A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below.
She shouted to him, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”
The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, “You’re in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above a ground elevation of 2346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude.”
She rolled her eyes and said, “You must be a Republican.”
“I am,” replied the man. “How did you know?”
“Well,” answered the balloonist, ” everything you told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to do with your information, and I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help to me”
The man smiled and responded, “You must be a Democrat.”
“I am,” replied the balloonist. “How did you know?”
“Well,” said the man, “you don’t know where you are or where you are going. You’ve risen to where you are, due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise that you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. You’re in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but, somehow, now it’s my fault.”
The judges on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals have used a case from Cobb County, Ga., to proclaim that praying “in Jesus’ name” is acceptable at county board meetings when other constitutional provisions are followed.
The ruling this week sets up a conflict with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which concluded in an opinion written by ex-Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor that city officials properly excluded from a rotation of leaders for opening prayers at a municipal meeting a pastor who prayed “in Jesus’ name.”
“Finally an appeals court with some common sense has ruled what I’ve been saying all along. The government cannot parse the content of anybody’s prayer, nor forbid prayers offered ‘in Jesus’ name’ in legislative bodies, or by government chaplains,” said Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt.
Next major point: What other name is there to pray under? There is only One Mediator. That is Jesus Christ, therefore to pray in any other name, or in an absence of a name, is to mumble words in public. That is not prayer at all. If we are going to approach God at all, we must do so through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Without that, we have no entrance into the Holy of Holies. He does not hear our prayers, because they are not done in Christ’s righteousness.
Since this is the case, why bother to have prayer apart from the name of Christ?
This is why I believe we should refuse to bow to any other religion when it comes to prayer. I know the Muslims will often ask and require Christians not to pray in Jesus’ name when the two groups gather together. To agree to this is a betrayal of Christ. It is not in the interest of the Muslims or anyone else, but a betrayal of Him. He does not save us in order to allow us to bow to other gods. He saves us to stand and witness for Him. Refusing His name is not doing that, but turning our backs on Him in the interest of man-made ecumenicalism.
If we want to pray, as all true believers should, then we must pray in His name. That shows our allegiance with Christ, and our submission to Him. When we pray in His name, we are confessing our need for a Mediator. We are agreeing with the Father that we must approach Him through the sacrifice and atoning work of His Son. We are agreeing that we are sinners, and have no right to enter His presence, apart from the Son. To pray in any other name, or apart from a name, is completely foolish.
We certainly don’t need the court’s approval to do so.
2 Corinthians 5:14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died.
Charles Hodge writes:
“‘The love of Christ (compels) us.’It coerces, or presses, and therefore impels. It is the governing influence which controls the life. This is a trait of Paul’s experience as a Christian, and is therefore common to all Christians.
“It is not benevolence which makes a man a Christian, for then all philanthropist would be Christians. Nor is it mere piety, in the sense of reverence for God, which makes a man a Christian, for then all devout (Muslims) and Jews would be Christians. Morality does not make us religious, but religion makes us moral. In like manner benevolence and piety (in the wide sense) do not make men Christians, but Christianity makes them benevolent and devout. A Christian is one who recognizes Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God, as God manifested in the flesh, loving us and dying for our redemption; and who is so affected by a sense of the love this incarnate God as to be constrained to make the will of Christ the rule of his obedience, and the glory of Christ the great end for which he lives.
“The man who does this perfectly, is a perfect Christian. The man who does it imperfectly, yet with the sincere desire to be entirely devoted to Christ, is a sincere Christian. On the other hand, the man who lives supremely for himself, for his family, for science, for the world, for mankind, whatever else he may be, is not a Christian… The great question is, What constitutes a Christian? It is being so constrained by a sense of the love of our divine Lord to us, that we consecrate our lives to him.”
Sent to me from one of my elders… so that men and women can understand one another…
“With thee is the fountain of life.”
There are times in our spiritual experience when human counsel or sympathy, or religious ordinances, fail to comfort or help us. Why does our gracious God permit this? Perhaps it is because we have been living too much without him, and he therefore takes away everything upon which we have been in the habit of depending, that he may drive us to himself. It is a blessed thing to live at the fountain head. While our skin- bottles are full, we are content, like Hagar and Ishmael, to go into the wilderness; but when those are dry, nothing will serve us but “Thou God seest me.” We are like the prodigal, we love the swine-troughs and forget our Father’s house. Remember, we can make swine-troughs and husks even out of the forms of religion; they are blessed things, but we may put them in God’s place, and then they are of no value. Anything becomes an idol when it keeps us away from God: even the brazen serpent is to be despised as “Nehushtan,” if we worship it instead of God. The prodigal was never safer than when he was driven to his father’s bosom, because he could find sustenance nowhere else. Our Lord favors us with a famine in the land that it may make us seek after himself the more. The best position for a Christian is living wholly and directly on God’s grace—still abiding where he stood at first—“Having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” Let us never for a moment think that our standing is in our sanctification, our mortification, our graces, or our feelings, but know that because Christ offered a full atonement, therefore we are saved; for we are complete in him. Having nothing of our own to trust to, but resting upon the merits of Jesus—his passion and holy life furnish us with the only sure ground of confidence. Beloved, when we are brought to a thirsting condition, we are sure to turn to the fountain of life with eagerness.
You know your football team is terrible when you look for moral victories. Case in point: A&M was leading Texas Tech, the number 7 team in the country, at half time 23-20. That lead quickly disappeared in the second half and was never regained as Tech beat A&M 43-25. It’s hard living with lousy sports teams!
The first farmer, Farmer John, prayed, and then went and prepared his fields and waited on the LORD.
The second man, Farmer Bob, thinking him self extremely smart, approached “THE MAN” for a guaranteed farm loan. He indebted himself to “THE MAN” and then stopped off at the Tractor Supply Company to purchase a Briggs and Stratton irrigation pump, which he quickly set in the midst of his field, pumping many of gallons of water up from the ground.
The Farmer John continued to pray, trusting in the LORD, walking by faith in Him. He watched his neighbor scurrying about, and even saw the man’s crop come long before his did. It caused Farmer John to question his faith, to ask the LORD the hard questions like, “why O Lord, do the wicked prosper?” The LORD did not answer those questions, but He did bring the rain and all that he needed to live, work and provide for his family.
Both men’s crops came up. Farmer John, barely had enough to make it to the following season, while Farmer Bob prospered greatly. He was even featured on the ever-so-popular Farmer’s Monthly, and the prestigious Agrarian Quarterly. He took out more loans and invested in lots of farming equipment. With every success he had, he would take out another loan. Despite that, he became the talk of the town.
Farmer John barely having enough, gloried in the Lord’s provision. Despite the ridicule from his contemporaries, his faith deepened and he had made it through the drought without going into debt. He knew the LORD’s hand was on him, and he continued to walk with the Lord.
In due course of time, both men died. Farmer John’s funeral was attended by a few of the faithful, and hardly anyone noticed. At Farmer Bob’s funeral, many came from across the state, including the governor. Many proclaimed the greatness of Farmer Bob and made many speeches to his ingenuity, saying that he would never be forgotten in all the land. The state would miss this great farmer.
Then, both men appeared before the Lord. Farmer John appeared humbled, without much to say. Yet the LORD open up His arms to him, and welcomed him. “Lord, I don’t deserve to be here,” he said. “But you do My child. You trusted me for your salvation and every provision. By faith, you walked with Me. Now, come spend all of eternity with Me, for your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”
Farmer Bob approached the LORD and boldly spoke, “LORD, I prayed to you and had much success in life, therefore you must accept me.“
But the LORD said to him, “You did not trust me for salvation or any other provision. You turned to the world and placed your trust there. You lacked even the smallest faith. Depart from Me for I never knew you.“
The servants of the Lord came and cast Farmer Bob into outer darkness where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Meanwhile, the family of Farmer Bob ended up in poverty, for while he, made much money, he owed even more. Farmer John’s family learned to walk in faith through many struggles and trials in life, but joined him with the LORD in heaven.
Of the two farmers, which one was the wisest?
With all that is going on in politics… I thought some real encouragement was necessary. This is from Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening:
“And I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible.”
Note the glorious personality of the promise. I will, I will. The Lord Jehovah himself interposes to deliver and redeem his people. He pledges himself personally to rescue them. His own arm shall do it, that he may have the glory. Here is not a word said of any effort of our own which may be needed to assist the Lord. Neither our strength nor our weakness is taken into the account, but the lone I, like the sun in the heavens, shines out resplendent in all-sufficience. Why then do we calculate our forces, and consult with flesh and blood to our grievous wounding? Jehovah has power enough without borrowing from our puny arm. Peace, ye unbelieving thoughts, be still, and know that the Lord reigneth. Nor is there a hint concerning secondary means and causes. The Lord says nothing of friends and helpers: he undertakes the work alone, and feels no need of human arms to aid him. Vain are all our lookings around to companions and relatives; they are broken reeds if we lean upon them—often unwilling when able, and unable when they are willing. Since the promise comes alone from God, it would be well to wait only upon him; and when we do so, our expectation never fails us. Who are the wicked that we should fear them? The Lord will utterly consume them; they are to be pitied rather than feared. As for terrible ones, they are only terrors to those who have no God to fly to, for when the Lord is on our side, whom shall we fear? If we run into sin to please the wicked, we have cause to be alarmed, but if we hold fast our integrity, the rage of tyrants shall be overruled for our good. When the fish swallowed Jonah, he found him a morsel which he could not digest; and when the world devours the church, it is glad to be rid of it again. In all times of fiery trial, in patience let us possess our souls.
Andy was finishing his cereal. He ate all the Fruit Loops and picked up the bowl and slurped down the milk in the bowl. He looked at me and plopped the bowl down in front of him with a grin. Toast time! Shocked that Andy ACTUALLY ate all of his meal, I asked “Who are you?!”
Andy looked at him, pointed up and said “One of a kind!”
He certainly is!
Timothy’s Narrow World of Sports
Two issues this morning. Golf. Yes, golf. I went golfing last week as part of the PGA (Pastoral Golf Association, I’m the president. I was golfing with three other Presbyterian pastors.) We went to the lovely Mount Vintage Golf Club just north of North Augusta. It was by far, the nicest golf course I have ever played. I would rank it up there with Augusta National, but I’ve never been to Augusta National. Hopefully that will change at the next Master’s.
The point is that had one of those GREAT shots on the15th hole there. I was off the green only a few feet, but a good 35 feet from the hole. I decided to chip it up onto the green and get as close to the hole as I could, but alas, the ball defied me. It went straight in the hole. All four of us went from being Presbyterian pastors to Pentacostal tongue speakers for the next 30 seconds or so. It was truly a shot of beauty. One of those shots that is good for the memory books for a long time.
But I must give the credit to the Lord. I remembered later that I prayed before taking the shot: “Lord, help me do well…” That He did. Being the good Presbyterian that I am, I have to say that the shot was predestined before the foundations of the world to go in by Christ! So I can’t claim all that much. He get’s the glory. But it sure was sweet.
Texas Aggies Update
I have not been writing much about the Aggies lately because they are in the cellar of the Big 12. Yup! They are horrible as a team. We can say all the things we want, like “it’s a rebuilding year.” “The coach and the players are still getting to know one another.” “Coach Mike Sherman is having to play with Coach Fran’s players.” But all those are a bunch of excuses. That didn’t happen to Urban Meyer down at Florida when he arrived. He went on to win a National Championship with the other coaches players and is one of the top programs in the country. The point is that the Aggies are horrible. To my horror, I even read an article last week that said the Aggies have become the Baylor of old. That means that the Baylor of old is no longer the Baylor of old. Ouch! Baylor is better than A&M. Ouch!
This week, the Aggies play Kansas State. There is an outside chance that the Aggies can win this game. That would improve their record to 3-3. After that, there are not many teams left on the schedule that A&M has an outside chance of beating.
This is why we were so excited when they announced the 2009 football schedule last week. It gave us something to look forward to.
This is one of the most prominent statements about faith found in the Bible. We live by faith, not sight, not works, not false standards. I believe one reason we must take this statement so seriously is because we do not live by works. This is unlike any other religion on the face of the planet.
We live in a manner that requires us to put our entire trust in the person of Jesus Christ. Whether we are committed to serving in the Kingdom of Christ, or content with sitting back and soaking up goodies in the Lord, we still must live by faith.
The moment that we adopt the view that we must do something in order to please God, is the moment that we are no longer walking by faith. This is one of the hardest lessons for new Christians to learn.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard believers say something to the effect of: “I’ve got to do this (fill in the blank) in order to please God.” This is a clear sign that the believer doesn’t truly understand justification by faith alone in Christ alone, which is the central of the gospel.
When we truly look at the gospel, as you find in Romans, it’s very clear that doing anything in order to earn God’s righteousness, is a works mentality. We don’t have to do anything to please God.
If we are true believers in Christ, He is already pleased with us. He finds pleasure in His Son, and that pleasure is given to us when we trust in Him for salvation. In it’s proper view, grace leads to more service for the Lord, for we don’t have to fear messing up. He is already pleased with us because of His son.
Now, this doesn’t mean that we are to live prodigal lives. Grace, if we are truly saved, will create in us a desire for holier living.
Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
Grace is our teacher and encourages us to pursue holy living and pursue good works. Not for righteousness, or for grace, but because of grace, that leads to His righteousness, and holy living.
All this is why the just shall live by faith. Living a Christ-like and holy life requires us to live by faith, walk by faith, and do all by faith. Seeking His leading in all things.
It is after the Apostle has given us this truth, that he now turns to illustrate his point. Remember what we saw in verses 10:37-38. True faith fixes its eyes on the One who is coming. True faith trusts in Christ for His righteousness, and true faith perseveres in the face of suffering.
He begins to illustrate his point be looking at church history and the patriarchs that have lived out these truths. He will use the examples of Abel and Cain, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Gideon, Barak, Samson, David and Samuel, to make his point. He will show us how the lived by faith, as those who were justified and had the righteousness of God.
This doesn’t mean these men were sinless. But they were justified before God because of their faith in God and His promises to them.
All of them had their eyes on the coming Savior, all of them were justified by God, or counted as righteous because of their faith. All of them persevered because of faith in the midst of true and real suffering.
They were ALL true believers. But before he gets to the examples, he takes the time to help us understand faith.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for… First, he defines faith for us. This is one of the clearest explanations found in Scripture: faith is… the substance of things hoped for…
But let’s slow down. We need to recognize that faith is used in different ways throughout the New Testament. Here are four ways we see faith being used:
First, we see faith as part of the believer’s confession.
Faith as Confession
Faith is seen as our confession: Galatians 1:23 But they were hearing only, “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.”
This was Paul writing to the Galatians talking about what many of the Christian Jews were saying of him. They were excited that this man, who once tried to kill the early Christians, was preaching the faith. Faith, in this instance, was what Paul was preaching, and therefore, is a confession.
This is a reminder that our faith is confessional. We are to confess to those around us, and whom we come into contact with, that we are believers in Jesus Christ. Believe it or not, this may cause some to be surprised, or to look into the faith that we profess. We need to be busy confessing to others.
Second, we see that Jesus Christ is the Object of our Faith
In the Gospels, Jesus Christ is always the object of faith. We do not just have faith in something, but we believe in a person for salvation.
The apostle John is very clear on this point: John 20:31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
This show John’s purpose in writing the gospel, that we would believe in the person of Jesus Christ and have eternal life. John was being consistent with Jesus in this.
John 11:24-26 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
The point here is that we do believe in Christ. We don’t believe in our faith, which saves us, but in the person and work of Christ. He is the One that brings us salvation, and, even gives us hearts so that we can believe.
Third, we see faith is the means by which we appropriate salvation.
Paul writes in Romans 3:22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all[a] who believe.
In other words, the biggest use of faith is that it is the means that God uses to apply the salvation brought to us by Christ. Yes, we all know that Christ lived the perfect life, and died on the cross for the sins of His people, but knowing that is not enough to save us.
We must believe in His work in order to appropriate that salvation, or have that salvation applied to us. Without the application of Christ’s work to us, then we are in a world of hurt.
Paul affirms and assures us that we have the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.
Finally, in understanding the concept of faith, we see how the writer of Hebrews uses it.
For the Apostle, faith is defined by the way he uses it in chapter 11. The heroes found here are those who put their undivided confidence in God. Through all the trials and tribulations they faced, their confidence rested in God alone.
This is a lesson of faith in action, and faith that leads to obedience. It’s not filled with fear of man, but trust in God. Now we know that some of the patriarchs had lapses in faith. We all do. But the examples given are because their faith is true and saving faith. It is faith that endures to the end. Not based upon the character of the person, but because that faith is based upon the character, nature and promises of God.
So far, we are seeing the nature of our faith. We have seen that our faith is confessional, that it is the means to procuring salvation through Jesus Christ, that Jesus is the object of our faith and that it is also undivided confidence.
Yet, how is the Apostle defining it here. He says our faith is the substance (realization, confidence, assurance) of things hoped for.
This means that it is being sure of what we hope for. It is more subjective in nature. This means we know the truths and promises we find in scripture to be true and real.
We believe the evidence we are given and see it as a reality. So for faith, we believe in the evidence of Scripture, and know it to be a reality. We cannot see it, smell it, taste it, touch it, or hear it. But we know the promises of God are true and real for us. They are not just theological promises or pick me ups to make us feel good about life, but true realities that we look forward to.
False faith: believing in the things of the world bringing us happiness. The things of the word cannot bring true and lasting happiness because of the nature of the flesh. This is what we are satisfying when we look to the world, is the flesh. The flesh is such that once we look to the world to try and find satisfaction, we’ve stepped off into a never ended hole of destruction, because the world cannot satisfy, even though we mislead ourselves into thinking it can.
However, the things of God can satisfy, especially when we are walking by faith. By faith, we know that Christ, God, heaven, the Holy Spirit, and all the promises that have been given in Christ are realities. These are not things that we can explain to others for the reality of these things come from the Holy Spirit working in conjunction with the Word of God, convincing our spirits of the truth and reality of these promises.
For instance, when I became saved, there was no doubt in my mind of the reality that Christ died for me. For others, it might be the reality of our relationship, or other aspects of our faith. But the moment we are born again, is the moment we see these truths as a reality.
Faith shows us that Scripture is real, and therefore, causes us to desire to live accordingly.
But faith is more than just the substance of things hoped for…Faith is also the evidence (confidence) of things not seen.
We have an inner conviction that the promises of Scripture are true. We know for certain, as believers, that Jesus Christ knows our names. He has personally bought us with a price. He has personally paid our own personal debt of sin. We know that He has personally worked in our lives, individually, to make us His children. He has personally worked to bring us into the Kingdom of God. He has personally opened the door to God’s heaven for us. He has personally walked with us, and given us salvation.
This is not done on a corporate level, although it has corporate aspects to it. Our salvation is personal to each of us. That means He knows each of us in a very special way. The moment we believe is the moment we have confidence in things not seen. In other words, faith is not something that is verifiable with our senses. But verifiable in our hearts as real and true hope.
Romans 8:24-25 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
Read the full article here.
PLEASE NOTE: Another new post below this one.
I got a call from Aunt Brenda this morning, on her way back from Andy’s overnight trip to her house. She was telling me how sweet and good he’s been and the different things they did since leaving the football game last night.
Then she said that he was so smart, starting on the tale of his latest Andy-ism. She said that they watched a Thomas the Tank Engine movie and an episode of Sesame Street. Then, when they were over, he asked if she had a Baby Einstein movie. We have started watching those again for Joey. The boys love the music in them and will dance. The toys are pretty neat, and they tie in early reading skills, too. When she said that no, they did not have any Baby Einstein, Andy replied matter of fact “Well, you need to get Netflix.”
Timothy and Andy go to mail box every day or so to see what has come in. I can’t tell you how much money we’ve saved in not getting cable/dish and in late fees at the movie gallery by getting Netflix. We’re even able to get foreign films, A&E, classics that we can not at the local movie house. Most of the are the crude blow-em-ups that we just aren’t interested in because of the violence, sex, and language. We are also able to get quality movies for the boys, since we do not watch television. Before you think that we have a ideological purpose for this other than I don’t want them seeing the dark and sexually explicit ads, know that since we don’t have cable, our antenna doesn’t pick up much without a LOT of snow and other bad signal issues. Time is the other constraint. We can be DOING so much more when not watching television. It’s a heck of a lot more fun. Going to the mailbox to see what surprise Daddy ordered is pretty neat for Andy.
The “You need to get Netflix.” was pretty funny coming from a three-year-old.
You know why they call it birth control? Because it’s meant to stop a birth from happening nine months later. We know when life begins. Everyone who ever bought a pack of condoms knows when life begins (Peggy Noonan).
In John Piper’s excellent work entitled Brothers, We Are Not Professionals, he admonishes those in the pastorate to blow the trumpet for the unborn. In that chapter, he gives nine reasons why those who are pro-choice know that they are taking a life when they abort a child. He then tells the story of how he sat down with an abortionist one day and went through all nine points. The abortionist agreed with all of them. In other words, the abortionist knew that he was taking the lives of children.
The reason the abortionist committed these atrocities is because he felt that the rights of the mother outweighed the rights of the child.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
Since this is true, then, we need to fight with our best tool in the fight for the unborn. Let us use His word, because only in God’s word do we have any moral authority since that is where the basis of morality comes from. It is there that we find out that killing of the innocent is wrong, and that God takes a special interest in those who cannot defend themselves.
Therefore, we need to return to Scripture for this fight. Otherwise we are laying down the best tool that God has given us. Where do we start?
First by realizing that at the earliest stage of life, the moment of conception, the child is made in the image of God. He/she is immediately an image bearer.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:26-28).
I included the following verses as well, because I want us to see that not only are humans made in His image, we also have the command to be fruitful and multiply. This command has never been rescinded.
The point is that every child, unborn or not, every human, both bad and good, have been separated from the rest of creation by the mere fact that we are made in God’s image. We are different and special to God because of that.
For this reason, every man, woman, and child has intrinsic worth and are far more valuable than the beasts of the field. We are image bearers of God. He did not give His image to any other creatures or any other part of the creation, only to humans. Therefore the unborn have value at the moment of their conception. They are image bearers and are worthy of being protected and given rights. To murder them is to take the life of an innocent image bearer, and to sin against God. (And abortion is murdering the child.)
How do we know this? Two ways. First in Genesis 9:5-7, we have the giving of capital punishment by God. In verse 5, we are told the value of the life blood of man.
Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of man (Genesis 9:5).
God demands a reckoning of the lifeblood that was shed. This is not a request or a suggestion, but strong language showing what He has a right to demand. The Hebrew verb that is used for the phrase “I will require” literally means “to pursue relentlessly,” or “to seek diligently.” God is serious about the death penalty for those who have murdered the innocent.
This is where we get our justification for the death penalty, and why it is rebellion against God to not have and use a death penalty. God demands justice for the shed blood of the innocent.
In giving this injunction against taking of human life, God even extends the injunction to that of beasts. If an animal kills a man, that animal is to be killed because of the image that the man bears (Exodus 21:28).
God is setting the stage for what many call the sanctity of life. Life is precious and given to us by the Lord, therefore it is a sin to take the life of someone who is innocent. Those who do so are to be dealt with by the government because of the image that they have in them.
God goes on to say through Moses:
“ Whoever sheds man’s blood,
By man his blood shall be shed;
For in the image of God
He made man.”
Verse 6 gives us the reasoning for taking the murderer’s life: he has sinned against God, by shedding blood and destroying the image of God. While we may not place a high value on being image bearers, God does. It is special to Him because it represents Him. When we ponder the image of God, we realize how seriously He takes it by the fact that He requires the shedding of blood by those who destroy an image bearer.
This is not something to be taken lightly, but a sin that is grievous and heinous. It is why godly people institute the death penalty. They are not being cold-hearted, or mean spirited, but they respect what God has done in creation and in man.
God is so concerned about life and His image, that He not only mandates the death penalty, but restates the requirement for man to be fruitful.
And as for you, be fruitful and multiply;
Bring forth abundantly in the earth, And multiply in it (Genesis 9:6).
He commands us to have children and fill the earth with those who bear His image. This is not something that has been repealed. God still expects us to fill the earth and He designed the earth to handle the population, whatever that population may be.
The overall point is that God’s image is worth protecting…therefore we should protect that image in the unborn child, and allow for the addition of more unborn children.
Now when it comes to the death penalty, some might ask: what about the sixth commandment? You shall not murder? Or “kill” as some translations read.
I know it may seem odd that on the one hand we say that life should be taken because of the image of God in that person, and saved in the other. But we must realize that the Sixth Commandment is tied to both the death penalty, and the preservation of the life of the unborn.
The death penalty given in Genesis 9, is the remedy for those who have violated the Sixth Commandment found in Exodus 20. The commandment that is given is not against a government carrying out the death penalty on those who break the commandment. The commandment is against the murder of those who are innocent. Some translations read: Thou shall not kill. But a better translation would read: You shall not murder, because the Hebrew word in this case indicates the killing of an innocent person.
Therefore the Sixth Commandment is not negating capital punishment because the one put to death in that situation is not innocent. It also strengthens the case against abortion because the child in the womb is innocent. The Sixth Commandment is forbidding the death of the child.
Notice, that nowhere in this, does it say: except if someone’s life is inconvenient to others. Which is what those who are pro-abortion are saying.
Not only is abortion sin against God because it is destroying one made in the image of God, but it is also sin against God because it is breaking God’s Law.
We also see that it is sinning against God because abortion destroys the work of God.
For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;[a]
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them (Psalm 139:13-16).
Everyone admits the miracle of birth, but this shows that God’s hand is active in every conception. He is the One who knit us together in our mother’s womb. It’s His work, not ours. To destroy an unborn child, is to destroy God’s handiwork, sin against Him and against the child, and destroy another image bearer. This is why we are to fight against abortion.