The Sanctity of Life

Garrett Clawson | January 25, 2021 Culture Creation, Current Events, Image of God, Imago Dei, Men, Sin, , , Women

“God loves creating and giving life. He took the dark and shapeless earth He created on the first day and showered it in light. He planted seeds in the ground and gave them everything they needed to blossom and grow. He carved out oceans and filled them with creatures of all shapes, sizes, and functions. He covered the globe with animals, plants, birds, and insects. While our planetary neighbors are haunted, desolate worlds hostile to life, our world is teeming with it. God declared this abundance of life ‘good’ and commanded His creatures to ‘be fruitful and multiply’ for His glory (Genesis 1:22 ESV), but His creative work had yet to reach its crescendo.

God surveyed His world and decided to create man and woman—beings formed in His very own image, creatures designed to live in relationship with Him, rule over His creation, and represent Him by loving and living like Him. Adam and Eve were the pinnacle of God’s work, very signatures of the divine. God told the couple to ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth …’ with their progeny as well, so that His glory and their flourishing would only continue to expand (Genesis 1:28 ESV).

But the perfect harmony God established in the garden of Eden did not last. When Adam and Eve disobeyed Him for the very first time, sin came crashing into our world. Its effects were both overwhelming and immediate, shattering the peace and unity we had with God, creation, others, and ourselves. Our hearts became wicked, determined to elevate the self whenever and however possible. Comfort, approval, control, and power became more precious to us than God’s glory and the prosperity of our neighbors. Fellow image-bearers became pawns to be used and commodities to be exploited. The poison of sin fundamentally altered the human experience.

In fact, ‘all that we call human history,’ writes C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity, ‘money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery’ has been ‘the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.’

Another tragic element of that ‘long terrible story’ is abortion. And while abortion is often understood to be a modern phenomenon, it has been practiced by societies for thousands of years. Though it looks different today than in the Greco-Roman world, the enticing promises of liberation, freedom, security, and independence remain the same. Just as the enemy whispered to Eve in the garden of Eden, believers and non-believers alike are still vulnerable to his deceit today (2 Corinthians 11:3 ESV). He finds women in the midst of deep confusion, hurt, and anger and tempts them to believe they need an abortion to avoid judgment, build a career, be financially secure, obtain equality with men, or even to survive. He convinces men they have no place in the abortion discussion and that standing by as women choose abortion is a loving, respectful thing to do.

Though Satan champions abortion as an instrument of empowerment, we know it as a tool of death and oppression. Satan, the Father of Lies, desires only to kill, steal, and destroy. He relishes the spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional devastation abortion leaves in its wake. And even in this moment, Scripture tells us that Satan ‘prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour’ (1 Peter 5:8 ESV).

Satan loathes the imago Dei with every fiber of his being. Every person is a portrait of the God he hates, a reminder that his reign is limited and his defeat is inevitable. He is wholly devoted to ensuring that anything capable of bringing God glory—healthy families, flourishing marriages, men, women, and children—is torn down and destroyed. Abortion is one of his favorite tools to this end. It strips people of their humanity, incentivizes exploitation, and enables oppressors. It is a direct assault on God and the people He made.

As followers of Jesus, we are invited to participate in the Lord’s redemptive plan. He gives us the opportunity to labor alongside Him as He pushes back darkness, executes justice, and brings life to the lost and healing to the wounded and weary. As Christ’s earthly ambassadors, believers must serve and defend the voiceless and marginalized in such a way that the unbelieving world cannot help but see God’s heart for women and the unborn.

Believers must be among the first to defend the unborn, to advocate for those in the womb unable to defend or speak up for themselves. At the same time, those of us who have personally experienced the grace and forgiveness of Christ must also be the first to extend it to others. God has surrounded us with neighbors to care for—vulnerable pregnant women, struggling single parents, mothers victimized by the abortion industry, and helpless children trapped in a revolving door of foster homes.

The gospel is serious about justice and mercy. It demands repentance from sin and an end to abortion. It also invites the post- abortive woman, the coercive partner, the apathetic bystander, and even the unloving pro-life activist into new life—a life filled with the unmatched peace, joy, and love of Jesus.  It is with this approach that Christians can show the world not just what they are against, but what they are for: a world in which everyone, from the zygote to the geriatric, can become all that God made them to be.

This is no small task. The culture of death that abortion perpetuates is pervasive and deeply entrenched. As Christians, we must remember that our ultimate fight is not against pro-choice advocates or abortionists but ‘against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places’ (Ephesians 6:12 ESV). Our enemy is a powerful master of manipulation and expert in deception. Though we are unable to take the enemy on alone, the same Holy Spirit that hovered over the waters in Genesis 1 and indwelt the apostles empowers each and every believer today. He alone restores seared consciences, gives healing to wounded hearts, and brings gospel life to dry, weary bones (John 8:12; 10:28 ESV). It is only with His help that we are able to push back darkness, end abortion, and repair the damage that has already been done.”

“The Sanctity of Life” is a primer on the inherent dignity of all people, and some of the ways The Austin Stone is working to protect the unborn while loving, empowering, and ministering to those affected by abortion. This resource walks through the history of abortion from Ancient Greece to modern times, examines our church’s view of abortion, looks at God’s response to abortion, and details the dimensions of abortion as an event that affects every aspect of our lives and communities.

To read the full resource, please click the button below.

Read 'The Sanctity of Life' Primer

If you have questions about this resource, please reach out to your congregation pastor or connect with us at communications@austinstone.org. It is our joy to be present with you as we seek to love our city through the ministry of the sanctity of life.