Non-specifics Does Not Mean Silence

One of the fundamental rules when studying the Bible is context. When interpreting Scripture, context is king; unfortunately, this rule is often neglected.

Recently, someone wrote to me concerning one of my former posts. Without going into all the details, this person told me that Jesus never talked about homosexuality or condemned sensuality. This is not the first time I have had someone tell me this. Now, let’s be clear, although Jesus does not identify each form of immorality specifically, this does not mean that He is silent on them. Without touching on every aspect, Jesus does clearly teach what God designed for human sexuality, and anything that strays from this is sin.

Let us go back to context. When Jesus was teaching on earth, His primary audiences were Jews who were familiar with the Old Testament. They would have been familiar with Leviticus 20, which condemns men sleeping with other men’s wives, or their father’s wives, their daughter-in-laws, or with other men, or a mother and daughter, or an animal (v. 10-16). We do not read of Jesus touching on each of these individually, but He did not need to. He says enough.

Jesus makes it clear of His complete support of both the teachings and trustworthiness of the Scriptures.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. ~ Matthew 5:17-19

Just several verses later He gets to the root of adultery,

You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. ~ Matthew 5:27-28

Later, Jesus gets straight to God’s design for human sexuality:

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” ~ Matthew 19:3-6

Jesus does not condone homosexuality anymore than He does adultery. He does not treat lightly lust within our hearts anymore than He does unmarried couples shacking up. This might be offensive to many, but Jesus’ never seeks to cater to our feelings. He came to bring us truth (which often is offensive) and redemption. 

No, Jesus is not silent where other parts of Scripture declare plainly. To say He never spoke against homosexuality or sensuality as a means to justify these, consider this: He does not openly talk about rape or molestation. But reading through the Gospels it is clear He condemns these, as well.

Understand, God’s love for sinners is real. Good thing, since each one of us is a sinner. But His hatred toward our sins is just as intense as His love for us. In any case, we must realize Jesus’ silence does not mean He condones behaviors. Furthermore, even when He is quite explicit, is one willing to yield to Him? In truth, He is not silent. The real question is this: Are we willing to hear and obey?

Why Study the Word? (Part 1)

Spiritual disciplines (e.g., prayer, Bible study, etc.) are not about having fun and enjoyment but are about transformation, gaining wisdom and discernment, and knowing God. This is a difficult, and sometimes painful, process. For the past fifty years or so the church has tried to compete with the world in entertainment, but take it from one whose obsession was once to be a drummer of a metal band and tour the world, the world will always develop better entertainment and throw bigger parties. However, the world will never excel in love, joy, wisdom, or authentic purpose.

We are told in the Scriptures,

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. ~ 2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV)

We are told to “be diligent” for the purpose of “rightly dividing the word of truth.” If one can rightly handle the Scriptures, he can also wrongly handle them. We are later warned “that in the last days perilous times will come” (2 Tim. 3:1, NKJV). What will this look like?

For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money … lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. ~ 2 Timothy 3:2, 4-5 (ESV)

The apostle Paul tells us plainly that those who truly desire to be godly in Christ will experience persecution of various kinds, while evil men and false teachers will increase (see 2 Tim. 3:12-13). Paul goes on to tell us the benefit and the Source of the Scriptures:

You have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. ~ 2 Timothy 3:15-17

Did you catch these? The Scriptures are able to make you wise, and all Scripture is breathed out by God. The apostle Peter tells us in his second epistle,

Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. ~ 2 Peter 1:20-21

If our faith and devotion to Jesus Christ is genuine, then we must be serious students of His Word. Paul further warns us:

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. ~ 2 Timothy 4:3-4

I believe we have entered this time of which the apostle speaks, as many who profess to be Christians are downplaying, even bringing into question, the Word of God and following after the whims of their feelings and emotions. Many treat the Scriptures like a great buffet, picking the parts they like and refusing the rest. Or else treating them as if truth changes like styles and trends.

There is nothing inherently wrong with entertainment, fun, or feelings; however, it is too easy for us to waste hours amusing ourselves, yet barely give time to God and His Word. Likewise, it is too easy to be swayed by our own feelings while rejecting God’s objective and absolute truth. No, being diligent in studying His Word is not always fun, and it does go against our sinful biases. Nevertheless, as the days become increasingly evil as the Word of God foretells, we must become more diligent if we would become wise and discerning in these perilous times.