I Timothy 1 Devotional
by Pastor Mark Hudson
In this chapter, we see a list that occurs in other parts of the New Testament. These are called vice lists. “There are at least eight vice lists in the New Testament (Mk 7:21-22; Rom 1:24-31; 13:13; I Cor6:9-10; Gal 5:19-20; Col. 3:5-9; I Tim 1:9-10; Rev 21:8), (Kevin DeYoung, , 2015 What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality p. 74). I would like to focus on this list and especially on homosexuality.
These lists remind us that not everyone will enter the kingdom of heaven. Some sins keep you from heaven. God lovingly points out these sins. Saying these sins are wrong and provoke God’s wrath is not hate speech but love speech. To explain and teach what God so clearly says in His Word is a loving and responsible act.
For us, the issue comes down to Biblical authority. We care about what the Bible says more than anything else. While we care about the feelings of people, their struggles and temptations, our concern and our eyes are on the Scriptures. We submit to the Scriptures not to the culture. That is a serious statement that could mean the death or permanent unemployment for some in the future even in our country. But this is nothing more than what Christians everywhere and at all times believe. We may have to pay the price for these beliefs.
Let’s look at these lists. In this same quote from DeYoung, he continues commenting on the vice lists. . . . “and sexual immorality is included in every one of these. In fact, in seven of the eight lists, there are multiple references to sexual immorality (e.g. impurity, sensuality, orgies, men who practice homo-sexuality) and in most of the passages some kind of sexual immorality heads the list. You would be hard-pressed to find a sin more frequently, more uniformly, and more seriously condemned in the New Testament than sexual sins” (Ibid.)
There is one sin that attracts the most attention in our day: homosexuality. Because of that, this devotion will devote this space to that sin. What word does Paul use for homosexuality? The word in I Tim 1:10 is ἀρσενοκοίταις which comes from two Greek words arsen (men) and Koite (bed [in a sexual usage]). You could use the term ‘bedders of men’ or “those who take males to bed” (Kevin DeYoung. p. 63).
This Greek word probably comes from Lev 18:22, where the Scripture says, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman.” See also Lev 20:13 “. . . whoever shall lie with a male as with a woman.” In Lev 20:13, the LXX or the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the words man and bed appear in this order (arsenos koiten). When Paul used the word ἀρσενοκοίταις, it appears the words in Lev 18:22 are the origins of this word. In fact, all Paul has to do is remove the space between the two words in Lev 20:13 and he has the word he used in I Tim 1:10 “men who practice homosexuality.”
What else does the Bible say about homosexuality? Homosexuality always provokes God’s wrath. It is a different level of sexual immorality and a lower level of perversion. In I Cor 6:9, “Do not be deceived . .. men who practice homosexuality . . . will not inherit the kingdom of God. You could edit the verse the same way I have to include the other sins and you would be justified.
However, liars or perjurers do not attempt to redefine the family. The homosexual movement is a direct assault on the family. Has any movement come close to redefining marriage, the family, and what constitutes human sexuality? And where once the homosexual movement wanted entry into “normal” society now many do not just want an allowance to do as they please, they are increasingly more and more intolerant. We are seeing what D. A Carson calls the intolerance of tolerance.
The sad truth is very few people realize that God is angry over sexual immorality. In Romans 1, there are two revelations. One is the gospel revealed in the Bible, the other is God’s righteous wrath. “17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unright-eousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”
In the three levels of seriousness of sin, in the last and most serious level, vs. 26-27, we come to the most rebellious sin: homosexuality. This sin is a wrath-provoking sin. God promises wrath as I Th. 4:6 say, “. . . the Lord is an avenger in all these things.”
You can tell, the Apostles made this an essential part of their teaching, “ . . . I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Gal 5:21) and in I Th 4:6, “. . . the Lord is an avenger in all these things as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you.”
Maybe we are not solemnly warning you regularly enough. Maybe we are not making it clear that not everyone will go to heaven. Maybe we do not speak clearly enough or boldly enough about the terrible, just, and righteous wrath of God.
And I hope we are offering hope, hospitality, love, and listening ears to all. But that does not mean that all can join a church without repentance. Maybe the best way for us to play a small part in repentance is to be loving, to be Biblical, and to tell the truth. May God help us to be concerned enough to equip ourselves to defend the truth that Christ has given the church. May love guide all our efforts.