What is “life?” When does it start? When is it over? And who gets to decide the answer to all of those questions in the first place?
Truly these kinds of questions and principles are important for us — as modern day Christians — to not just be talking about, but something each of us should have a very clear, succinct, and biblical grasp on and philosophical understanding of.
Obviously, most already know that Christians are usually unique and different than others who aren’t Disciples of Christ, because of how they obtain their truth; and also what they use as the final STANDARD for determining that truth.
Because as followers of Jesus Christ we have to decide for ourselves if we are going to allow our hearts, our lives, and yes even our IDEAS and BELIEFS about truth … to be governed by our NEW Lord and Master, Jesus Christ … or by the popular culture all around us.
And that is really what it ultimately boils down to, you will either allow someone else (Jesus Christ) to determine what TRUTH is for you, or you will determine it for yourself. Therefore, if you name the name of Christ then what you deem to be right vs. wrong, and righteous vs. unrighteous, and moral vs. amoral CAN ONLY COME from God Himself … and His written Word.
Which of course means: when I’m stealing money from work, and then I find out one day that God says in His Word, “Hey Marc, stealing is wrong. Knock it off.” Well I may not particularly like hearing that from God, but if I want to walk in obedience, and believe that His moral opinions and laws are true, then I have to admit that God is right and I am wrong.
Admittedly, most of us wouldn’t have a problem with God telling us, that according to HIS standard of truth, stealing is wrong; or lying is wrong, or assaulting somebody is wrong. But what if God told you that He wanted you to stop watching Game of Thrones, Lucas Cage, Sons of Anarchy, or any of your other favorite TV programs because there was far too much nudity in them and other things that displeased His heart?
After all, scripture is emphatically clear … fornication, lust, and all kinds of different flavors of sexual sin are explicitly wrong according to God’s standards. So would the excuses begin to fly so you could somehow try and justify to God why you aren’t going to stop watching that particular program? Or would you accept God’s standard for truth as far more superior than your own?
And here’s the strange, and even sad thing to me about all of this nowadays: it used to be that Christians from all over the globe (regardless of background, upbringing, social status, or even denomination) would come to agreement that sin is SIN. Heck, even many NON-Christians used to openly admit that their sinful actions, behaviors, and words were just that … SINFUL. And even though they were consciously choosing to participate in those sins, they at least had the mental fortitude and wherewithal to admit that sin was sin; and they didn’t try to convince themselves or others that it wasn’t.
But sadly something has really, really changed in the moral fabric of our American society. And it’s the standard for truth … that’s what’s really changed.
But back to my earlier point, if God says stealing is wrong than like it or not, stealing is wrong. And the same goes for cussing, lust, sexual sin, lying, and the list goes on and on. God says it’s wrong in His Word, right there in black and white, so whether it sits well with us or not it doesn’t matter … when it’s wrong … it’s wrong.
Now of course, just because God says certain things are sinful and wrong, doesn’t mean WE are going to automatically never, ever sin in those areas ever again does it? Of course not, and we don’t just suddenly become completely sinless and perfect just because we come to the recognition about what God says regarding certain behaviors, choices, or actions.
But that’s not really the concern I have in regards to the body of Christ. I’m not shocked or surprised that Christians can still sin, and do sin. What I’m beginning to become utterly shocked and surprised about is that so many Christians now seem to be stating that certain SINS are no longer sinful.
So God says, “Don’t lie,” and when they tell three or four TINY lies they then state, “Oh those weren’t really lies, I didn’t really sin.”
And when God says, “Don’t have sex with anyone who isn’t your legally married spouse,” Christians all over the nation are “hooking up” with whomever they want, WHENEVER they want, and they say, “Oh come on, you have to kick the tires on a vehicle before you can make a decision if it’s the one you want to purchase. Besides, how else are we supposed to find out if we’re compatible or not?”
And when the Holy Spirit whispers in one of his son’s or daughter’s ears saying, “I know you’ve finished two whole seasons of Game of Thrones already, but you really need to turn that filth off and stop filling your mind with the kind of amoral garbage that I’ve told you is wrong and unrighteous.”
Well then, Christians from all walks of life just retort back, “Oh please, this is just normal, everyday life man; heck I see worse things than this every day on my high school campus, or in the college dorm rooms, so give it a rest. Besides, how am I supposed to remain ‘relevant’ to the culture around me if I can’t even relate to the kinds of media they are exposing themselves to and constantly talking about?”
And that right there is what scares me … when Christians begin to utter the same words and feelings that we find God warning us about directly from His holy Word:
Isaiah 5:20 says this, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness.”
And Romans 1:25 tells us that when that happens it is because people have, “…exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.”
Now I want to again be clear on something, if you sin as a genuine Christian, God knows you aren’t doing anything different than every other Disciple of Christ who has ever walked this earth, including me. But that’s not what should really concern you.
And hear me out, I’m not condoning willful, conscious, sinful actions and choices, because YES we should definitely be striving for holiness, purity, and righteous living. But when we fail to meet the high standard of righteousness we have prescribed for us by God’s holy Word (and boy howdy is that ever going to happen) we have an advocate with the Father — and all we have to do is fall at his feet, confess our sins openly without excuses, and He will be faithful to forgive us.
BUT …… if we sin, and then turn around and begin to call our sin UN-sinful, then THAT’S when we have a real problem. When we as Christians begin to throw our hat in the ring with the rest of the world, and jump on their subjective, post modern band wagon, and join the resounding chorus of voices that are calling good evil, and evil good then THAT’S when you REALLY need to start being concerned.
Because genuine Disciples of Christ, and real followers of Jesus Christ, don’t re-label, and redefine, and try and re-package what God has already clearly defined and declared to be true. The kind of relabeling, redefining, and re-packaging that is done just to make God’s unchanging commands more palatable and easier to receive by those who are in open defiance against them.
Instead, we are supposed to continually examine every ideology, every belief, and every single moral decision out there in the sea of humanity through the unchanging lens of the immutable truths contained in God’s Word!
Because the same warning that Paul gave to the early believers living in the city of Thessalonica all the way back in the first century is just as applicable and appropriate for the ears of every single believer walking the streets of America TODAY … RIGHT NOW … right here in the 21st Century:
1 Thess 5:4-6, 21-22, “4But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; 5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; 6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober……But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil.”
In other words, it’s the world who is supposed to be in darkness, not US. They’re the ones who have ears and they cannot hear, and eyes yet they cannot see … NOT US! We’re supposed to walk in the light of God’s truth, not the blindness of the world’s darkness.
When the world tells you it’s okay to do this, and to do that, and to do whatever your heart feels like doing, you need to stop being afraid to tell yourself, and possibly them, “No. NO! No, it’s not okay; because I’ve surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. And I don’t care if it’s popular or not, I’m only going to get MY standard for right and wrong, and MY standard for darkness and light, FROM HIM! That’s it … from the one true Light of the World! From HIM and Him alone!”
After all, if loving Jesus is wrong … then I don’t want to be right!
The Sanctity of Human Life
Okay, so now that we’ve kind of laid a foundation for truth, let’s spend some time examining just one area of life where truth REALLY matters.
One of the things you’d think we could all come to agreement on, whether we are Christians or not, is the sanctity of human life. I mean you’d think that all over this planet, regardless of race, color, or creed, we could ALL come into 100% agreement with an axiomatic truth statement like the following: “The unjustifiable killing of another human being is always wrong.”
Wouldn’t you think that a statement like that would be something we could ALL agree upon? Again, whether we were White or Black, rich or poor, educated or uneducated?
Well, you’d certainly like to think so, but just take a look at this quick clip from an interview that occurred recently between a TV host named Tucker Carlson and a State Representative from the State of Confusion … I mean the State of California … that he had on his show named Eric Swalwell:
(YouTube clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06hGGvcKKNk 1:35 thru 3:38)
In case you missed it Tucker asked Representative Swalwell if he could agree with the following statement, “All human beings are intrinsically valuable and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”
And as you just saw, the guy simply couldn’t bring himself to agree with that kind of statement … a statement that frankly should be as easy to understand and agree with as, “Stop means ‘stop,’ and go means ‘go.’”
After all, is unjustifiable homicide wrong or not? I mean if you can’t agree with that than you really need some help ‘cause you’re probably a closet sociopath waiting for the opportunity to live out your amoral beliefs!
And commensurate with this guys’ apparent view on being okay with people being able to unjustly end a human life, he also can’t even answer Tucker’s second question which was simply, “If a woman has an abortion, is she ending a human life or not? Do you think it’s a human life?”
And the guy couldn’t answer. He hemmed and hawed, and beat around the bush, and answered all kinds of questions that Tucker wasn’t asking, but he simply couldn’t answer one of the most basic questions one could ever be asked, “If someone has an abortion, did they end a human life or not? Yes or no?”
And even though this guy would be lauded as being ‘brave’ enough, and ‘courageous’ enough to declare that it was utterly preposterous for anyone to even DARE to try and take away a person’s ability to ‘choose’ to have an abortion, or choose to commit euthanasia by medically ending their own life, he could barely bring himself to just finally state that he thinks aborted, pre-born babies are not “viable,” and so it’s okay to rip their limbs off their still kicking bodies and crush their skulls.
The guy literally didn’t have enough courage or intestinal fortitude to just simply man up, answer the question presented to him, and declare, “Actually Tucker, NO, an aborted baby is not a human life. So when a woman has an abortion she isn’t ending a human life. There, that’s my answer.”
And of course, the reason this representative, and a host of SOOOO many other people in the world today also have an extremely hard time answering these kinds of moral and ethical questions, and just saying OUT LOUD, “babies in the womb aren’t human beings,” is because their standard of truth is either:
A: Derived from popular opinion.
B: In a constant state of flux and perpetual change.
C: NOT derived from God’s standard of truth.
Or D: All of the above.
In other words, their moral compass is so skewed and out of whack you could use the thing like an out of control, desk fan on steroids!
Which brings me right back to one of the first points I made early on in this discussion and that is this: God ALONE is the REAL standard and originator for truth; ESPECIALLY for anyone who claims to be a Disciple of Jesus Christ.
Not the world … not some Hollywood star … not your best friends … and most definitely NOT this State Representative from the land of fruits and nuts … California. That is not where REAL truth comes from.
So then, the question to follow all of this would naturally be, “All right then, what does God have to say about the taking of innocent human life?” And I’m not talking necessarily just about abortion and pre-born babies specifically, I’m just talking about the ideology of the termination of a human life in general.
Does God have an opinion about things like murder, unjustifiable homicide, and the shedding of innocent blood?
Well, the short answer? Why yes … yes He most certainly does.
And what pray-tell does God say?
For starters, all the way back at the beginning of the birth of the nation of Israel, and the founding of the Ten Commandments, God took His finger and etched into a stone tablet the following succinct and definitive command, “You shall not murder.”
Now that alone is just about as plain and as direct as you can possibly get! For the genuine Disciple of Christ … that’s enough. God said it, God wrote it, that settles it!
But there’s actually more … a lot more! For instance all throughout just the book of Numbers alone there is example, after example, after example of God declaring over and over again that He is absolutely against those who murder other innocent human beings, and participate in the criminal act of unjustifiably ending another human life.
In fact, God is so dead set against it He declares that the punishment for such action will be the JUSTIFIED ending of THEIR lives……something we now call capital punishment.
And why did God say that and decree it to be so for His people? Because if you arbitrarily choose to subjectively and prematurely snuff out the life of another living human being, than you are usurping the authority of God and according to God’s standards you have just lost your right to coexist with the rest of humanity.
And suffice to say, King David, was a man after God’s own heart knew precisely how God felt about murderous actions and the taking of innocent human life. Which is why he cried out to God in Psalm 94:1-7 saying, “O Lord, God of vengeance, God of vengeance, shine forth! 2 Rise up, O Judge of the earth, render recompense to the proud. 3 How long shall the wicked, O Lord, how long shall the wicked exult? 4 They pour forth words, they speak arrogantly; all who do wickedness vaunt themselves. 5 They crush Your people, O Lord, and afflict Your heritage. 6 They slay the widow and the stranger and murder the orphans. 7 They have said, ‘The Lord does not see, nor does the God of Jacob pay heed.’”
But God DID see, and God DID care and take notice! And this topic of murder, the shedding of innocent blood, was a topic that God frequently visited time and time again all throughout the Old Testament through the voice of His prophets. In fact, He consistently and routinely castigated and openly chastised the numerous kings and leaders of the nation of Israel because of their willingness to allow this kind of murderous action to continually take place – not in the shadows – but out in the open in broad daylight.
Here’s how God described just one of those kings, king Manasseh in 2 Kings 21:16, “Moreover, Manasseh shed very much innocent blood until he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; besides his sin with which he made Judah sin, in doing evil in the sight of the Lord.”
And listen to how God describes HIS OWN PEOPLE, people full of rebellion, dishonesty, wickedness, and murderous desires, “Thus says the Lord God, ‘A city shedding blood in her midst, so that her time will come, and that makes idols, contrary to her interest, for defilement! 4 You have become guilty by the blood which you have shed, and defiled by your idols which you have made. Thus you have brought your day near and have come to your years; therefore I have made you a reproach to the nations and a mocking to all the lands. 5 Those who are near and those who are far from you will mock you, you of ill repute, full of turmoil.’” (Ezek 22:3-5)
And even though this is but a sample of the kinds of things scripture shows us about God’s view of this topic, we could easily spend the next 4, 5, or even 6 hours going through verse, after verse, after verse of how He explicitly states and declares His complete abhorrence of murder and the unjustifiable ending of an innocent human life.
So the truth is clear …… according to God … murder is wrong.
Now, just like a host of other sins that God declares to be wrong, just because God says it … it doesn’t mean everyone else is going to agree with Him. Therefore, a criminal despot like Vladimir Lenin may disagree with God’s standard of truth about murder, and the taking of innocent human life — which is why he was able to successfully murder some 4 million people in his own country back during his murderous reign over the Russian people in the early 1900’s.
And his complementary successor, Joseph Stalin, was also cut from the exact same Communist cloth, but even more so! So he continued the murderous rampage of his own countrymen, but he did so with such fervor and vehemence, he ended up truly becoming the world’s biggest mass murderer of all time! During his maniacal rampage and lust for unbridled power, Stalin methodically murdered some 42 Million innocent human beings — all because his standard of truth concerning the taking of a human life was driven by his own subjective, amoral ideologies.
And of course rulers, leaders, kings, and queens from nearly every epoch of human existence have done exactly the same. God says murder is wrong and they say, “Oh no it’s not.” For their own glory, their own survival, their own lust for power, greed, and fame … they’ve twisted and contorted God’s truth and exchanged it for a lie, a lie that comes straight from the wicked heart of man and the ruthless god of this world.
But just because a king says it, or a Communist dictator says it, or because a government says it, it doesn’t make it true. They can tell you that it’s okay, and even LEGAL to end another human life, but it doesn’t make it true.
So again, God is clear about His opinion of the unjustified ending of a human life … it’s murder … and it’s wrong. And no philosophical debate, governmental regulation, or academic protest is ever going to change that.
So… that leads us to the following question then, “If God is completely against murder, is the abortion of a pre-born child an act of murder?”
Now I know this isn’t particularly a fun or popular discussion to be having nowadays, and I’m sure it has the huge potential of getting me branded by at least one person as an intolerant, insensitive, misogynistic bigot; but I have to tell you that is in no way going to stop me from discussing it because I believe it is perhaps one of the most important questions of not just our own epoch of time, but perhaps of all recorded human history.
After all, if we can’t come to a consensus on what is considered to be murder or not, then we’ve potentially got a very serious problem. For as I just stated previously, guys like Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin (to name just two men of history) starkly and brazenly show us precisely what the potential consequences are!
One minute you’re fine and the next minute the head government official of your country is declaring that it is now perfectly legal and morally okay to come kick in your door, steal all of your food and supplies, and literally starve you to death! BY THE MILLIONS!
And that’s just ONE of the things people like Stalin literally did!
But … I want us to take a big, theological and argumentative breath because to have any decent, substantive, and principled discussion about abortion in today’s society, without yelling and screaming and trying to blow up abortion clinics, or spit in the face of the opposing point of view, I think we are going to have to first establish some fundamental truth claims from which we can foundationally build upon.
A foundation which allows us to not just have a civil discussion, but to also reach the culture around us with the truth; and to do it in such a way that we aren’t repelling them with some kind of sanctimonious, self righteous excoriation. Instead, we are reaching them with the light of Jesus Christ and the life changing truths contained in His Word.
So here are the three foundational axioms that I’m am going to present to you this morning and the three truths that we will be building upon in the coming weeks:
- It is wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being.
- Aborting intentionally kills an innocent human being.
- Therefore, abortion is wrong.
This means that when you discuss abortion with the unsaved, or sadly even the saved nowadays, you aren’t going to argue whether or not you are pro “choice,” or whether or not you think it’s okay for a woman to get to decide what she does with her own body, or whether or not you agree with everything the government says is legal, or whether or not women either feel good or feel bad after having an abortion……all of those things are superfluous, diversionary principles and statements that avoid the REAL issue. They’re really just a bunch of distractions and rhetoric that don’t actually deal with the substance of what is going on.
And in today’s society, because of the absolute explosion of information and technology, and the enormous influence of the post modern ideology flooding our campuses, homes, and airwaves, you can no longer just bury your head in the sand and ask someone else to do all the hard work for you. YOU are going to have to take your discipleship with Christ seriously, and take what you BELIEVE just as seriously.
In the Marine Corps we used to have a saying, “Every man a Rifleman.” In other words, regardless of what your actual occupation and M.O.S. was, you were going to be instilled with all of the foundational principles and mental faculties you would ever need to be able to pick up a rifle at any time, and put it to good use against the enemy.
Well, nowadays, I think churches and church leadership all over this nation should be telling their attendees, “Every man an APOLOGIST!” Because now, more than ever, it is extremely important for each and every single Christian breathing God’s gracious air to be able to provide the lost and dying all around them, “…a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3:15)
So we’re not just trying to make or win an argument, we are trying to state something that is both persuasive and winsome.
Therefore, if a co-worker, or neighbor, or some dude I meet at the park asks me, “Hey Marc, what are your thoughts about abortion?” I’m going to simply respond by saying, “Well, here’s what I believe. It is wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being. Abortion intentionally kills an innocent human life. Therefore, abortion is wrong.”
What those three very simple, acute, and definitive statements do is take the discussion from emotional rhetoric and vitriolic excoriations and force the discussion to be about the substantive issue that really matters.
And for the subsequent remainder of this series, that’s exactly what we are going to do. We are going to break down these foundational truth claims step by step and provide ourselves with some defensible answers and winsome counterpoints to the likely arguments and discordant opinions, you are going to hear and receive, during any discussion you may have on this all too important topic of the termination of a pre-born child’s life.
See you in part two.