Rom 1:24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
One of my guiding principles (in line with Dr Tan Soo Inn of Graceworks) is that we should not make the bible say something that it doesn't. But understanding what the bible says is not easy and often we fall back onto God's grace and mercy in Christ Jesus and the love commandments as a guiding principle.
The bible is not an easy book to read, especially Paul because Paul was so learned in the Old Testament and takes indirect references from it to bring meaning to his preaching in the New testament.
For me Romans 1:24-27 is clear. It may be talking about same sex acts but it was not same sex orientation or homosexuality as we know it. The acts were in a specific context of satan worship from the beginning of time where the men would have annal sex with the priest to join themselves to satan. They were not in love with each other and were not gays.
Who is the "creature" in Rom 1:24-27? It was Satan and the Satanic worship of Molech and once we understand the "therefore" in Rom 1:24 was referring to changing " ...the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.", the context and motivation of Satanic worship was very clear. If we don't see the image of a beastly birdlike/creepy idol of Molech here, we should change bible college.
Paul was launching a verbal and rather sarcastic attack on the legalistic Jews in Rome. He was insulting their ancestors by referring to the beginning of time when they had strayed to worship Satan and the men had sex with the male priests who had castrated themselves as part of the religious faith.
Paul was insulting the legalistic Jews by saying how foolish they were and laughing at them indirectly (by the actions of their ancestors!)for castrating themselves. In essence Paul was saying that religious law leads to such idol worship but grace is of Christ, the saviour.
He was denigrating the "holiness" of the Jews who had declared their righteousness from the Law and being the children of Abraham. Therefore, Paul went back to the time of Abraham, to show how unrighteous the Jews were. Grace was needed and not the law.
For the Jews kept mentioning their righteousness was simply obtained through Abraham. Paul was so perturbed by their defence that he was essentially saying "what lineage do you have when your ancestors in Abrahams' time keep castrating themselves ... to worship satan".
And any learned bible scholar who knows the Jewish religious history and Roman culture whould immediately knew what Paul was talking about!
The prevailing worship in Rome of the Syrian goddess Cybele was both male and female with a bearded face and a big breast. The male priests who serve the cults were castrated to mark the mourning of Cybele’s androgynous lover Attis. His death would be re-enacted by cutting themselves with stones, castrating themselves and putting on women's clothing.
Catherine Kroeger in “The Apostle Paul and the Greco-Roman cults Of Women” found in the Journal of the Evangelical Society details how these cults were often marked by gruesome sex exchanges.
Hence, it was a choice for the male priests to exchange their natural sexual orientation, to become a "women", and what Paul said was shameful was their role as the receipient of anal sex by the men who worship this goddess having now the role of a woman. By having sex with the castrated priests, the worshippers were having sex with the deity behind it, thus joined to the deity in one body and spirit.
Sex exchange was the personification of evil for Paul because it was an attack on God's order of nature, and undermines and distorts God's creation of man in His image. The deities were mocking God's creation by influencing the male priests to harm themselves and make themselves less than human or less than a man by being castrated.
The Righteousness of worshipping Christ was contrasted to the unrighteousness of worshiping demonic beings in the form of idols (Rom 1:17, to 1:23). They were exchanging the "glory of God" to the image of corruptible objects such as birds, bulls, calfs, and snakes.
When Paul went back to the beginning of time (Rom 1:20-22), for the Jew, it was a poingnant reminder of the worship by ancient Jews of Egyptians and Cannanite gods where they worship the god molech and sacrificed to it.
The god Molech just as the goddess Cybele in Rome was very sexual in nature requiring its male priests to be castrated and "become" a woman so that they could be the receipient of the anal sex from the straight men and wear women's clothing. They had to, for these were macho straight men who only had sex with women.
In Rom 2:1, Paul was hinting that the Jews practised the same unrighteous actions for their ancestors had done so.
Paul was quoting the prophet Jeremiah (Jer 2:7, 2:11) and reminded the Jews how they had not changed and had continued to worship idols just like their forefathers even though claiming to worship God.
Jesus was sarcastic when he said in Matt 19:12, " ... and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake".
It was not the Kingdom of God but the Kingdom of Satan. The disciples were all laughing out loud. Gays were natural in their same sex orientation but the Satanic priests were unnatural and were counterfeits. In the back of the minds of the disciples, castration means the temple pagan priests.
What a joke that Jesus said - "Making themselves eunuchs or castrating themselves for .... For "heaven's" sake". It is certaintly not Jesus' kind of heaven but a dig at the religious pharisees and their law minded ancestors.
Why was it such a ridiculous joke --- for it was saying that the Pharisees should castrate themselves for heaven's sake so that they could be more holy and not engage in having the many wives and divorcing them at will. The context of Mat 19 was after all about the Pharisees and their adultery/divorce.
Jesus was saying that the Pharisees should be like the temple pagan priests to castrate themselves to make them more holy to avoid the sin of adultery! so that they will not be naturally attracted to women!
Jesus interlinked or contrasted divorce and being gay (natural eunuchs born as such from their mothers womb) - because in being gay you can never have divorce because you are never attracted or distracted by another women which the married men were having a difficulty to restrain themselves.
When we stand on Law instead of grace, we often ended up doing the works of Satan. And this is happening to churches who insist on the law against gays. Ironically, by emphasising on law, it will lead to lawlessness. When we emphasise on Grace, it will lead us to Jesus.