort we find is in silencing our consciences.
Worse, we find no forgiveness for our sin, and no salvation – which is why embracing sin and idolatry is eternally tragic. It’s not that the Lord is some sort of cosmic, prudish killjoy; it’s that pursuing sin causes us to turn from Him. And the Bible makes it clear: Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
No Jesus, no heaven. And according to the demonstrably true Bible, there’s only one alternative.
It’s not that we have to clean up our acts to gain entry into heaven; we cannot. Thankfully, Jesus did it for us; He paid the penalty for our sins on the cross, so that anyone who repents and trusts in His sacrifice is given His righteousness, and will spend eternity in heaven with Him.
So here’s the very simple answer I should have given Nancy when she asked how God could object to monogamous marital sex, whatever the genders may be: God objects because “Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.”