The Christian and the Sanctity of Life

The Christian and the Sanctity of Life

Text:Psalm 139:13-16

Opening: This morning I want to talk to you about the sanctity of life. As Christians, we believe that human beings are created by God in His image. Therefore, every person, from conception to natural death, possesses inherent dignity and immeasurable worth—including preborn children, elderly individuals, those with special needs and others marginalized by society. Christians, then, are called to defend, protect, and value all human life. In short, human life is sacred and respect for human life should be at the center of all we do (From the Sanctity of Life Ethic — Focus on the Family).

There are at least two hot topics that come to mind when we think about the sanctity of life. The first is euthanasiathe deliberate, usually painless killing of someone who is deemed to be terminally ill and have no hope of recoveryand the second is abortionthe deliberate termination of a human pregnancy. This morning, I want to focus on abortion, but recognize that if we believe in the sanctity of life from the moment of conception until a person suffers a natural death, then as Christians we must reject euthanasia as well. In the Bible, only God and human government have authority to take a human life. An example of God doing so is the story of Ananias and Sapphira who lied to the Holy Spirit and were struck dead because of it – Acts 5:1-10. Governments are also given permission to “bear the sword” according to Romans 13:4but is limited to taking lives to secure peace and justice for its people. The primary biblical text that addresses euthanasia is Exodus 20:13 – You shall not commit murder. This commandment, written on the hearts of all of us (Romans 2:15 — … the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness), tells us that intentionally terminating a human life without moral consent from God is wrong. One more thought related to euthanasia – there is a crucial difference between killing and letting someone die from natural causes without interfering in the process. The first requires some kind of action on the part of a person to bring about death in another. The second does not. When it comes to these kinds of situations we should always intervene and try to help a person recover if possible. However, there are times when death is imminent, there is nothing else that can be doneand the patient’s wish is to be allowed to die, that it is not considered a deliberate termination of human life.  

Abortion is an even more hotly debated topic in America. Since 1973, when the Supreme Court made it legal, abortion has become one of, if not themost polarizing issue in our country. The vast majority of us have chosen a side and believe either that it is a woman’s right to decide for herself whether or not she will keep the baby or that the child in her womb has a right to life regardless of the mother’s position. The discussion on abortion has far reaching implications on things like…the feminist movement. Many women are afraid that if they lose the right to abort children, that will signal a serious loss of the gains they’ve achieved for themselves…the discussion of the separation of church and stateis also being fueled by the abortion conflict. People on both sides of the debate fear a loss of constitutional rights. The church is worried that the government may force us to violate our convictions by financing abortions. Pro-Choice people worry that they government will be unduly influenced by religious views and lose objectivity…others link the abortion issue to the fundamental constitutional right to lifewhile others to the freedom of choice. It turns out that most Americans favor abortion in most cases (58% according to the Pew Research Center — 2018). Many tend to express their opinion like this: “I would not choose to have an abortion, but I would not force my view on someone else.” So where should we come down on this debate? Over next half hour, join me as I attempt to summarize the Pro-Choice View, what the Bible teaches about it, some other Pro-Life arguments and three myths about abortion.

  1. The Case for Abortion. The Pro-Choice movement argues for awoman’s right over her own body. Many who favor abortion take offense when their position is referred to as “pro-abortion” as it implies favoring it over childbirth. These people argue that they would rather be thought of as supporting “reproductive freedom,” which permits the pregnant woman to make her own choice on the matter. They see themselves as demonstrating concern for the quality of life for many of the pregnant women who because of their marital and economic status are already at a great disadvantage, not to mention the potential suffering of the unwanted children they bring into the world. If the country were to make abortion illegal again, it would only subject women to back-alley butchers, which according to one sourcewas the leading cause of death of pregnant women before abortion was declared to be a constitutional right. Besides most Americans reject the absolutist position that it is always wrong to terminate a pregnancy. In the case of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in jeopardy, 3 out of 4 overwhelmingly favor it (Interestingly — only 7% of women who have had abortions cited one of these three situations as their reason for doing so).

For Christians, any moral question first demands a careful inspection of the Scriptures, the study of which is profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness(2 Timothy 3:16).

  1. The Biblical Teaching on Abortion.
  2. God’s involvement in the life of a person extends to life in the womb(Psalm 139:13-16 — For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them). The Psalmist acknowledges God’s handiwork in fashioning him in the womb. It is noteworthy that the Hebrew word translated as “unformed substance” is the word for “embryo,” a word which recognizes the early stages of human development. God recognizes the same thing In Jeremiah 1:5where we read that the prophet was set apart before birth to be God’s servant, indicating that God recognizes the sanctity(sacred purpose) of life in the womb(Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations).
  3. Man’s accountability to God extends to life in the womb(Psalm 51:5 — Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me). In this passage, King David acknowledges his sinful heart at having committed adultery and murder that was in him from the very point of conception. If David believed he was morally accountable even while inside his mother, we must ask, “How can a mass of tissue be held accountable to God?” Only a real person can be judged for his sinful nature.
  4. Man’s ability to exhibit mental awareness and emotion extends to life in the womb(Luke 1:41-44 — And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy). Since John the Baptist’s role was to prepare the Jews for the coming of Christ, his response to Mary demonstrates that he was already fulfilling his God-ordained purpose for his own mother while still inside her womb.
  5. God’s protection of people extends to life in the womb(Exodus 21:22-25 —“When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe). The normal reading of this passage makes it clear that God considers the life inside a mother’s womb to have value equal to those have already been born. Application: So, here’s what we can conclude from these passages addressing children still inside their mother’s wombs: (1) children are formed by God, (2) they accountable to Him, (3) they demonstrate mental and emotional awarenessand (4) are protected by the laws of God. It seems pretty clear that God views life as having begun inside the mother’s womb! Any attempt, therefore, to end a child’s life while inside its mother Is an offense against God and is viewed as the deliberate taking of a human life made in the image of God without divine justification(Exodus 20:13 – You shall not commit murder).
  • Other Arguments against Abortion.
  1. Normal Development– Even if, as Pro-Choice people argue, it cannot be proven that a fetus is an actual living human person, there is no doubt that it is a potential human person everyone agrees on this.In other words, left to the natural developmental process inside a mother’s womb, the child willbecome a complete human being unless something goes awry. Now given this fact and the notion that God prohibits murder(Genesis 9:6 — Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image)and therefore places a premium on life, it is our responsibility to do everything we can to promote and protect life.In the case of the unborn, this requires that we do take every possible action to allow the baby inside the mother to grow and develop so as to have the best possible chance of survival.
  2. Dependence vs. Independence– You may have spoken to a Pro-Choice person who reasoned that because the unborn fetus is totally dependent on the body of the woman for its life support and is physically attached to her by the placenta and umbilicus, it is not yet an independent being capable of sustaining life on its own. Given the child’s complete reliance on the mother, she is the only one who should be permitted the right to decide whether or not to terminate the life inside of her. This argument breaks down quickly, however, when we consider that once a child is born he or she continues to be completely dependent upon the mother (or another caregiver) for its survival, yet at that point if the baby’s life was taken by another, that action would meet the legal definition of murder in our country.
  3. Freedom of Choice– It’s important to recognize that no one is absolutely free to do whatever he or she desires. Our laws often restrict the freedoms of some to protect the rights of others. Would anyone want to argue that a rapist should be able to carry out his evil desires because no one has the right to tell him he can’t? That would be foolish and extremely dangerous. Many laws exist to protect the innocent from becoming victims of these kinds of crimes. Consenting men and women do have the freedom to choose whether or not they want to contend with a potentially unwanted pregnancy. They can abstain from sexual expression until they are ready to be parents or take precautions to greatly reduce the likelihood of conceiving a child. What most want, however, is the freedom to do whatever they desire when it comes to their sex lives, without having to deal with any potentially life-altering consequences. Abortion is simply another way of enabling people to live immorally without restraints or responsibilities. This is a myth, however, as eventually we must all give an account of themselves to God (1 Peter 4:3-5 —The time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. 4 With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; 5 but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead).

The Myths of Abortion.

  1. Myth #1 – Abortion will solve your problem. The truth is that an abortion creates more problems than it solves.According to the website, afterabortion.org, the best record-based study, commissioned in 1997 by the government of Finland found that women who abort are four times more likely to die the following year than those who carry their babies to full term. These same women were 2.3 times more like to get certain kinds of cancer during their lifetimes. In addition, the scarring and other injuries that can occur during an abortion prevent or place at risk future pregnancies. Even the risk of miscarriage is greater for women who abort their first baby. There is also an emotional impact. In fact, a new term has been coined (PAS—Post-Abortion Stress) to identify some of the emotional baggage the remains long after the procedure has been completed. Mothers who have aborted their children battle guilt, anger, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and even eating disorders as a result of their decision. And don’t think fathers are unaffected. They battle anger over their inability to prevent the abortion or massive guilt over having pressured woman to have one. Surprisingly many of these men also suffer from a sense of loss.
  2. Myth #2 – Abortion is not going away. At one time people said the same thing about slavery, yet the Lord raised up men and women who brought an end to it in America. Here’s some things you can do:
  3. Vote for Pro-Life Political Candidates.
  4. Support Crisis Pregnancy Centers. They provide women with alternatives to abortion and support them during their pregnancies.
  5. Prayfor God’s favor in overturning Roe vs. Wade. In Matthew 19:26, Jesus told His disciples,” withGod all things are possible.”
  6. Love and care for those caught in crisis pregnancies. Volunteer with organizations like Crisis Pregnancy Centersand Teen Mother Choicesthat are devoted to the physical, emotional and spiritual growth of teenage mothers.
  7. Myth #3 – Abortion is the unpardonable sin. It is simply not true. Both the Old and New Testament confirm that God is ready and willing to forgive your sin (See Isaiah 43:25; 1 Peter 3:18). This forgiveness comes through repentance(rejecting any kind of self-righteousness) and turning in faithto Christ (Colossians 1:13-14 —God has rescued us from the power of darkness and has brought us into the kingdom of his Son, whom he loves. His Son paid the price to free us, which means that our sins are forgiven).

Conclusion:Author Max Lucadotells the story of being dropped by his insurance company because he had one too many speeding tickets and a minor fender bender that wasn’t his fault. One day he received a letter in the mail, informing him to seek coverage elsewhere. As he reflected on how he wasn’t good enough for his insurance company, the spiritual tie-in was too obvious. “Many people fear receiving such a letter [from God],” Lucado writes. “Some worry they already have.” Lucado then imagines this correspondence, straight from the Pearly Gates Underwriting Division: Dear Mrs. Smith, I’m writing in response to this morning’s request for forgiveness. I’m sorry to inform you that you have reached your quota of sins. Our records show that, since employing our services, you have erred seven times in the area of greed, and your prayer life is substandard when compared to others of like age and circumstance. Further review reveals that your understanding of Christian doctrine is in the lower 20 percentile and you have excessive tendencies to gossip. Because of your sins you are a high-risk candidate for heaven. You understand that grace has its limits. Jesus sends his regrets and kindest regards and hopes that you will find some other form of coverage.I’M HERE TODAY TO INFORM YOU THAT IF YOU HAVE COME TO JESUS, REPENTED OF YOUR SINS (YES…EVEN EUTHANASIA AND ABORTION) AND SOUGHT HIS FORGIVENESS THROUGH FAITH, HE WILL NEVER SEND YOU A LETTER LIKE THIS. HE WILL NEVER CANCEL YOUR ETERNAL LIFE POLICY BECAUSE JESUS PAID FOR IT IN FULL!