Homosexuality and Adultery: Which is the Greater Sin?

Homosexuality and Adultery!

Which is the Greater Sin?

Richard Hollerman

Most of us have some idea about the wrongfulness of homosexuality as well as adultery. Both of these are sinful in the sight of God. Yet we persist in calling homosexuality sinful while we consider adultery to be somewhat of a lesser sin. We may even consider it acceptable.

Maybe our willingness to differentiate homosexuality from adultery comes from the fact that the former involves a perversion of sexuality. The latter, while also sinful, is somehow more normal in our eyes. This may be true on one level of thinking but there seems to be something basically wrong with this approach.

When someone commits homosexuality—whether in the imagination, the body, in any other way—he sins (see Romans 1:24-27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Further, when one divorces his wife (or a woman divorces her husband), then remarries, he commits adultery and this too is sinful. (See Mark 10:11-12; Matthew 19:3-15; Luke 16:18; Romans 7:2-3). Since unrepented sin has a clear outcome, we must conclude that the guilty and unrepentant homosexual and adulterer are both guilty before the Lord God.

Since both homosexuality and adultery are equally sinful, they both bring “death”—spiritual and eternal death (Romans 6:23; James 5:19-20). Both the adulterer and the homosexual grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). Both violate the clear will of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) and pervert the good gift of sex that God gives to His creatures.

Why then does society tend to “look down on” the homosexual (the sodomite) while often condoning the adulterer (and the fornicator)? Probably in America, homosexuality has always been considered a despicable sin and one that is considered a perversion, but what about adultery? A hundred or a hundred and fifty years ago, adultery was seldom condoned at all by respectable people. Anyone with a degree of understanding of the Scriptures knew that it was wrong and sinful for a man to divorce his wife and marry another person and wrong and sinful for a woman to divorce her husband and marry another man. Thus society, in general, did not approve of adultery in any form.

But what was once seldom committed slowly but surely began to be practiced more and more frequently. Then the “no fault” provision was introduced and accepted. This “opened the door” wide for more and more divorce to occur, and even society came to largely accept this sin for what it was and is—adultery. Even churches came to accept this sin to a large degree and today few churches are free from divorced members.

With the Bible being thrown out as a standard in American society, with fewer people accepting the Bible view of sexual sin, and with adultery being considered acceptable in an “enlightened” age, people came to accept divorce as an acceptable way of ending divorce and soon accepted adultery as an acceptable sin since the divorce seemed to make remarriage and consequent adultery more permissible.

Today, with many decades of looking on adultery (and even homosexuality) as permissible in society, few people look on these sins as actually sinful. They may conclude that they are “unfortunate” consequences of modern culture but few people will actually assert what the Word of God does—that both of these sins are actually sinful and will eternally condemn one unless he or she repents of it (2 Peter 3:9).

It may be that one of these sins (probably homosexuality) is generally looked on with disfavor and some elements of society still condemn the sin and those who perpetrate it. But it would seem that very few will take a Biblical stand and actually condemn these sins any more. However  both of them continue to be an offense against God and will bring one to alienation from God here and eternal condemnation after the present life ends. Is either of these increasingly popular sins worth the spiritual and eternal consequences that will surely come on those who are guilty? Please don’t be among those who deliberately offend the living God and choose a public sin that brings His judgment!

Regardless of the number of people accepting one or both of these sins, they remain wrong. And regardless of the wrongfulness of homosexuality or adultery, these sins should be considered immoral and unacceptable for the Christian at all times. We think that there is a disconnect here—even hypocrisy. Some people who profess Christ seem to want to condemn homosexuality (of whatever name—sodomy, lesbianism, etc.) while almost accepting adultery.

And then there are some people and whole churches who would warn against adultery but, once it has been committed, they would say that it is permissible for one to remarry. At one time it would have been considered immoral and adulterous for a remarriage to occur, but this often is overlooked in our day. Whole churches may come to accept the remarried and say that God is compassionate and forgiving, thus those who are remarried after an unacceptable divorce, may continue in fellowship.

But Scripture condemns both of these sins! In Romans 1:24-32 both sodomy and adultery (along with fornication) are considered sinful and both are “worthy of death” (v. 32). In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10) both adulterers and homosexuals will be excluded from the kingdom of God. In 1 Timothy 1:10, both homosexuals and the immoral (fornicators) commit sins that are “contrary to sound teaching.”  Immorality of all kinds (whether homosexuality or adultery, etc.) are condemned in Ephesians 5:3-12 and Colossians 3:5-10. Hebrews 13:4 says that “God will judge” the fornicator and the adulterer (and remember that homosexuality is a form of immorality). Thus, we can see that we must avoid both homosexuality and adultery. Let’s not favor one sin before the other.

Much in our discussion above pertains to the United States but we realize that this would constitute only about four (4) percent of the world population. Europe is far more immoral than America is—with many countries openly accepting both adultery and homosexuality. South America may be somewhat more conservative but increasingly even there these sins are condoned. Asia, without a firm base in Scripture, may also allow for some adultery and homosexuality. In Africa the situation is somewhat different. While adultery is quite widespread, most Africans do condemn homosexuality and see this sin as perversion. In Islamic lands, homosexuality is often condemned, whereas divorce seems to be greatly acceptable (whether people avail themselves of this or not). So we just ask you to apply this article as fully as you can in your own area of the world.

[Note: some would say that there is a Biblical “exception” for adultery, thus God would accept divorce granted on the basis of the unrepentant adultery of a man’s wife—Matthew 19:9. This question, however, is beyond the purview of this present article.]

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