Love is Love . . . Except When It’s Lust

Now that Sodom and Gomorrah Remembrance Month is in our rearview mirror, let’s talk. You were no doubt inundated on social media and TV with pro-LGBT messages like “love is love,” “love has no gender,” and “love only knows equality.” We’ve been force fed “gay pride” and “gay rights” at every turn. Everything has been bathed in rainbow colors. The queer flag has been raised across the world at U.S. embassies. This homosexual agenda is Satanic, dangerous to society, and based on numerous lies. I want to speak about the biggest of those lies today. 

People who are afflicted by homosexuality, and their vocal cheerleaders in the press and online, are laboring under a sinister delusion. They believe that homosexual lust is “love.” It’s not. It never will be. In fact, it’s impossible for homosexual lust to ever be love. You heard me correctly: There was never a homosexual who possessed true romantic love towards another homosexual – only lust.

Jesus with the woman caught in adultery

This is so for several reasons. The easiest reason to explain is that the Apostle John said that “God is love.” God is love and He has forbidden homosexuality. It is therefore a contradiction to suppose that so-called homosexual “love” comes from or is recognized by the One who is love and who also forbade homosexuality. This is basic logic. 

But if two plus two doesn’t equal four for some of you, looking at John’s teaching in context might do the trick. He explained further what love is and where it comes from: 

“[E]very spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 

“They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. 

“We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. 

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 

“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 

“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another” (1 John 4:3-11). 

Love is a gift of God. Love is linked to righteousness. Love is exemplified by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Those who are born of God, or reborn through Christ, are those who become filled with pure love. 

Those who accept Jesus Christ hear God and know the spirit of truth. Or, at least, they should be able to recognize error. Christian disciples are called to “love one another” in the same way that God loves us. Those who don’t love in this way don’t truly know God, and don’t truly love, because this type of love is God and comes from Him. So, John said, “herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 

The word “propitiation” means to appease God. Christ’s “propitiation for our sins” appeases the eternal demands of justice that come upon all of us because we have all sinned and fallen short (Romans 3:23). In return, the Son of God requires certain things of us. We can’t appease, please, or satisfy God, therefore, without following His Son Jesus Christ and living according to His teachings. 

The Lord frankly and openly taught how to receive His and our Heavenly Father’s incredible love and what it means to honestly love God: 

“If ye love me, keep my commandments. . . . 

“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. . . . 

“If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 

“He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me” (John 14:15, 21, 23-24). 

According to Jesus, true love equals obedience to God’s laws. It means honoring His teachings, keeping His commandments, and following Him down the pathway of righteousness. Only those who “keep my words,” or who sincerely try to do so, will “be loved of the Father, and I will love him.” Those who do not do the will of Christ and keep His commandments have no such promise and walk in darkness. 

Again, Christ is the exemplification of love. And what did Christ do? He said: “I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38). He later testified: “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him” (John 8:29). 

Jesus with the woman at the well

If we want to always have the spirit and presence of God, we must likewise do those things that please Him. We must do the will of the Father, which is revealed in the teachings of our Savior Jesus Christ. Long before the Son of God came into mortality, He had revealed to His ancient prophets the truth that keeping the commandments is central to the Gospel Plan. “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Of those commandments that we are duty-bound to keep, the mortal Messiah listed two as cardinal: 

“Thou shalt the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy cmind. 

“This is the first and great commandment. 

“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 

“On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40). 

Loving God is the first and highest commandment of them all. As we’ve seen, we can’t please God without following His Son Jesus Christ and following His commandments. The second great commandment is to love others – to love them in the pure and undefiled way Christ loves us. This is the type of crystalline love that led the Lord to voluntarily sacrifice Himself in Gethsemane and on the Cross. The Savior proclaimed: 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 

“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17). 

God is our Father. He doesn’t want to condemn us. He doesn’t want to punish us. He doesn’t want to lose us to that malevolent being who tempts us to follow a darker, lower, meaner path. Rather, He sent His perfect Son, Jesus Christ, to light the world with love and to show us a higher and holier way of living. He sent His son to atone for our sins, die on the Cross, and rise from the grave to prepare the path so that we who are not as perfect as He was could one day, through obedience, become “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17). 

Jesus does not give us commandments and rules in order to restrict us from having a good time, to oppress us, or to make us miserable. Quite the contrary. He said: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). As the only perfect Person to ever walk this earth, He knows what He’s talking about. 

A righteous life is an abundant life. It is a lifestyle that merits the unsurpassed love of God. It is a lifestyle that allows Heavenly light to penetrate the darkness of this world and illuminate our souls. It is a life of peace, comfort, and joy (John 13:17; John 14:18, 27). It is a life that allows the Redeemer to redeem and the Savior to save. He doesn’t require perfection before He showers us with love and spiritual gifts, but He requires our hearts and minds and our sincerest efforts to go about doing good (Acts 10:38). Loving God and loving our neighbors is fundamental to this process of Christian living.

Let’s now consider three specific reasons why homosexuality is a counterfeit of true love. 

Firstly, since the beginning of time, the Lord has defined the proper relationship between men and women. He set gender roles and sexual boundaries. He told Adam and Eve, and, by extension, all of us: “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). It was a command, therefore, for men and women to enter into the marriage covenant and “multiply.” Marriage was essential to God’s Plan and the essential part of marriage was procreation and childbearing. 

How do humans multiply? We multiple through sexual intercourse. It only works when a man and a woman are joined together as “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Men and women are spiritually designed to fit together. We are anatomically designed to fit together, too. This is for the purpose of fulfilling the command to multiply and replenish the earth and to solidify unity between the sexes. Procreation simply doesn’t work if two women or two men try it. Homosexual sex, then, is an unnatural aberration that fulfills no purpose other than lust. Thus, fulfilling the Lord’s command to multiply is something only heterosexuals are naturally capable of doing. Remember, keeping the commandments is a prerequisite to pleasing God, following His Son, and truly loving. 

Secondly, the gift of sex was given to humankind with special rules. It was only to be used between men and women and only within the confines of the marriage covenant. Anciently, the Lord told His people: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination” (Leviticus 18:22). Homosexuality was considered such an abomination, in fact, that it merited the death penalty (Leviticus 20:13). That penalty was dropped by the Lord when He came and established His Church and introduced a higher law, but He and His apostles continued to preach against homosexuality and all other forms of sexual impurity. 

Additionally, pre-marital sex was strictly forbidden. It was called in both the Old and New Testaments “fornication.” The Apostle Paul taught that “this is the will of God . . . that ye should abstain from fornication” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). Under God’s law, there is no provision for homosexual marriage. Thus, all homosexual liaisons are, by definition, fornication and forbidden. 

Extra-marital sex has also been forbidden by the Lord throughout history. It is known as “adultery.” The Apostle Paul admonished: 

“Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. . . .  

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness. . . . 

“. . . of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. . . . 

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:16-24). 

Many people throughout time have disregarded these laws, choosing to follow after forbidden lusts instead. We rationalize and justify our lust and our violations of divine law by calling it “love” or by trivializing sex as a base bodily function. “Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness” (Proverbs 30:20). But we can’t merely wish away God’s laws or the consequences of immorality. “Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?” (Proverb 6:27). 

Taken as a whole, these rules regulating sex can be called the law of chastity. There are only two sins that are greater than breaking the law of chastity; namely, denying the witness of the Holy Spirit after receiving it and murder. The Lord takes sexual impurity very seriously. He condemns and forbids everything from homosexuality to fornication to pornography to rape and beyond. All of these have, as at their core, some form of lust or selfishness. 

Thirdly, some people say “God made me this way” and embrace the illicit desires they have, branding them as “love” to ease their consciences. Let me tell you a truth: God did not make you that way. He did not create you gay. He did not put lust in your heart. He did not implant in you a desire to abandon the path of marriage and procreation. To do so would be to violate His own laws and to contradict the teachings of His Son and prophets. The Apostle James clearly taught: 

“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed” (James 1:13-14). 

I repeat: God doesn’t make people gay. God does not tempt anyone to do evil. God does not entice anyone to fornicate or commit adultery. It’s contrary to His holy nature, His mercy, and His love. As James said, these forbidden desires are born of lust and are evil. 

But let’s pretend God does create some people gay at birth, even though He absolutely does not. Nevertheless, the commandment to repent, change, and be reborn still applies! It applies to every person on earth regardless of their challenges and inclinations. It applies to people who have problems with thievery, lying, gossiping, substance abuse, pornography, gambling, fornication, adultery, violence, pride, anger, arrogance, impatience, ingratitude, ad infinitum. Jesus called the adulterers, prostitutes, demoniacs, and handicapped to follow Him with as much fervor as He called those with less visible problems, such as the learned Pharisees, to follow Him. He’s the Master Healer and He knows how to heal and mend hearts and lives. 

Jesus powerfully and plainly taught Nicodemus: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). Could it be any clearer? 

We’re not enough by ourselves. We need Jesus. Our natures are fallen and corrupted. We all sin and do things that we regret or that harm others. It comes with the territory here on planet earth. But we don’t need to let our lusts, our failings, our weaknesses, our sins, or our past define us. We’re better than that. We’re the children of our Heavenly Father! 

Think of it – the King of the universe is our Father! The Creator of worlds without number – the One who walks on water, raises the dead, and calms the raging sea with a single word – is His Son who stands with open arms to receive, lift, and heal all who come to Him regardless of what they were or did in the past. Our Heavenly Father wants to give us everything He has and to see us follow His Son in becoming like Him (Romans 8:16-17; John 10:34). We belong to the family of God Almighty. Shouldn’t that fact alone inspire us to do better and be better?  

Our mission as fallen and sinful individuals is to not embrace the low path, but to throw off our old habits and desires and embrace the higher and holier standard revealed by the Redeemer Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or how far you’ve fallen; you can be redeemed! It doesn’t matter how frequently you’ve sinned or screwed up; you can be saved! 

Just as Joseph in Egypt literally ran from sexual temptation when it literally pulled on him, so, too, does the Lord expect us to remember our legs and flee from the snare of sin (Genesis 39:7-21). Paul urged: 

“Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 

“For ye are abought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). 

As difficult as it may be, our path is clear – we must flee fornication. It doesn’t matter if it is homosexual or heterosexual fornication. It’s wrong either way. It’s lust in both cases; not love. In fact, we are to flee all sin, all error, and all unrighteousness. 

The prodigal son returns

When we slip and fall, there’s a way back. Some mistakes are bigger than others, but all mistakes take us away from God and cause us to lose a measure of His holy light. Repentance is the remedy. To repent simply means to turn away from something. Those with gambling problems must turn away from gambling. Those with anger issues must learn patience. Those with pride must learn humility. And those with sexual problems of all kinds must turn away from them – both in deed and in thought. 

Russell M. Nelson, a powerful Christian leader and example for all believers today, recently gave us these encouraging words about repentance: 

“Nothing is more liberating, more ennobling, or more crucial to our individual progression than is a regular, daily focus on repentance. Repentance is not an event; it is a process. It is the key to happiness and peace of mind. When coupled with faith, repentance opens our access to the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 

“Whether you are diligently moving along the covenant path, have slipped or stepped from the covenant path, or can’t even see the path from where you are now, I plead with you to repent. Experience the strengthening power of daily repentance—of doing and being a little better each day. 

“When we choose to repent, we choose to change! We allow the Savior to transform us into the best version of ourselves. We choose to grow spiritually and receive joy—the joy of redemption in Him. When we choose to repent, we choose to become more like Jesus Christ! 

“Brethren, we need to do better and be better because we are in a battle. The battle with sin is real. The adversary is quadrupling his efforts to disrupt testimonies and impede the work of the Lord. He is arming his minions with potent weapons to keep us from partaking of the joy and love of the Lord. 

“Repentance is the key to avoiding misery inflicted by traps of the adversary. The Lord does not expect perfection from us at this point in our eternal progression. But He does expect us to become increasingly pure. Daily repentance is the pathway to purity, and purity brings power. Personal purity can make us powerful tools in the hands of God. Our repentance—our purity—will empower us to help in the gathering of Israel.” 

How many of us need daily repentance? All of us need it! And the greater our sins, the more we need the healing power of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sometimes we think we have sinned too much, moved too far away, done too many terrible things, to receive the Lord’s forgiveness and healing. I seem to have missed the line in the Bible where it says the Lord won’t heal and embrace those who come to Him. Instead, I remember His words which say: 

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 

“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). 

I also recall the words of Paul which urge us to boldly approach the Lord so that His grace can heal us: 

“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16). 

Jesus understands. Jesus knows how difficult it is. And He has mercy on those who sincerely approach Him confessing their sins, acknowledging their weaknesses, and laying all their burdens on Him. He wants nothing more than for the prodigal son to return home. He stands ready to receive all who come to Him with open arms. He will give rest to all who believe on His name. 

A modern disciple of the Lord, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, gave additional encouragement to those who feel lost or who feel weighed down by their sins. He said

“[H]owever late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don’t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines. 

“Whether you are not yet of our faith or were with us once and have not remained, there is nothing in either case that you have done that cannot be undone. There is no problem which you cannot overcome. There is no dream that in the unfolding of time and eternity cannot yet be realized. Even if you feel you are the lost and last laborer of the eleventh hour, the Lord of the vineyard still stands beckoning. “Come boldly [to] the throne of grace,” and fall at the feet of the Holy One of Israel. Come and feast “without money and without price” at the table of the Lord. . . . 

“So if you have made covenants, keep them. If you haven’t made them, make them. If you have made them and broken them, repent and repair them. It is never too late so long as the Master of the vineyard says there is time. Please listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit telling you right now, this very moment, that you should accept the atoning gift of the Lord Jesus Christ and enjoy the fellowship of His labor. Don’t delay. It’s getting late.” 

It’s getting late, dear reader. Each of us needs to be better. Each of us needs to wake up to the reality that lust is not love, wickedness is not happiness, and a life without Jesus Christ is incomplete. Whether your sin is homosexual or heterosexual sexual immorality, you need repentance either way. 

The fact that “Pride” month is now over can serve as a metaphor. If you’ve suffered from homosexual desires, or if you’ve even acted on your lusts, it was in the past. Today is a new day. Time isn’t over yet. You can change. You can repent. You can turn from darkness to light, from the Adversary to the Lord, from lust to love. Jesus stands with open arms to receive you. He promises cleansing and healing. He promises peace and happiness. He promises eternal rewards, light, and love. Don’t delay. Turn to the Savior Jesus Christ and experience the majesty of God’s perfect love. 

Zack Strong, 

July 1, 2021 

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