THEOLOGICAL STUDIES

Sanctity of Life

INTRODUCTION

The issue of Pro Life vs. Pro Choice is one of the most heated topics in American life today. Those Supreme Court justices who ruled on Roe V. Wade had no idea that this topic would 30 years later still be one of the most divisive topics in America. Not only is it still important to a vast number of Americans; it does not appear to be waning any time soon.

For those of us who vote Pro Life we need to be careful in the way we approach this subject. Although there seems to be something demonic behind the abortion clinic industry and the major organizations which PROMOTE abortions, a different scenario is working among those women who actually get abortions. We can get carried away to such an extent that we pile on those women who have had an abortion and who regret it. While sharing with others about the harmful effects of abortion and about the reasons people should not get abortions, we need to offer those who have had abortions the same forgiveness that Jesus Christ has offered to us. With one hand we offer Christ's forgiveness to those who have had an abortion and with the other hand, reasons not to have abortions to those contemplating having an abortion.


THE DEVASTATING EFFECTS OF ABORTION

Pro choice advocates focus purely on the reasons why women should have an abortion: inconvenience, financial responsibilities, psychological damage from having a child which results from rape, etc. They fail though to communicate the devastating effects that an abortion can have on a person. I unfortunately witnessed up close the effects that an abortion can have on a person. You can rationalize abortions all day long; however, you cannot talk the heart into the rightness of the cause.

I knew a young lady who was a precious Christian. She had been raised up in a good Christian home. She was active in her church's youth group, well-liked by all the kids. After she left home, she got an excellent job and really appeared to have the world by the tail. She eventually got married to somebody who turned out not to be the kind of person she thought he was. After a few years of a rocky marriage, she divorced her husband. Then for some strange reason unknown to me at the time she seemed to dissolve as a person. She began to drink heavily, not just wine but hard liquor. Within a few years she had committed suicide.

Before she had died, she had lost 30 pounds, going from 100 to 70 pounds in weight. She looked like she had just walked out of the Auschwitz or Dauchau concentration camp. Before she died, I asked her why she was doing these things to herself. It just didn't make sense. She didn't complain about bad upbringing. She didn't complain about what a louse her husband had been to her. She cried out: "I killed my baby." At the time of the abortion, it had all seemed perfectly logical to her. She was in the midst of a failed marriage. She had a job; therefore, she could not stay home and take care of the baby. It just wasn't the right time. She didn't hate the baby; she just believed it was not fair to bring this baby into the world. She paid royally for her choice.

We believe that abortion is morally wrong. Because it is morally wrong, women who have an abortion pay a terrible toll for choosing to have an abortion. HOWEVER, although Satan has taken the life of a baby, he does not have to take the life of the mother too. God loves that baby. In fact He loves that baby so much that that baby now stands in His presence. Yet He loves the mother also. He wants that mother not only to experience His forgiveness but also to receive the unfathomable love He has for her. We need to share that love with those who have made this choice.


THE VALUE OF LIFE

Normally when we discuss the sanctity of human life, we speak about the horrors of abortion (especially partial birth abortions). We also speak about the immorality of such a procedure and the belief that only God has the right either to take away human life or to say when a human life is to be taken away. Although these are all valid and good, I believe that something even bigger is at stake here. I believe the reason many people are non-chalant towards any form of abortion is that they have forgotten who they are or what God has intended us to be.

Basically the primary thought of this present age has beaten mankind down. The present age claims that people are important; it's just that they are not as important as the northern spotted owl (or whatever he is). Yes, farmers are important; however, we won't let the farmers irrigate some of their crops in the NW because it will interfere with the salmon spawning upstream. Tree-huggers will do anything to keep loggers from making a decent living. These function this way because they have forgotten who man is and his role in creation. In this study we would like to recapture again the purpose God had for creating us and the purpose He desires for us to fulfill on earth.


MAN IS CREATED IN GOD'S IMAGE

At the very outset of the Bible, God informs us that we are created in His image (Gen. 1:26). Some claim that being in the image of God means that we are intellectual, rational creatures, while others claim that it refers to a person's ability to communicate and to relate with others. Unfortunately a lot of the discussion about what it means to be created in God's image is unnecessary because God Himself has defined for us what it means to be in His image. Paul claims that Jesus is the image of God (Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3). That means that He is the mirror image of God. If you want to know what the Father is like, then look at Jesus who perfectly reveals God to you and me. By saying that God created us in His image, God is saying that when He created you and me, He looked at Jesus and decided to make us just like Jesus.

What is Jesus like then?

His Character (Gal. 5:20, 21)

Paul shows us the character of Christ when he lists the Christ-like qualities Jesus' Spirit produces in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. God wants us to be just like Him, just like His Son. Christ was always loving; always joyful irregardless the circumstances; always at peace with Himself, others, and God; always patient; always kind; always good; always faithful to God and to others; always gentle; and always under control even when angry.

His Mission (Matt. 18:11)

Because Christ had a mission, we have one too--His mission: "As the Father has sent Me, I also send you" (John 20:21). That mission was to glorify His Father by accomplishing the work He had sent Him to do (John 17:4). What work did the Father have for Jesus to do? To seek and to save that which is lost (Matt. 18:11). Whatever form our mission takes, it must revolve around seeking and saving the lost.

The Goal of Salvation

How important is it that we are created in the image of God, in the image of Christ? Paul informs us that the goal of salvation is that the image of God be restored in us: "for whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son that He might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29). Each little baby is created in the image of God (Christ), has the potential to be Christ-like in character, has a mission, and is predestined to be conformed completely to the image of God (Christ).


CREATED TO BE GOD'S SONS AND DAUGHTERS

When God created us in His image, in the image of His Son Jesus, He predestined us to be His sons and His daughters. This only makes sense in light of the fact that He has created us to be like Jesus. Of course this does not mean that we are all His sons and daughters. Only those who believe in Christ are adopted into God's family as His sons and daughters; however, Christ places His Spirit (the Spirit of the Son of God) into each and every one who believes in Him so that they become sons and daughters of God (John 1:12).

Now those who become God's children literally become His children: "See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us that we should be called children of God. AND SUCH WE ARE! . . . Beloved, NOW we are children of God . . ." (1 John 3:1-2). We are now as much God's children as Jesus is. The only difference (and it is a major one) is that He has eternally been God's Son, while at one point in time we were not sons and daughters of God.


God Loves Us

What does it mean then to be God's sons and daughters? First, God loves us. In fact He loves us with the same love and to the same degree that He loves His "firstborn" Jesus. John is not being maudlin whenever he calls us "Beloved" (1 John 3:2). Since God called Jesus His Son "beloved" (Matt. 3:17), it is only appropriate that He also calls us "beloved" when we too are now His children. To appreciate then how much God loves you, reflect on how much He loves His Son, Jesus.


We are Co-Heirs With Christ

Second, since we are now sons and daughters of God, we are joint-heirs with Jesus: "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs [joint-heirs] with Christ" (Rom. 8:16-17). In other words, God has a will and has left all He has in His inheritance. Jesus and His siblings (Christians) are going to receive all that God has once God dies. That may seem strange; however, that is the exact argument that Hebrews in making. When did God die? God died on the cross. When He died, His will became effective so that the heirs could now enjoy their full inheritance. (Jesus died for His Father; His death on the cross constituted the death of God on the cross--see Heb. 9:16-17). As a result, since God has made those who believe in Jesus His sons and daughters, they alone with Jesus inherit all that God has. That is the reason Paul calls us "fellow heirs with Christ" (Rom. 8:18).

We cannot fully understand what all our inheritance entails until we actually get to experience it; however, the NT does inform us what part of that inheritance involves. Because of Jesus' humility, God has exalted Him to the status of Lord. Christ now reigns in glory. Because Jesus' Spirit lives in us, we are united with Him; therefore, we will experience what He is experiencing right now: Rev. 3:21--"He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, just as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne"; and Eph. 2:6--"And raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places."

This seems far-fetched, right? Haven't I just taken a few verses out of context? No. Look right at the beginning of the Bible to discover what God's purpose for mankind was at the very start: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and SUBDUE IT; AND RULE OVER THE FISH OF THE SEA AND OVER THE BIRDS OF THE SKY, AND OVER EVERY LIVING THING THAT MOVES ON THE EARTH" (Gen. 1:28) We see this developed in Psalm 8:5-6 "Thou hast made him a little lower than God. And dost crown him with glory and majesty! Thou dost make him to rule over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet." The NT picks up on this same psalm in Heb. 2:6-8. Many reduce this psalm by applying it only to Jesus. Hebrews does not do that. It applies first to Jesus; however, Jesus as the representative of man is simply the first to experience the fulfillment of this promise. Because He--the Man--has experienced the fulfillment of this promise, we who are united to Him will experience the same fulfillment when He returns.

Because of the release of the movie trilogy The Lord of the Rings, a lot of people have been introduced to 2 of the greatest Christian writers of the 20th century--C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. Both were Christians who allowed their beliefs to influence the way they wrote. Unfortunately many readers fail to pick up on one of the most important themes in The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. In the LOTR we focus on the ring, the hobbits, and the magical, while in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe we focus on the death and resurrection of Aslan (Christ). Yet why does Aslan die and rise again? To fill the 4 thrones in Narnia which have been reserved for the 2 sons of Adam and the 2 daughters of Eve. What is the goal the LOTR has been striving for? For the coronation of Aragorn. It is not accident that the third book in the LOTR is called The Return of the King. Tolkien and Lewis are intentionally claiming that God's goal for mankind is to reestablish them back to the place He had originally assigned to them in relation to the rest of creation--man is to have dominion over creation. He has created us to be princes and princess of heaven, lords over the earth.

We smirk at such thoughts. There used to be aristocracy, and we've demolished that myth. The 1600's unfortunately did damage to man the way it attacked aristocracy. To be sure we are all equal in the eyes of God. The Queen of England is no better than you or I. However, in making ourselves equal with aristocracy, instead of bringing them down to our level, we should have raised ourselves up to their level. Equality does not mean that there are no lords and ladies. It means we are ALL lords and ladies of creation.


CONCLUSION

Abortion therefore attacks those whom God has made in His image. Abortion destroys those whom God has destined to be His son or daughter. Abortion annihilates the life of one God has created to be a lord or lady in the courts of heaven. It's not a fetus. It is somebody who has incomparable worth in the eyes of God. This is not simply a matter between a woman and her body. It's a matter between God and that child.