Some have said that the New Testament writers were unaware of “sexual orientation”. Because they didn’t have a word for it didn’t mean they were unaware of it. They used another word, maybe a simpler one: “desire”. Desire is attraction, which is orientation. Both men and women had a same-sex orientation. Paul here says that the attraction for the same-sex was shameful. And it was their unnatural behavior, the sex acts that stemmed from same-sex orientation (desire), which condemned them.
And it’s believed by some that this passage is about coerced/forced sex and/or pederasty. However, this is not true for two reasons: 1) Paul doesn’t say “men and boys”, but instead “men with men”. 2) He includes females. Instead, Paul was referring to consensual adults. He was saying that God was condemning those where mutual, consensual same-sex partners were involved. This judgment is not regarding those engaged in pederasty, excess lust, or rape, but same-sex consensual sex.
Paul doesn’t make distinctions between good and bad homosexual conduct. He doesn’t refer to a lustful, impure, coerced, non-committed kind of homosexual practice, and a different kind based on love, fidelity, monogamous, and committed. Paul rather says that all homosexual practice, despite at how good it possibly can seem (monogamous, loving, sacrificial), is bad and wrong and unnatural and sinful.
When Paul used the word nature, in this specific context, he was not referring to cultural norms, or experience, or speaking from a Greco-Roman view and its social order. Instead, he was referring to the natural world. The world that God created, and the way he intended it to be. There are linguistic links between this passage and the creation narrative. Linking this passage to the Creation narrative as Paul did tells us that “natural” in this sense meant the way of creation. Male and female come together. Sex with the same-sex disrupts it, it is an act of disorder against the created order, and a disregard of God as Sovereign Creator.
In this text, it reveals how awful the homosexual practice is. The behavior is the wrath itself. The behavior doesn’t receive the pending judgment of God, rather it is judgment. The homosexual practice is a really the manifestation of the sexual perversion within, and it is the punishment due to that perversion. The person who engages in these practices willingly and attempts to justify his actions are sadly deceived, and each time it is engaged they are condemning themselves to hell.
Same sex intercourse thus remains in the category of other depraved vices. No matter if there’s so-called love, if it’s committed, sacrificial, or monogamous. It doesn’t matter. Homosexual intercourse is depraved sexuality.
I hope people may understand this text as a one that shows our human depravity and our need for a Savior.