April 9, 2020
While shelter in place and stay at home orders caused by the coronavirus have limited some forms of pro-life work, Christians should use this time to reflect on a needed change in their mindset to end abortion. We should continue to aim to eradicate abortion by making it illegal and unthinkable. But as Easter approaches, we should be especially reminded that we live in a sinful world and our work to end injustice may never be completed until Jesus comes again. If we believe that we can purge our world of sin, we buy into the lie that our world can be made perfect, and we will get burned out in our efforts to love our littlest neighbors and seek justice on their behalf.
We live in a fallen, Genesis 3 world which means there can be no return to a sinless Eden. Unfortunately, this means that abortion may continue to exist in some form until Jesus returns. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament affirm that everyone is sinful. In Romans 3, Paul references Psalm 14 by saying, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” He more explicitly says in Romans 3:23 that, “all have sinned.” With this perspective, Christians engaged in the pro-life movement should recognize that our work to end the sin of legalized abortion may continue for the rest of our lives.
Biblically, Christians understand that abortion is condemned in God’s command explicitly prohibiting murder. Therefore, violation of this command is sin. That is why from the very beginning of the church Christians have opposed abortion and infanticide. In fact, it was the pro-life ethic of the early church that motivated them to oppose infanticide in the Roman Empire. Because of their efforts, infanticide was eventually made illegal. Early Christians were also responsible for making adoption a mainstream practice.
Although the early church did much to reinstate a culture of life in Rome, tragically, it seems that the culture in America has returned to the old pagan practice of child-sacrifice on the altar of choice. In 2018 alone, Planned Parenthood murdered 345,672 babies through abortion. To a Christian, this shouldn’t surprise us. A sinful world will continue to sin until Christ returns.
This raises an important question: how should the reality of sin influence our perspective on ending abortion in America?
First, we should not believe the lie that our efforts are futile and thus quit fighting for justice (or for some, refuse to start). If pro-life advocacy failed to save even one unborn baby, it would still be imperative that we follow God’s command to do justice and advocate for the lives of the unborn. But having a proper understanding of sin requires that we refuse another subconscious lie that tells us our world can be made perfect. Romans 8:22 reminds us that “the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth.” Only after the judgement day when God has gathered all believers into His kingdom will He “wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore” (Rev. 21:4).
Our job as Christians isn’t to make the world perfect. Our job is to honor God. By obeying His commands to share the gospel, love our neighbors, and act justly towards every person, we are honoring God, showing our love for Him, and preserving His image in our world as reflected by His people. Because of these commands, Christians have a duty to advocate for the life of our littlest and most vulnerable neighbors. The best way we can seek to love our unborn neighbor as ourselves is to advocate for their life as if it were our own.
Second, Christians need to be committed to fighting the injustice of abortion. This means we aim to eradicate abortion, take whatever victories we can get, all while being aware that this fight may last us our lifetime or beyond. But we should not lose heart. We cannot quit. There is life-saving work being done across the country by local pregnancy resource centers and state legislatures. Earlier this year, President Trump became the first sitting president to address the March for Life. The pro-life movement is seeing progress! But while we are seeing progress, we know the abortion lobby and the culture of death will not bow out without a fight. Thus, having a biblically informed perspective on fighting this injustice will help prevent us from getting burned out. While we should pray and fight for a day when abortion is illegal and rare, we must realize that God has already ordained that day when He judges the world, and sin as we know it is no more.
In this Easter season, Christians remember and celebrate the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. For those of us engaged in the pro-life movement, Easter reminds us that our ultimate hope is the victory that Christ won on the cross. But we also remember that as we live in “the time between the times,” between Jesus’ first and second comings, there is gospel work for us to do. So, as we share the message of His death and resurrection, of His forgiveness and His desire to see the world reconciled to Him, we also commit ourselves to obeying His commandments, which include loving our unborn neighbor and seeking their justice, knowing that at the end of time, He will make it so that “death shall be no more.”
Adelaide Holmes is an intern for Life, Culture, and Women’s Advocacy at Family Research Council.