The laws of ancient Israel were part of the Sinai covenant, radiating out from the 'Ten Words'. They were to show Israel as separate from other nations and holy to Yahweh. The law was Israel's instruction and guidance in living as moral and ethical witnesses to the other nations (of course, time and time again the people failed). The food laws found in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 formed one aspect of Torah and as well as separating Israel they also protected Israel's health (

In time God promised a new covenant with Israel which would ultimately incorporate non-Jews (Jeremiah 31:33; Acts 11:18) and this came through Jesus. He always insisted that he had not come to abolish but to fulfill the law and that the law would continue to be valid. But now that the New Covenant would include Gentiles aspects of the law specific to Israel would no longer apply and the main stumbling block between Jew and Gentile was food.

One could say that homosexuality, which was a common practice in the Roman world, would also have been a stumbling block between Jews, who would have been repulsed by it and Romans who practised it as a matter of course. Yet Jesus does not revise this particular law or any others concerning sexual deviation. Instead he re-emphasised the importance of a monogamous, heterosexual relationship (Mark 10:6-9). It is interesting to read in the context of Jesus' pronouncement on food:
" ... there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man. ...whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.) ...That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. “All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” (Mark 7:14-23).

Now included in this list of things which defile a person is fornication which is an umbrella term for every kind of unlawful or unnatural sex, including homosexuality. Paul gives us an explanation for the proscription on homosexuality. It is 'unnatural' and against the created order (Romans 1:26-27). It is a desire to practise impurity and a degrading or abusing of one's body v.24. A twisting of God's truth into a lie (v.25) and flawed thinking leading to improper things (v.28). Even though known to be repulsive to God they continue to do it and enthusiastically encourage and approve others who do it (v.32). As Paul goes on to say, God is not partial to anyone (2:11) but he will judge all by the law which is in our hearts and shown by conscience (2:13-16). Without Christ, all are unrighteous and under God's judgement (3:10-25). God's grace on the basis of Christ's sacrifice, saves and justifies us but as with every covenant, it is a two way agreement. Repentance, a changing of mind and lifestyle is required (12:2). Believers are no longer
obliged to follow their baser desires, and indeed should not give in to them (8:12-14).

In 1 Timothy 1:8 Paul says that the law is good if used correctly. The law was made for the unrighteous (v.9) and the unrighteous include homosexuals (v.10) and when writing to the Corinthians he states that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9) and to include all angles that includes homosexual 'takers' and 'receivers' (v.9). Paul does not then say to the Corinthians , 'Such ARE some of you' but 'Such WERE some of you' (v.11). There is hope in Christ for all, including gay people but on God's terms not ours.