All the Sins of Sodom

Sins of Sodom

Where does the story of Sodom and Gomorrah leave us? We see that inhospitality, violence, and abuse toward strangers was their primary sin—not homosexuality.

But what about the rest of the Scriptures that mention the cities of the Plain?

In all of the biblical passages, we find the following sins and crimes delineated:

Bible Book Sins akin to Sodom’s
Genesis 13:13; 19 Wickedness and sin
Prejudice against outsiders
Violence and physical/sexual abusiveness
Intent to degrade, debase, dominate and humiliate
Deuteronomy 29:17-28; 32:32-35 Detestable practices
Spiritual adultery
Abandoning God
Scoffing the Rock of their salvation
Following after strange gods
Sacrificing to demons
Isaiah 1:4, 7-11, 15-17; 3:8-9; 13:19-20 Unfaithfulness
Oppressing the helpless
Pride in sinfulness
Jeremiah 23:14-15; 49:16-18; 50:39-40 Adultery
Walking in lies
Strengthening the hands of evildoers
Promoting ungodliness
Inspiring terror
Sinning against the Lord
Challenging the Lord
Defying the Lord
Lamentations 3:34-36; 4:6 Transgressions
Grievous sin
Becoming cruel
Injustice that exploits human rights
Ezekiel 16:46-51 Abominations
Whorings with heathen nations
Child sacrifice
Lewd behavior
Spiritual adultery
Shedding blood
No concern for the poor and needy
Amos 4:11 Ruthless oppression and enslavement of the poor
Fathers and sons sexually using the same girl
Interfering with the Nazirites and prophets
Wrongdoing, looting, hoarding plunder
Idle luxury
Oppressing the poor and crushing the needy
Making sacrifices without turning from sin and then boasting about it
Zephaniah 2:8-11 Idolatry
Sinning against the Lord
Matthew 10:14-15; 11:20-24 Hardheartedness
Luke 10:5-12; 17:28-33 Inhospitality
Romans 9:29 Unbelief
2 Peter 2:4-9 NIV Ungodliness
Jude 5-7 NASB Gross immorality
Going after “strange flesh” (angelic)—violating God’s created order
Revelation 11:7-8 Rejecting God’s messengers
3 Maccabees 2:2-5 CEB Violence
Wicked deeds
2 Esdras 2:8-9 CEB; 5:7 CEB; 7:106 CEB Ignoring the Lord and his advice
Sexual immorality
Sirach 16:8 CEB Disobedience
Wisdom 19:13-17 CEB Failing to welcome sojourning strangers
Making guests and benefactors slaves
Treating people unlike themselves as enemies
Forcing strangers to do hard labor

The chief sins are inhospitality, idolatry, hatred of strangers, and abuses against human rights. Sexual sins are in the minority, most are metaphorical of spiritual adultery, and homosexuality is not mentioned. Instead, pride and arrogance are primary.

Next time, we’ll make some conclusions about the teaching of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

More information:

The Sin of Sodom coverTo read the full story, get my book, The Sin of Sodom: What the Bible Really Says About Why God Destroyed the Cities of the Plain, for Kindle and in trade paperback.

Sins Against the Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit as a Dove

The Holy Spirit is a Divine Person, a member of the triune Godhead. And as God, the Spirit can be sinned against. The New Testament warns us of six specific sins against the Holy Spirit. But first, let’s examine the Spirit’s personhood.

The Holy Spirit is a Person

Sins Against the Holy Spirit

Of the six sins against the Holy Spirit, three can be committed by Christians, and three by those who do not know Jesus Christ. We’ll examine the ones non-Christians can commit first.

Insulting the Holy Spirit

How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?
–Hebrews 10:29 NIV

The word “insulted” means to exercise violence, use despitefully, reproach, or treat shamefully. It is used only here in the Bible.

The salvation offered us through Christ is a gift of grace, not to be spurned, but to be accepted with faith, humility, and joy.

Resisting the Holy Spirit

51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— 53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”
–Acts 7:51-53 NIV

This word means to oppose. The religious leaders of Stephen the Martyr’s day came from a long line of those who said they honored God but rejected what God’s prophets had to say. Disobedient to the spirit of the Law, they crucified Christ. And, despite the miracles that Stephen did, these stiff-necked people resisted the ministry of the Holy Spirit through the Law, the Prophets, the Christ, and Stephen. Their rage led to Stephen’s stoning.

Blaspheming the Holy Spirit

“31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”
–Matthew 12:31 NIV

The Pharisees accused Jesus of casting a demon out of a man by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of demons. He warned them against attributing the works of the Holy Spirit to the devil. For these unbelievers, Jesus said that such sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will not be forgiven. Serious indeed.

Quenching the Holy Spirit

19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.
–1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 NIV

As believers, we must not extinguish the Spirit’s fire through the manifestation of spiritual gifts. Instead, as Paul told Timothy, we are to “fan into flame the gift of God” (2 Timothy 1:6 NIV).

“Stir” is the word anazopureo, meaning “to rekindle or stir up.” It comes from a combination of three words: one meaning “intensely,” one meaning “a live thing such as an animal or beast,” and another, meaning “fiery, fire, or lightning.”

Paul insisted that Timothy “lively and intensely set yourself on fire to use your spiritual gifts!” Do you eagerly desire spiritual gifts? (1 Corinthians 14:1). Stir yourself up. Do not quench the Spirit’s fire.

Grieving the Holy Spirit

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
–Ephesians 4:29-32 NIV

How we speak to and treat others can distress the Holy Spirit. We are to cleanse ourselves from the sins of the flesh and put on Christ (Romans 13:14), speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

Lying to the Holy Spirit

Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?”
–Acts 5:3 NIV

Ananias and his wife Sapphira led the church to believe they had sold a piece of land and given the whole amount to the work of the Lord when they actually had held back a part of the money. In lying to the apostles and the church, they had lied to the Holy Spirit. For this, they paid with their lives.

Our Power Over the Spirit

Although the Holy Spirit is sovereign, we as Christians have the power, as Sam Storms says, “either to restrict or release what he does in the life of the local church” (Practicing the Power, 180).

We can quench or resist the Spirit by neglecting the Divine’s work of baptizing (filling) with the Spirit and imparting spiritual gifts through which the church must be built up. We can stymie the Spirit by creating an atmosphere in our church meetings that does not allow for the Spirit’s spontaneous moving. We grieve the Spirit when we despise tongues and prophetic utterances.

Let us honor the Spirit in our lives and in the midst of the Church, allowing the Spirit to have free reign and to manifest the glory of God with signs, wonders, gifts, and fruit.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
–2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV