The Sanctity Of Human Life

The Sanctity Of Human Life

More than 60M abortions since 1973. That is equivalent to the populations of California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and Nevada combined! Imagine every human being in those states disappearing. That is roughly 19% of the population of the United States today.

I don’t typically preach topical sermons, but today is the 50th Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade and the first year since the Supreme Court of the United States overturned it. It seemed like an appropriate year to join with many churches around the nation who are recognizing our need to continue to battle in this most crucial ethical war of the last several centuries.

Moral issues that are culturally controversial don’t disappear, but they do tend to swing in the direction of those who are the most vocal. Now is not the time to go silent. At the same time, there is really nothing to gloat about. Despite the fact that Roe vs. Wade has been overturned, more than 90% of planned abortions are still taking place in America. Those who want an abortion can find the means to get one.

While we should celebrate the overturning of any unjust laws in our nation, we ultimately want to see our nation repent. We pray that advocates of abortion would begin to promote the sanctity of human life. While I do think a scientific and philosophical case can be made for the pro-life position, it is the biblical case that I want to discuss today. The unfortunate reality is that seven out of ten women who receive an abortion identify themselves as Christian. 

The Christian Church has not adequately equipped our children to value life more than their reputation. They would rather end the life of their unborn child than suffer the humiliation of an unplanned pregnancy.

When we rightly understand the value of life we will truly praise the Giver of life.

Read Psalm 139:13-16.

God Made Us In the  Womb  (Ps. 139:13-16)

God formed us… קנה typically means to buy or acquire. Because God formed us, we belong to him. Only God can give life, and only he has the right to take life.

Job speaks of the value of his servants based upon the fact that the same God made them both in the womb (Job 31:15). They have equal value before the God, to whom they owe their existence.

In these verses, David specifically credits God with creating three things:

1. “unformed substance” = embryo

2. “frame” = skeletal system

3. “inward parts” = internal organs

3,000 years ago, David knew—through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit—what science has now confirmed through medical technology.

Dr. Steve Jacobs recently surveyed 5,577 professors in biology departments from over 1,000 institutions around the world…96% of them affirmed the view that human life begins at fertilization. That is when a distinct human being begins to form.

Let us take a moment to marvel at the miracle of life:

Within 24hrs — The zygote divides and multiplies, and continues to do so every 12 to 15 hours.

By week 2 — Three layers can be differentiated: 1.) Inner — breathing and digestive organs 2.) Middle — bones, muscles, organs 3.) Outside — skin and nerves.

22 Days — Heart starts beating, before most women know they’re pregnant. Individual cells begin to contract > synchronize contractions > heart develops at 1M cells/sec w/ blood totally separate from mother’s.

32 Days — Begins developing arms and hands.

40 Days — Brain waves are measurable.

42 Days — Vertebrae begins forming.

By week 8 — All major organs are working. Babies can feel.

By week 11 — Smiles and frowns.

By week 13 — Sensitive to light and sound. Responds to music, loud noises, and mother’s voice.

By week 17 — Rapid Eye Movement, dreaming.

Full-term — 60,000 miles of vessels working to bring nutrients in and dispose of waste.

David models the only appropriate response to the miracle of life…namely, to give God praise. When we wonder at the intricate design of humanity we ought to acknowledge the Designer. Despite all of the scientific advancements that have given us a peak into the process of human development, there remain mysteries. All we can do is praise God that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.”

It’s easy to praise God in church, but will you praise him when you are with family, friends, and neighbors who prioritize choice over life? When the lives of unborn children are devalued, will you stand up for biblical truth? When these issues are on the ballot will you be sure to vote? Will you volunteer at the Pregnancy Care Center? Will you pray on the sidewalk at Planned Parenthood just down the street?

Your prayers, your voices, your gifts are needed and they do make a difference. Even when the broader culture won’t listen, you can impact one woman’s decision to give one more child an opportunity to live.

› Not only did God form us with intricate beauty, but he gave humans an inherent value that is unique among his creatures.

God Made Us In His  Image  (Gen. 1:26-28)

The inherent value of all human life is based upon their unique privilege of being made in the the image of God. From a Christian worldview, this is an essential feature of humanity. The image of God gives us an innate recognition of the preference given to man over the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, and the beasts of the earth.

The value of humans is not in what they are capable of doing, but who they are and what they represent under God. They have equal worth and intrinsic dignity. From a biblical perspective, a human who is able to physically accomplish more does not have greater value under God.

This intrinsic dignity—based upon their bearing the image of God—is why murder is forbidden. The life of every human being is far more precious than the life of any animal. However, when someone unjustly takes the life of another, they reveal their own disregard for this fundamental value. Thus, due to their egregious trespass of God’s moral law, they forfeit their own right to life.

Genesis 9:6 ESV

“Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.

This is restated in the sixth commandment, “You shall not murder” (Ex 20:13). Multiple passages speak to the evil of shedding innocent blood (Ex 23:7Prov 6:16-19Mt 5:21). An attack upon someone who is made in the image of God is an attack upon God.

Princeton professor, Peter Singer, makes the secular utilitarian argument that “the life of an adult pig deserves protection more than that of a new born human baby, and…the parents should be free to kill their young children already born if they deem them unacceptably disabled.” Singer readily admits that life begins at conception or, at the latest, within fourteen days of conception. But he says that he does not think “the fact that an embryo is a living human being is sufficient to show that it is wrong to kill it.”

While Singer’s argument has not successfully won over the hearts of most Americans, there is a growing sense that abortion—for any reason—should be celebrated. When a woman chooses her education or career over the life of her child, she is praised as a role model for all young women. 

Secular academics and Hollywood celebrities have flipped the Christian worldview on its head. They value animals more than they value humans. And, increasingly, they aren’t ashamed to admit that abortion destroys human life. They have exchanged the glory of the immortal God for every kind of sinful alternative imaginable (Rom 1:28-32). And as they teach others to do the same, they are desensitizing us to a culture of death.

But there is hope that a pro-life sentiment can be restored. In 1999, 21-week-old fetus, Samuel Armas, was operated on for spina bifida. Chuck Colson described it this way, As the surgeon was closing the womb, the miracle happened. Baby Samuel pushed his hand out of the womb and grabbed the surgeon’s finger. Photographer Michael Clancy caught this astonishing act on film. And in that instant, Clancy went from being pro-choice to being pro-life. As he put it, “I was totally in shock for two hours after the surgery. . . . I know abortion is wrong now – it’s absolutely wrong.”

We ought to pray and expect hearts to be softened to this truth. It is a reality that everyone intuitively knows (Rom 2:14-15), but constantly suppresses by their unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18). We ought to recognize that changing minds on this issue will result in saving lives. Turning abortion-minded women away from Planned Parenthood fulfills…

Proverbs 24:11–12 ESV

Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?

Those of us who still adhere to a Christian value for human life must have the dignity to challenge those who seek to destroy that dignity. John Ensor gives the following example:

“In Siboney, Cuba, five women, one of whom is a doctor, banded together to end abortion in their small town. They call themselves, Soplo de Vida (Breath of Life). They rush to every home where there is a pregnancy-related crisis. Using a hand-held ultrasound and an iPad, they provide her whole family a window to the womb, and promise help. In 2017, the local hospital recorded 28 abortions. [The following] year, they recorded three.”

› God made us in the womb. God made us in his image. Finally…

God Made Us For His  Glory  (Lk. 1:26-44)

We don’t have time to read this whole passage, but I want to point out a few important details.

1. Jesus was a human son from his conception (vv.31). Admittedly, Mary experienced a one-of-a-kind miraculous conception from the Holy Spirit (v.35), but Elizabeth also conceived a son in her old age (v.36). No human in Scripture ever conceives anything other than a human child. They don’t conceive blobs of tissue, or clumps of cells. They conceive sons and daughters.

2. Mary “went with haste” to visit Elizabeth (v.39-40). It was probably less than two weeks from her conception (the roughly 100mi journey could be done in 5-6 days). John the Baptist, 6-months in the womb, leaps in Elizabeth’s womb when Mary arrives (v.41a). So a 6-month-old fetus is worshiping a 2-week-old fetus (smaller than a period). 

3. And this results in the older woman, Elizabeth, blessings her younger cousin, Mary (vv.41b-45). Not only is John a human child within the womb, but he is actually accomplishing what every human is created for—giving glory to God. And his mother says that he “leaped for joy”. His chief end was to glorify God and enjoy him forever—and we know that he was accomplishing that at least three months before he was born!

The angel Gabriel told Zechariah that his son, John, would “make ready for the Lord a people prepared” (v.17). His role was to lead people to repent and prepare them to follow Jesus. We are all called to give glory to God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Romans 11:36 ESV

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

When we rightly understand the value of life we will truly praise the Giver of life.

1. Let us unashamedly celebrate the beauty of life at all stages of development, from conception to death!

2. Let us proclaim the unique value inherent to all humans who are made in the image of God!

3. Let us seek to glorify the giver of life by doing whatever we can to promote life among our family, friends, and neighbors!