At the onset of this message, I want to establish something. It is simply that
- Your life began at conception. Let me take you to several Scriptures that support that statement.
Genesis 25:21-Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant.
We can see a contrast or a change in circumstances in just this one verse. In two simple sentences we can see that Rebekah was childless, and after her husband prayed, she was pregnant, meaning she was no longer childless. She who was childless became a mother when she became pregnant.
Many people used to refer to pregnancy as “being with child.” In the King James translation of Matthew 1:18, it says that Mary was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. That means that when the Holy Spirit came on her and child was placed in her womb. Obviously, that was the beginning of a child’s life. Jesus wasn’t placed in her body as a two-year-old! I don’t think Mary would have been on board with that process. But the Scriptures indicate that Mary had a child inside of her WHEN the Holy Spirit came on her. She wasn’t found to be with a blob of tissues or cells. She was found to be with child.
When Job was going through a horrendous trial, he cursed the day of his birth, but notice, he also cursed the day of his conception. Job 3:2-3 2 He said: 3 “May the day of my birth perish, and the night that said, ‘A boy is conceived!’ He referred to himself as a boy at conception. He was a person at conception.
Job continued to struggle with the distressing trials he was enduring as Satan was testing him. He spoke to God in Job 10:8-12 and said this: “Your hands shaped me and made me. Will you now turn and destroy me? 9 Remember that you molded me like clay. Will you now turn me to dust again? 10 Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese, 11 clothe me with skin and flesh and knit me together with bones and sinews? 12 You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit.
Job didn’t know what pasteurization was, but he literally compared the process of development in the womb to the pasteurization of cheese. He clearly believed God was the one who shaped him, made him, molded him, and took him through a developmental process (like pasteurization ), a process by which God gave him life. Even though he was dealing with painful circumstances, he spoke favorably of the kindness of God and the way God watched over his spirit. He was stating that the God who created him surely wouldn’t abandon him.
Psalm 139:13-16-For you (God) created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
God’s hands are the hands that are putting us together as we grow in our mother’s womb. He doesn’t just put His hands on us once we are able to live outside of the womb or even just a few weeks before that. He doesn’t just place His hands on us after 20 weeks, the number of weeks before which it is legal to have an abortion in WV without any questions being asked, without any special conditions surrounding the circumstances or health of the mother being considered. God’s hands are literally the hands that place an egg and sperm together and begin to work to develop the person that is created in that moment.
Look at the intricacy with which the Psalmist describes God’s involvement. He works on our frame. He weaves us together. We are knit together. Like, a knitter who knits one stitch at a time, taking great care to make the loops and to pull the tension just so, who has a pattern in mind, who knows what the end is supposed to look like before they ever get started, God is working with us step by step in our mother’s womb. God is at work in the unborn child’s life just as He is at work in the born child’s life.
Listen to this prophecy about the coming of Christ from Isaiah 49:1 Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.
The Bible is clear that God is involved and invested in the creation of life. He is the Creator. He knows His creation while they are still inside the womb. A mother cannot know her child until it is born, but God knows those He is forming. Speaking about the Prophet Jeremiah we read, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5
God has assignments for us before we take our first breath in the natural world. He has a blueprint for our lives in place before we ever come to be. As He forms us, He forms us with all we need in order to fulfill those plans.
Luke 1:39-41 39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Elizabeth was pregnant with John the Baptist. He was referred to as a baby in his mother’s womb. Did you know that at just eight weeks in a mother’s womb, a baby looks just like a miniature person. There is a detectable heartbeat, fingerprints, brain, and the gender can be distinguished. Every pregnant person is carrying a baby. Your life began at conception.
Next, I think we would all say today that we are thankful for the gift of life. We would use that expression, “gift of life.” That is point number two.
- Your life is a gift. Being born wasn’t our decision. It did not result from an act of our wills. It is the gift of God.
Acknowledging life at conception as the work and gift of God and choosing life is foundational to all other aspects of our walk with Christ. When we understand that God has His hands on us as we are created, that He places in us the DNA, the stuff to be able to perform certain tasks, the wiring for a specific personality, as He designates our gender and all of our features…As we realize He does all of these things because He has a unique plan for our lives, we are bound in relationship to seek Him to understand why we are here and how He purposes for us to live.
If you toss out the fact that God created us, then you remove the connection to God that would make you responsible to Him to live according to His design. Who do you think is behind that mindset? Who wants you to live to please yourself? Who wants you to rely on your own understanding? Who wants you disconnected from your Creator? Who doesn’t want you to discover the purposes for which the Creator has created you? Satan, the Devil. He doesn’t want you to have an identity that results from knowing you were created by a Holy God who has a purpose for your life. He doesn’t want you to embrace the gift of life that you have been given.
In addition to the taking of a life, abortion, and a mindset that what God has purposed is of no consequence to us, or that God doesn’t have a vested interested in the life that is growing inside a person, can lead a person down all kinds of rabbit holes and open the door for personal, mental, and social chaos that disrupts lives and inhibits people from living life to the full based on the potential God has placed inside of them.
The sanctity of life, the honoring of life, the valuing of life and appreciation of life as a gift is foundational to the theology that God is our Creator and has given us the gift of life that we might honor and glorify Him according to His purposes.
I am not trying to be heavy-handed here, but when I hear someone say they can be a Christ-follower and believe in abortion, I have to conclude they don’t have this foundational piece of theology on board. I have to believe they don’t understand the degree to which God is involved in giving life. There is no life apart from Him. I’m not just talking about spiritual life. I’m saying God sustains physical life for the duration of time which He determines pleases Him and accomplishes what He desires to be accomplished through each life He creates. (Isaiah 42:5)
Life is a gift. What do you do with a cherished gift? How do you respond to the person who gave it to you? The way we live our lives and seek to protect and cherish the gift of life should reflect our deep gratitude for the Giver of the gift of life.
- Your life is valuable to God.
The fact that we are formed and fashioned by God, makes us incredibly valuable. We aren’t the random product of a physical act, but we are the handiwork of God who created us through a process that He is highly involved in. The development of a child takes more than the union of a father and a mother. It takes the hands-on, delicate help of the Almighty God. He says we are His MASTERPIECE! (Ephesians 2:10)
Do you understand that God wants to spend eternity with you? He didn’t just create you for a simple span of years, but He created you for an eternity with Him. This life is just the beginning. No matter how old you are, it’s just the beginning. Eternity in Heaven is forever. He paid a high price to ensure you could enjoy that kind of existence. He gave His very life to make sure you could spend eternity with Him. He demonstrated how much He loves you, what you are worth to Him, when He sent Jesus to die on a cross to pay the price for your sin, Romans 5:8.
God made you in His image, Genesis 1:26. That makes you incredibly valuable. He isn’t trying to distance Himself from His creation, even though it has been marred by sin. He hasn’t left us on our own. He doesn’t want us to suffer the consequences of sin. Rather, He has proven His love for and His desire to be with His creation by making a way for us to overcome the barriers that sin has created for us. Sin separates us from God, but God has been determined to remove those barriers through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross because He wants to be with those He has created. Jesus took on the curse of sin, the consequences of sin, so that we can live in a holy relationship with God. Has anyone else ever given their life for you? What does that say to you about the value God places on your life?
Once we understand the value God places on each life, our goal should be to speak life, to encourage life, to support life, and to protect life at every stage of life.
Abortion ends a life inside a mother’s womb, but turning a blind eye to injustice stifles life on earth. Bullying, ostracizing, controlling, and belittling all dismiss the kind of value God places on each life. Refusing to acknowledge those who need help in order to have the best possible quality of life, all of these grieve the heart of God. Believers should be advocates for life.
The supreme way we stand for life is to do all we can to bring people into a relationship with the Lord. Once people understand His work in their lives as Creator, His role in their lives as sustainer, and His plan for their lives, their perspective on life will change. We need to live our lives in such a way that people can see Him, Matthew 5:16.
Sometimes, I think the church has relegated the issue of life to the issue of abortion, and we have placed the responsibility for choosing life solely at the feet of pregnant women. Right to Life does involve the issue of abortion, but that isn’t the only issue that we must address.
Where does the responsibility for choosing life lie first and foremost? I would submit to you that choosing life is the responsibility of those who have embraced the life of Christ. I would submit to you that believers are the ones who should embrace life and demonstrate what life with Christ and life for Christ look like. In this moment let’s pivot away from the woman who is pregnant, conflicted, scared, and alone to make a decision about the life of her child.
In THIS moment, let’s look at ourselves. Are we choosing life in our own lives? Believer, are you choosing life? And when I ask that question, I’m not just asking if you stand against abortion. I’m literally asking, “Do you stand with Christ?” Colossians 3:3 says, “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” What this verse implies is that as people look at us, yes, they will see our physical characteristics and take note of our mannerisms, but when they encounter us, they are supposed to be encountering Jesus. What did Paul say? “It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me.” Galatians 2:20
Believers choose life when they choose to live out the life of Christ. That involves a whole lot more than being against stuff. That becomes a befriending of sinners and a laying down of judgment. It involves sacrificial giving and the volunteering of our time. It includes going out of our way for someone in need. When we carry the life of Christ to someone else, we are choosing life.
Let me suggest some other things that choosing life involves for the believer:
Look at Deuteronomy 30:15-20: 15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, (THAT’S LIFE) to walk in obedience to him, (THAT’S LIFE) and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; (THAT’S LIFE) then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
17 But if your heart turns away (THAT’S NOT LIFE) and you are not obedient, (THAT’S NOT LIFE) and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, (THAT’S NOT LIFE) 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.
19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now CHOOSE LIFE, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life…
It sounds like choosing life is a heart issue. “Love the Lord your God.” “Walk in obedience to Him.” “Keep His commands, decrees and laws.” These things are contrasted with the list that begins in verse 17. Turning your heart away from God, disobedience to God, loving other things in place of God, these don’t lead to life. Who and what has control of your heart? Is it your Creator who gave you life? Is it your Creator who has redeemed your life by giving His life for you? Is it your Creator who placed inestimable value on your life? Does God have supremacy in your life because of the precious gifts of physical and eternal life that He has given to you? Or is it something else that has preeminence in your heart?
No one understands more about you than God. No one loves you more than God. No one is more interested in you that God. No one can help you more than God. No one values you more than God. Cherish His gift of life. Protect His gift of eternal life. Offer His life to others that they might understand that choosing life is choosing God.