This past week we start a video series on The Church and Homosexuality with David Whiting (watch the video HERE). While we don't talk about this topic all the time, we want to think through what the Bible says and our response to the culture. One question that came up in the video was do the Old Testament Laws that talk about Homosexuality apply today?
When someone asks a question like this, I would try to start a dialogue that opens up to the real question that is being asked, which is not about homosexuality per say, but about the real question at the heart which is; "What Old Testament Laws still apply today." I generally answer that this way:
There is nothing in the New Testament that indicated the MORAL LAWS of the Old Testament no longer apply to us. Matt. 5:17, Matt.22:39 (Jesus is quoting Lev. 19), 1 Cor. 5:1 (Paul's argument comes from Lev. 18, which talks about homosexuality in the list).
Ultimately Jesus, Paul, & Peter repeated Levitical Moral Laws that still apply to us. So we can't just throw out all the OT Laws
Some questions to ask when thinking about the other types of laws and their consequences
1. Is the law repeated in the NT?
If so then it still applies (as seen above)
2. Is it a law about food?
Mark 7:18-19 - Jesus declares all food clean, Acts 10 - Food Laws no longer apply
3. Is it a law about a ceremony or sacrifice?
Col. 2:16-17 - Those laws were there to point towards Christ, so since Christ has come, they fulfilled their purpose and no longer apply
4. Is it a civil law for the nation of Israel?
Rom. 7:4-6 - We have been released from the law and we serve in the new way of the spirit (This is in essence the argument of the book of Galatians, particularly Gal. 3:23-25). We are no longer under the obligation to follow these laws (Old Covenant) Heb. 8:13. We are not a nation as Christians, but something different (Gal. 3:26-28), a body made up of peoples, races, genders all in Christ. A lot of the moral laws had civil penalties attached to them (as seen in Deut. 22), and the nation of Israel under the old covenant was to represent God. That nation was made up of believer and non-believers, so one of the uses God used the civil laws for (besides how you handle disputes in a normal society) was to show his people and the world around them his view of the moral law and sin. The nation as a whole was supposed to be representing God. The law was never meant to bring us righteousness, but it showed us how much we fall short of righteousness and that we needed God (Rom. 3:20-24) (Now that we are under the new covenant, God does not have a nation, but the universal church, which is made up of all Holy Spirit indwelling people in every nation. We are now to follow our civil laws in our nation (Rom 13) so long as it does not go against God (Acts 4:19). So all that being said, God's civil laws were designed for a nation under the old covenant and we have been freed to a new covenant that does not require certain civil laws.
A word of encouragement if you are faced with people asking you question on this. I always try to think through Titus 3:1-3
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone. At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.
This gives us as Christians a grid for how we should respond to those with whom we disagree. The passage basically highlights that HOW YOU SAY WHAT YOU SAY IS AS IMPORTANT AS WHAT YOU SAY in these conversations.