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Posts Tagged ‘Life’

Jesus Christ is commonly portrayed as a benevolent man who went around doing good, loving everyone, accepting people as they are, and in general making people’s lives better. To be sure, he did go about doing good, and he did make the lives of many people better. Many were the recipients of his physical healings and miraculous provisions. Even greater was his bestowal of eternal salvation to those who trusted in him.

We must recognize, however, that the purpose of Jesus’ coming to the earth was not to heal diseases and mend physical maladies, and it was not to help the down-and-out become the up-and-in. Most definitely, he did not accept people who intended to remain as they were. Jesus himself announced in Luke 19:10 that “the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.” Those who are lost are those without God, those who are yet in their sin. Jesus came “to seek and save the lost,” those who are wayward, those living outside of God’s righteousness.

When Isaiah saw his vision of God (Isaiah 6), he was struck by the absolute holiness of God, a holiness so pure and transcendent that he had no choice but to respond with “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (6:5). Seeing the One who is absolutely holy, Isaiah saw himself as undone and lost.

A few verses down in Isaiah 6 we find God pronouncing this to Isaiah: “Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed” (6:10). When we make our way to John 12:39–41, we find this about the religious leaders of Judaism: “Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, ‘He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.’ Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him.”

Notice what we see here: Isaiah saw the Lord Jesus in his vision. He is absolutely righteous. The religious leaders of Judaism rejected the absolutely Holy One of Isaiah’s vision.

The Son of God is absolutely holy, which is why no one can stand before him in his unmediated glory. The apostle John’s response to seeing Christ in his glorious holiness was similar to that of Isaiah. Exiled to Patmos “on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus,” John fell as one dead when he saw a vision of Christ (Revelation 1:9-17). Commenting on this passage, John Owen [1616-1683] made this observation: “Should the Lord Jesus appear now to any of us in his majesty and glory, it would not be to our edification nor consolation. For we are not meet nor able, by the power of any light or grace that we have received, or can receive, to bear the immediate appearance and representation of them. His beloved apostle John had leaned on his bosom probably many a time in his life, in the intimate familiarities of love; but when he afterward appeared to him in his glory, ‘he fell at his feet as dead.’”

Contemplating such righteousness gives us some insight into what is required to be accepted by God. Blind to their sin and arrogant in their self-assessment, multitudes assume that God accepts them simply because they are basically “good” people. Such thoughts will serve no comfort when standing before God. God requires absolute righteousness in order to be accepted by him, a righteousness that no mere mortal can produce. Jesus Christ, however, possesses that righteousness, and his righteousness is our only hope: “For our sake he [God the Father] made him [God the Son] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21 [ESV]). Christ is our righteousness.

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Here are two YouTube videos which comprise Gianna Jessen’s 2008  address at Queen’s Hall, Parliament House in Victoria, Australia. Her testimony is incredible and puts a face on the debate over abortion.

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A thoughtful post entitled “The Role of Law: It is reasonable and necessary for society to outlaw certain ‘choices'” on abort73.com takes issue with the commonly accepted mantra that abortion is simply a matter of a woman’s choice.

The fundamental role of every government is to provide security for its citizens and to maintain public order. This cannot be done without legislating against certain choices. Even in free countries, citizens are not free to choose in any absolute sense. Some choices are lawful and some are not, which is why it is impossible to justify abortion by simply arguing that women should be “free to choose”.

This, of course, has not stopped people from building their defense of abortion on the abstract defense of choice. You’ll hear things like, “This is a free country…You can’t legislate morality… My body, my choice!” In fact, many abortion-rights advocates will openly admit that abortion is “bad”, only to turn around and argue that women must be free to make their own decisions, even if they’re bad ones. On the surface that might sound noble. You’re giving people a choice. You’re letting them decide what’s right for themselves, even giving them the freedom to fall.

The problem is, there is a big difference between a “bad” decision and a “criminal” decision. Getting sunburned is a bad decision. Burning your neighbor’s house down is a criminal decision. Refusing to study for a big test is bad. Refusing to stop when there is a pedestrian in the street is criminal. The law generally leaves people the legal freedom to make bad choices, but the law must do all it can to prohibit criminal choices.

Read the rest of this post here.

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According to the Associate Press, “South Carolina legislators Wednesday [3-17-10] rejected plans to ban abortions in the state’s health insurance plan in cases of rape or incest or when they’re needed to protect a mother’s health.” The debate was heated and the vote was close: 57-54. My understanding is that the provisions of rape and incest were later included in the ban, while the mother’s life was the only exception allowing abortion in the state’s health insurance plan. What struck me, though, was this quote attributed to Representative Bakari Sellers as he railed against the proposed ban:

When you are that person that is pinned down in the back alley and raped; when you are that person that is actually assaulted sexually by your father–this is not a time for us to play political games. This is not the time for me to say my God is better than yours. This is a time to do what is right.

The self-righteousness of Mr. Sellers’ comment is palpable. “This is not a time for us to play political games” charges his pro-life opponents with unconcern for women while he and his pro-“choice” comrades alone really care about women who have been victimized. I cannot help but wonder how many tears Mr. Sellers sheds for the baby who had no part in the crime but who is condemned to death because of the sin of his biological father. Incredibly, the heinous crime of rape is compounded by the legal murder of the innocent child.

Mr. Sellers, the politician, turned theologian: “This is not the time for me to say my God is better than yours. This is a time to do what is right.” Unfortunately, pro-choice politicians and theologians ceased caring about God and what is right when they decided that women could women usurp the role of God in deciding which child should live and which child should die.

My question for Mr. Sellers is simply this, “How do you determine what is right?” Putting it another way: “By what standard do you choose what is right?” Never mind. We know the standard. Political correctness. The spirit of this age.

My unsought advice to Mr. Sellers and his fellow legislators is this: Stop playing politics with the lives of the unborn. Stop ingratiating yourselves to radical feminists who see children as an impediment to a woman’s self-seeking pleasure and personal advancement. If you really care about women who have been raped, make sure their attacker never is allowed back into society. And I suggest that we all be careful about cavalierly invoking the name of God.

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November’s free audio download from Christian Audio is Desiring God by John Piper. In a cultural Christianity that too often sees God as a means to an end, we need to understand that God is the end, and in him alone is true joy.

Insert NOV2009 into the coupon code in order to receive the book free. Enjoy!

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The United States has elected a man not of my choice. Nevertheless, Barack Obama will become President on January 20, 2009. A couple of Scripture passages come to mind:

1 Timothy 2:1-2 (ESV)
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

2 Peter 2:13-17 (ESV)
Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

My vote went for John McCain and Sarah Palin. Senator McCain was not my choice in the primary election, but I was convinced that his nominations for future Supreme Court justices would be strict constructionists who judge according to what the United States Constitution says and not what they think it should say now that we live in the twenty-first century. Senator Obama had made clear that his nominees would have to agree with him on a woman’s right to an abortion. I still maintain that no Christian can vote for a candidate who believes that the unborn do not have an inherent right to life. Some issues are non-negotiable.

Some Christians have completely opted out of the election process, believing that their only citizenship is a heavenly one. I think they are sorely mistaken and are wrong. With many of these, there is evidenced a self-righteousness in that they are not sullied by political parties that have sinners in them.

Others have opted for third-party candidates. Were we to live in a parliamentary system of government in which smaller parties could have some influence in their coming together to help form a government, I would have gone third party.

However, the two major parties are in many ways coalitions of smaller parties, and when it comes to forming executive leadership, only one major party will be represented. In some ways, I wish we had a parliamentary system of government so that smaller parties had a legitimate voice and we could cast our lot with those more closely aligned with our views across the board. On the other hand, the presidential system has advantages in checks and balances that is at times evidenced even when one party controls both the executive and legislative branches of government.

That said, I will not opt out of the civic process because I believe that to do so will be to shirk my duty as a Christian citizen. The Republican party had gotten drunk on power and had bought into larger government and greater deficit spending. Maybe the GOP will wake up and repent. Maybe it won’t, but we should use our voices as a prophetic witness against sin wherever it is.

One last thought: no human political party is going to be without sin, though they can all have self-righteous supporters. Some self-righteous supporters support their party without ever raising a dissenting voice. Other self-righteous supporters go third party because of its supposed purity. Still other self-righteous supporters opt out completely. I find all such positions wanting.

May God be pleased to bring this country to repentance. Our greatest need is greater than who occupies the White House.

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That Barack Obama supports a woman’s “right” to an abortion is a given. The fact that many evangelical Christians are supporting Obama for President is not surprising. Many evangelicals, particularly young pastors, love being “cool,” and it’s “cool” to support Obama.

The one thing I cannot reconcile is supporting a candidate for the highest political office (or any office, for that matter) in the United States with the recognition that that candidate supports the taking of an unborn baby’s life. Perhaps “cool” evangelicals are tired of being portrayed by the mainstream media as out-of-touch, knuckle-dragging fundamentalists.

I realize that these “cool” evangelicals will argue that abortion is not the only issue that determines a candidate’s viability, and I agree with that. However, no other issue trumps the taking of innocent life. Other issues can be debated and solutions proffered. From a biblical perspective, though, abortion on demand is not debatable.

“Cool” evangelicals announce their opposition to abortion and their hope to be able to steer Obama their way. The word gullible comes to mind. Actually, the words of the apostle Paul to Timothy seem more applicable:

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths (2 Timothy 4:1-4, ESV).

Frankly, “cool” evangelicals are selling out the faith, satisfying the itching ears of popular culture. Seeking popularity, perhaps even in the name of evangelism, these evangelicals seek a place at the table with those who have set their faces against the only true God. While they enjoy the meal, are they bothered by the blood on their hands?

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