22 Jan Words of Grace – Our Opportunity for Life
Each January many people in America observe Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. While affirming the dignity and value of human life, we have also mourned the loss of over 55 million lives through abortion since the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade (1973) that women have a constitutionally protected right to abortion.
The church has the opportunity and responsibility to bring the gospel and biblical truth to this situation in two ways. First, we can bring the good news of Jesus Christ to women and men burdened by the guilt and shame of bad decisions. Second, we can help reduce the number of abortions by pursuing the disciple-making mission Jesus gave us.
Many women are silently suffering because they have had an abortion. For various reasons these women decided that it was best for them, at that time, to terminate their pregnancy. Now they live with varying degrees of regret and guilt over their decision. The gospel is for these women. They can know that Jesus voluntarily died to pay the penalty for their sin. They can repent of sin and turn to Jesus for forgiveness, cleansing and reconciliation to God. They can be released from the guilt and restored both spiritually and emotionally. They can know the deep love that God has for them.
Many men are living with regret over abortion. They know they have contributed to abortion through immoral activity, irresponsibility and neglect. The gospel is for these men. They can be forgiven and healed as well.
The church is also called to disciple men and women in the life of Christ. How can the church make disciples in a way that promotes the value of life and protects the unborn?
1. Preach the gospel, calling people to repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ. Conversion to Christ and ongoing discipleship transform the sexual morals that are at the heart of abortion.
2. Teach good theology. A biblical understanding of God and creation, including the dignity and divine image-bearing nature of humans, will elevate the value we place on unborn life.
3. Teach that marriage is good and is the God-given context for sexual expression. A positive vision of marriage helps unmarried people save sexual activity for marriage and helps married people keep sexual activity within their marriage.
4. Promote good parenting, especially fatherhood. The presence of loving and supportive fathers in pregnancy and parenting will drastically reduce abortions.
5. Build visionary young men, and teach them self-control through commitment to Christ. Our strategy for building a culture of moral men and responsible fathers must begin with the discipleship of young boys and teenagers.
6. Build strong, confident and self-respecting young women. Young women need powerful and positive visions of womanhood to embolden them to live pure and chaste lives. We must disciple young women.
7. Develop a generation of young women and men who know how to shape the culture’s respect for sexuality and human life through writing, social engagement and public policy. We need to show our young people how to work in the world for the glory of God and the common good.
8. Build a culture of mutual encouragement and accountability in the church. Small groups aimed at helping us obey Jesus keep us connected and strong. We can help each other live morally pure and responsible lives.
9. Model the good way in the world. The prophetic nature of the church often calls us to speak against sin in the culture. We also have the opportunity to promote a positive vision for marriage, sexuality, responsibility and respect for life by the way we live and speak in the world.
10. Love and help women and men in unwanted pregnancy situations. We can personally walk with people through the process of pregnancy, birth and child rearing. We can support crisis pregnancy centers that encourage birth and adoption instead of abortion. We can help people choose life.
Preaching the gospel and making disciples is the church’s unique calling and the way we make our greatest impact on our culture’s respect for human life.
– Scott Patty
Grace Community Church of Nashville