[Preface]Many of you may know John MacArthur as an expository preacher you have heard on the radio or maybe you have read his books. What you might not know is John has been very apolitical. He has been so apolitical and anti-activist that he has even said the American Revolution was a sin because it was rebellion against God since God established the government, per Romans 13. He has also preached messages around the Fourth of July and the time to vote downplaying civic involvement, activism, and voting. I have made public offers to debate him on these issues but he has never agreed.
But now, it looks like he has had a new revelation. I encourage you to listen to this short message from John MacArthur. It is very good and right on point. It is startling to hear this message from him. I remember seeing John on Larry King Live after Dr. Falwell died and he was saying he was glad that this era represented by Dr. Falwell has passed. He was referring to preachers addressing political (as Dr. Falwell would instead say, Biblical and moral issues). But now, John appears to have had an epiphany. He makes some very profound statements in the message below. I am beginning to see more and more pastors waking up realizing that Biblical and moral issues are under attack and they have no choice but to speak. This isn’t politics, it is Biblical and moral issues that have been politicized. —Mathew Staver founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel[end Preface]
Abortion and the Campaign for Immorality
By Pastor John MacArthur
What a privilege and joy it is to worship the Lord here at Grace Church. Patricia and I miss it when we’re not here. There’s no place like this. Our hearts are full to overflowing to be back with you and celebrating the greatness of our God and the glory of Christ with you. What a blessing!
While we were gone the last couple of weeks, we were exposed to the two conventions that were held: the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention. And I know that politics is the topic among many people today, and I suppose that’s natural since it is such a huge part of media exposure. And as you know, I’m not one to talk about politics as such, but I was essentially amazed that one of the historic parties here in the United States adopted the sins of Romans 1 as their platform. This is a new day in our country. Parties which used to differ on economics now differ dramatically on issues that invade the realm of God’s law and morality.
In an ideal situation, their platform would mean that the government passes out condoms so people can fornicate at will. For those who happen to get pregnant in the process, platform advocates that you kill the baby at the will of the mother, up and including the ninth month.
At the same time, it advocates a homosexual marriage, which is an oxymoron, an utter impossibility, and a gross violation of the law of God. And then to add to that, the murder of abortion, and then a platform originally leaving God out. All of that’s Romans 1. Romans 1 says God will judge, God has judged throughout human history, nations that experience sexual freedom. Romans, Chapter 1 lays that out clearly: the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against those who advocate “sexual freedom”‐sexual conduct outside of marriage. And that’s an indication of the demise of a nation.
And then Romans 1 also says that God will judge those nations that advocate homosexual behavior, men with men, women with women, doing what is unnatural. They are also haters of God, haters of God—leaving God out, advocating abortion, advocating homosexuality, advocating free sexual conduct and government-provided condoms so that everybody can do what they want. That is literally creating a platform out of what God hates.
This is not about politics, although there are things we could talk about. You’re not voting for a pastor, you’re not voting for a spiritual leader, you’re voting for someone who has some sense of morality. Since the Bible says that the role of government is to punish evil doers and protect the good, you better have somebody in power who understands what is good and what is evil. And if you think homosexuality, abortion, sexual freedom, hating God are not evil, then you better go back and check your Bible again. How can people with that kind of agenda protect those who do good and punish those who do evil? That’s Romans 13’s definition of the role of government. We could talk about foreign policies, should we protect as many defenseless people from evil aggressors as possible? We could talk about economics, Is it right to get into irreparable debt? Is that responsibility? We could talk about that.
We could talk about the economics of if you don’t work, you don’t eat, which is what the Bible says. But those things are not what concern me. And I’ve seen something happen in these conventions that is just stunning. The adaptation of a Romans 1 platform, sexual freedom, homosexuality on an equal level with marriage, the murder of infants, and the elimination of God.
And by the way, I didn’t like it any better when they put God back in because that’s blasphemy. To connect God with that agenda is a horror; it’s a horror. It’s taking His name in vain. In fact, I don’t think God should be in either agenda (applause). But when you have an advocacy of support for the slaughter of infants and homosexuality, complete sexual freedom, you have a formula for divine judgment. If we have any sense of justice, if we have any sense of righteousness, if we want to make a little bit of a voice heard about what is right and about the role of government being to punish evil doers and protect the people who do right, then we better step up. I’m not sure what God has in the future, but I do know we can take His side and give Him honor.
To me it is ironic that those who pride themselves on defending the rights of the weak, murder them in the womb when they are the most weak. What kind of hypocrisy is that? Self-congratulating pseudo-humanitarians advocate a deadly force of violence unleashed against infants that makes the Nazi Holocaust look mild by comparison. In our world, we’re slaughtering between fifty and sixty million babies a year. In the United States on record is 1.5 million abortions a year. Every third baby conceived is murdered in the womb. Four thousand a day plus, 170 an hour—Planned Parenthood alone kills one every ninety-five seconds.
The Physicians Association of Planned Parenthood released this statement, quote: “Abortion is a treatment for unwanted pregnancy, the second sexually transmitted disease.” Pregnancy is a sexually transmitted disease! Our nation and others are murdering a whole generation of humans in mass infanticide that was legalized in January of 1973 by the Roe v. Wade decision made by an unrighteous group of people on the Supreme Court. Now forty-three percent of all women have an abortion and forty-seven percent of abortions are repeats. It’s legal to do to a child what you might be arrested for doing to a cat, or a dog, or certainly an eagle. In fact, Massachusetts made it illegal to award goldfish as a prize at a fair. And the document from the Massachusetts law said this was to protect the tendency to dull humanitarian feelings and corrupt the morals of those who abuse them—a law to prevent the abuse of goldfish.
In Asia, the trauma over abortion—just for an illustration, you can pick any place in the world—but the trauma in Asia over the tens of millions of abortions that are done there. As you would know, China is a major leader in abortions. They’re the only nation probably in the world that has a more liberal approach to that than America does; has unleashed upon the Asian women a horror of guilt and suffering from having abortions. And so there have been temples erected, built literally, in Asia with the expressed purpose of memorializing water babies. They’re Buddhist temples and the person who feels some need to memorialize that the baby that they aborted can go to these temples, and they can purchase for a large sum of money a small little Buddha as a memorial for the aborted child, and that Buddha will be put on display there. And there are temples that have, for example, 10,000 of these little Buddhas on display on the grounds—becomes a commercial attraction where people come and take photographs of them. It costs many hundreds of dollars to get the supposed relief that comes from purchasing your little Buddha, and then additionally you can buy a prayer. The last prices I saw, you can buy a prayer for about $120, and they will pray for your water baby. And then, if you have additional abortions, it’s only $40 for each additional abortion. So the Buddhists have figured out a way to make money even after the abortion, on the guilt and the sadness of people.
Suicide rate among people who have had an abortion goes up between 400 and 800 percent. There have been about thirty-some studies on the effect of having had an abortion on breast cancer—it greatly raises the risk. Twenty-seven out of about thirty-five studies indicate there’s a significant increase in breast cancer risk for someone who has an abortion because it’s such a terrible interruption of the normal cycle, to say nothing of depression, withdrawal, guilt, shame, alcohol dependency, etc., etc.
How did we ever get here where we just massacre infants in the safest place in the womb? Where we literally go in there and kill them? How did we get to this place?
Well, we just have to go back and understand that Satan is a murderer from the beginning, right? This is satanic. This is a satanic thing. He is the father of lies and he’s the father of murder. He is the first murderer. He would have murdered God if he could have—deicide in heaven—and he was thrown out. And when he came down to earth, he moved Cain to kill Abel and unleashed on the world the whole array of murders that has characterized human existence—goes on relentlessly in everything from slaughtering little infants in the safest place in the womb to massacring people the way we’re seeing it around the world and in the Middle East even now, and everything in between.
Satan particularly goes after babies. He did in Moses’ day; he did in Jesus’ day. He wanted to kill all the young children in Egypt because of the fear that a deliverer would come. He wanted to kill all of the two-year-old and under babies in and around Jerusalem for fear that the King was coming–Satan is a murderer. All of this is reflective of satanic hatred of the purposes of God and the life that God creates. Any religion, I don’t care what it is, that has as its objective and goal the killing of anybody is out of hell! That’s satanic!
If you go back into philosophy, go back in the Greek philosophy—ancient Greek philosophy—Plato and Aristotle recommended family growth limitation by abortion. If you go back into ancient Western civilization, you’ll find that abortion was to conceal illicit sex so that you could be free to do whatever you wanted to do and nobody would know. You would abort the life. Rich women, I read, didn’t want to have to give their wealth to lower-class children. They just wanted to have sex with lower-class men and so, when children were conceived, they would kill them. There are some indications that they did it to preserve their supposed sex appeal. One writer says not to trouble the womb with “bouncing babies.”
These methods (of abortion) are very, very ancient that were used. Sometimes come under the title pessaries, the technical word, which simply means they had learned that they could inject into a woman—right into the womb—they could inject something that killed the child. By trial and error they came up with that…through the birth canal. They also found that there were poisons that could be taken orally that would kill the child—mixtures that they had discerned would be fatal to unborn infants. I could describe how they work, but that wouldn’t be purposeful or helpful.
The pagan cultures accepted this; the Jews rejected it. And interestingly enough, the Jews rejected it for two reasons. They rejected it because every life was created by God, and therefore to take a life was to strike a blow against God. And therefore to violate the first commandment: “To love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength”; you don’t violate God.
The second reason they were against abortion was because of the second law—“Love your neighbor as yourself”—and they understood that when life begins, that, then becomes your neighbor. And no one is more a neighbor than an infant in a mother’s womb. If that’s not that mother’s neighbor, then there is no such thing as a neighbor.
So based upon loving God and honoring God, and loving and caring for your neighbor, they rejected it. And, of course, they rejected it because in Exodus, Chapter 20, it says, “Thou shalt not murder,” and that’s how they saw it.
The Early Church followed in that same stand. Christianity has always been against murder of any kind, especially against the murder of an unprotected infant in a womb. The Didache, codification of early Christian writings, said, “You shall not murder a child by abortion.” That’s how explicit it was. You shall not murder a child by abortion. The Didache saw the way of death as full of cursing, murder, adulteries, murders of children, and abortion…abortion. The church has always said abortion brings the judgment of God because it is murder. The Reformation didn’t change that. Abortion has always been seen as violence, slaughter, and it brings divine judgment. The Jews who were against abortion fell into idolatry, as you know, and began to take their born children and incinerate them on an altar to Molech, burning them as human sacrifices. That was the kind of sin that led to their destruction, their death, their judgment, and their captivity…brought their nation to an end.
It isn’t new and the church’s stance isn’t new. And the Word of God is very clear. But it’s amazing in a so-called Judeo-Christian environment, which has been the kind of worldview that America has been born in, that we have reached the point that we have where one of the two political parties in this country include slaughtering innocent infants in the womb as a part of its platform which it advocates.
Why? The reasons they would give you are these. “It’s a matter of freedom; a woman has a right over her own body.” That’s not her body; that’s somebody else’s body! That’s not her body.
“Oh women shouldn’t be victimized by men.” You’re not a victim if you lie down with a man.
“Well, the child may have some genetic defect or some issue.” Look, we all are defective; it’s only a question of degree.
“We have to do some eugenic abortions to eliminate birth-defective children, because of cost, trouble.”
“Women need total reproductive freedom.” One writer says, “Women must have abortion as a backup to contraceptive failure.” Murder as a backup!
And by the way, in a perfect world, this would all be paid for by you—by you with your tax money.
“It’s good to do this because it kind of controls population,” they say.
Well, you know all those things.
1973, it was January 22, when this horrendous decision came out of a court that certainly should have known better. The Fourteenth Amendment, the Constitution says, “No person shall be deprived of life.” “No person shall be deprived of life without due process of law.”
What’s the due process for an infant in the womb? Legalized murder! The court ignored the reality of life beginning at conception, which is when life begins. And at that point you have a person. Criminals in our history have been prosecuted successfully for killing unborn children in an attack on a pregnant woman. A person can be prosecuted even today for killing an unborn infant in the womb of a mother, but a mother can’t be prosecuted for killing that infant.
There’s an interesting statement that sort of sums up what I want you to understand, written by Dr. Jerome Lejeune, professor of fundamental genetics in Paris, because I think it’s important for you to have this information. Let me quote him, and he’s not writing as a Christian, he’s writing as a scientist in the area of genetics. He says:
…Life has a very long history, but each individual has a very neat beginning: the moment of its conception.
The material link is the molecular thread of DNA. In each reproductive cell, this ribbon, roughly one meter long, is cut into pieces (23 in our species). Each segment is carefully coiled and packaged (like a magnetic tape in a minicassette) so that under the microscope it appears like a little rod, a chromosome.
As soon as the 23 paternally derived chromosomes are united, through fertilization, to the 23 maternal ones, the full genetic meeting necessary to express all the inborn qualities of the new individual is gathered and personal constitution takes place….
At two months of age, the human being is less than one thumb-length from the head to the rump. He would fit at ease in a nutshell, but everything is there, hands, feet, head, organs, brain. In the fourth week, there is consciousness. All are in place. His heart has been beating for a month by the second month. His fingerprints can be detected, his heart is beating 150 to 170 beats a minute. To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place, a new human being has come into being, is no longer a matter of taste or of opinion. The human nature of the human being from conception to old age is not a metaphysical contention. It is plain experimental evidence. [Read abridged text of Dr. Lejeune’s testimony before a US Senate Judiciary Committee]
It’s a person. So there’s the scene. So the bottom line is, you have persons being murdered, and now that’s something you can vote for because you want to be a part of that.
What does the Bible say about this? I want to just give you a handful of things to think about, just some principles in the little time we have.
Number one: conception is an act of God. Conception is an act of God. God personally creates every life. Psalm 127:3, “Behold, children are a gift from the Lord. Children are a gift from the Lord…from the Lord. How more simply could it be said? “Children are a gift from the Lord.” To look at that negatively in some passages along that line, Genesis 20, “The Lord had completely closed all the wombs of the house of Abimelech.” The Lord can close a womb so none can be born.
We find the same kind of thing in Genesis 16:2: “Sarah said to Abraham, ‘The Lord has restrained me from bearing.’” Or 1 Samuel 1, with regard to Hannah, “The Lord had shut up her womb,” and it says it two times in that chapter.
So on the negative side, the Lord closes the womb, and children aren’t conceived. On the positive side, Genesis 17 says in verse 16, “God said to Abraham…‘I will bless her, I will give you a son also from her…and she shall be the mother of nations.’” The Lord who closed Sarah’s womb, in His time, opened it. Genesis 21:2, “Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the set time of which the Lord had spoken to him.” The Lord made the promise, set the time, opened the womb.
Genesis 25:21: “And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.” She conceived because the Lord allowed her to conceive. The Lord created life in her. First Samuel 1 goes back to the story of Hannah and Samuel. “The Lord remembered her; therefore it came to pass after she had conceived that she bore a son and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the Lord.'” She asked the Lord and the Lord answered and gave her a child.
In Ruth, Chapter 4, verse 13, “Boaz took Ruth; she was his wife. And when he went in unto her, the Lord gave her conception and she bore a son.” “The Lord gave her conception.” I mean, the Bible speaks about every conception as a work of the Lord. Back to Psalm 127:3, “Children are a gift from the Lord.” Conception is an act of God.
Let me take you a little further than the Old Testament. Go to the 17th Chapter of Acts, and let’s take a look at a very powerful set of statements by the apostle Paul to the philosophers in Athens.
(18) Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.
(19) And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?
(20) For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean.
(21) (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)
(22) Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.
(23) For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
(24) God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
(25) Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
(26) And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
(27) That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
(28) For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
As he (Paul) is on the Areopagus, on Mars Hill, talking to the philosophers there, he identifies the fact that they have this sort of idol there to the “UNKNOWN GOD,” just to cover all their bases. In case there’s any god left out, they don’t want them to be angry. So they give him a space, even though they don’t know his name. So Paul uses that and says, “Let me tell you about the God you don’t know who just happens to be the only God.”
And then he begins to describe God, starting in verse 24, and this is how he describes Him: “The God who made the world and all things in it.” Stop there. “The God who made the world and all things in it”—He is the Creator God. That comes from Psalm 146:5 and 6, “God who made heaven and the earth, the sea and all that is in them.” Zechariah 12:1, “God who forms the spirit of man within him.” Everything that is, God made. John 1:3, “Everything was made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.” God is the Creator, and God continues to be the Creator. He is seen as the Creator and the Ruler. He is Lord of heaven and earth, doesn’t dwell in temples made with hands. He’s not like your idols.
And then this (Acts 17:25), “He’s not served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath.” To all who live, God has given life. That’s the statement. He is the source of life to everyone who lives. He is the creator of everything. Nothing is in existence that He didn’t create, and everything that is in existence is in existence because He made it. We live because He gave us life.
In Psalm 104:30, “You send forth Your Spirit, they are created.” “You send forth Your Spirit, they are created.” And by the way, in Psalm 104 that includes everything that has life—plants, animals, humans, all the creation of God. Romans 11, in that great doxology—everything is by Him and for Him.
So we see then that He gives life to all, life and breath. Verse 26 (Acts 17:26), “He made from one”–that is from Adam; He started with Adam and took Eve out of Adam and everything came from there—“He made from one every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times in the boundaries of their inhabitation.” Now in verse 25, He made every individual thing that lives. In verse 26, He governs the collection of all that He has made. Verse 28, “In Him we live and move and exist.” And “even some of your own poets (namely, Epimendes and Aratus) said of God, ‘He is our Father, we are also His children.’ Being then the children of God.” Every individual–he’s talking to Greek philosophers, unbelievers—you’re children of God, in the sense that God created you, God made you.
Now this is not a distant activity on God’s part. And I’ll show you that by taking you back to Psalm 139, which I read earlier. Go with me back to Psalm 139, quickly for the sake of time, and I want you to understand some very clear statements here.
In the opening six verses, as we read…the psalmist talks about…the omniscience of God. He knows everything. This is a level of knowledge that the psalmist can’t understand. Neither can we. And then in verses 7 to 12 (Psalm 139:7-12), he talks about the omnipresence of God: He made everything; He knows everything; He is everywhere all the time. You can’t be out of His presence ever.
And then in verse 13 (Psalm 139:13), he moves to where that all really began in the personal sense. “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.” Just take that first statement, “You formed my inward parts.” Literally in Hebrew, “my kidneys.” “You formed my kidneys,” which was a term that was used to refer to the complex of organs that made up the human anatomy, or inside the human body. You, God, “formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.” The DNA strips that are woven together, You wove them together. You wove together the complex genetic plan that produced me. You were the weaver. In verse 14, “I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully”—that literally means “awesomely”– nora’ot, a Hebrew word meaning “high-level of reverential awe.” It’s a staggering thing to think of what You have done in fearfully and wonderfully making me. “Wonderful are Your works…my soul knows it very well.” I know that You made me.
And then he gets even more technical. ‘My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret.” You were making me and You framed me. What’s that? Bones, muscles, sinews, ligaments, tendons, structure. You were aware of all of it “when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth.” The “depths of the earth” is a euphemism for the womb, the hidden place, secret place.
Verse 16, ‘Your eyes have seen my unformed substance.” “My unformed substance,” what is that? It’s a Hebrew word that means something rolled together, something balled up before it unfolded, when it was just a genetic mass and, it was just that embryo–it was just that ball before it began to unfold. You framed it. You saw it, and You wrote in Your book everything that was going to take place for my days before any of them ever took place. This is God personally, intimately involved in the very first stages of life, life yet unfolded—God is intimately involved.
Can I tell you God is not looking at us like a map with red dots wherever there’s a person? God sees deep into us and has known us intimately from conception, from conception. That’s why He says in verse 17, “How precious are such thoughts to me.” He says, “You know so much about me that I can’t even count all Your thoughts about me, they would outnumber the sand of the sea.” Amazing statement! God knows intimately everything about you from the time of your conception, because He made you and He made every person ever conceived.
You’re not an animal. You’re not a biological accident. You’re not tissue at some point, and then you become a person. You’re a creation of God, by God, who weaves together the genetic code, who intimately sees the unformed fetus, and who guides the entire process. You’re not a mortal. No life is mortal. May I say this quickly? Every life conceived is immortal. Every single child conceived lives forever. Forever!
Manoah is the father of Samson. His wife, in Judges 13:3, had a visit from an angel, and the angel said to her, “You’re barren and you can’t have a child, but you will conceive and bear a son.” And that son was Samson. People have children because God creates them in their womb.
It doesn’t matter if you’re married, if you’re having sex with someone you’re not married to, if you were raped, if it was incest—it doesn’t change the creation of God. Still, life is created by God.
Job understood this. You go back in the most primitive time in history, that’s the time of Job, who lives at the time of the patriarchs. And he says in chapter 10, verse 8 (Job 10:8-11), “Your hands fashioned and made me altogether.” He says, “You made me like clay….You clothed me with skin and flesh.” Verse 11, “You knit me with bones and sinew; You granted me life. Your care preserved my spirit.” You kept me alive in the womb. You put me altogether. It says it again in chapter 31, verse 15 (Job 31:15); he says it again in chapter 33, verse 4 (Job 33:4). You can read such testimonies in Ecclesiastes and Isaiah, and you do remember the words of Jeremiah, chapter 1, verse 5 (Jer. 1:5), “I formed you in the womb, but before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” Wow! God says, “I formed you in the womb.”
In the New Testament, in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke, we learn that the Holy Spirit created Christ in the womb of Mary without a human father. Christ–when did Christ come into the world? Did He come into the world in His birth? Did Jesus come into the world in Bethlehem? No, Jesus came into the world in His conception, in His conception.
You say, “Well, what about a deformed baby? Are they a gift from the Lord?” Yeah, well as I said earlier, we’re all deformed; it’s only a question of degree. But listen to Exodus 4:11, “The Lord said to him”…to Moses…“‘Who made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?’”
John, Chapter 9; Jesus actually said, “This man was born blind for the glory of God.” People say, “Well we can kill them if it was a rape, or we can kill them if it was incest, or we can kill them if they’re defective?” Really!? It doesn’t change the fact that every creation is a creation of God. Abortion is an anti-God act. No wonder they didn’t want God in their platform.
Second thing I want to mention to you. Every creation is an act of God, and secondly, every person created is in the image of God, in the image of God; James 3:9 would be sufficient. Genesis 1, “He made man in His own image.” But in James 3:9, there’s this statement–I think it gets maybe overlooked, but essentially seals this issue—“We bless the Lord and Father, and we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God.” Wow! Better be careful how you treat men, people, because they’re made in the likeness of God. What does that mean? Well, there are incommunicable attributes that we don’t have, like eternality—we haven’t always existed; like omniscience—we don’t know everything; omnipresence—we can’t be everywhere; omnipotence—we don’t have all power; immutability—we’re not changeless. So there are incommunicable attributes, things that are true about the nature of God, that we don’t possess. But there are a whole realm of communicable attributes that have to do with personhood, relationship. God is a Trinity, and the image of God means we relate; we have the capability of relationships. And, of course, that’s what makes life life. We can love, and we can hate, and we can understand. We can feel, and we can think, and we can choose, and we can act. All those things that were given to us are part of the image of God.
Why capital punishment? Genesis 9:6, why does the Bible advocate capital punishment? Because it says in Genesis 9:6, “For he is made in the image of God.” When you kill someone made in the image of God, Genesis 9:6 says, “You lose your life.” Capital punishment for murder. Jesus upheld that, by the way, in the New Testament when the Romans came to arrest Jesus, Peter grabbed a sword and he started to fight and Jesus said, “Put your sword away, if you live by the sword, you die by the sword.” In other words, He affirmed capital punishment. If you take somebody’s life, Peter, they have a right to take yours. Why? Because of the sacredness of life—you’re killing a person in the image of God.
You can look at that on a negative side. If you look at Psalm 51:5 where David says, “In sin did my mother conceive me.” What he means by that, it’s not that he was illegitimate, but what he means by that is from the conception I was a sinner. And by the way, only a person can be a sinner, only a person can be a sinner. That’s personhood. No baby is a mistake. No baby is a sexual accident, or biological accident. No baby is a pile of tissue. And no baby is part of the mother’s body; it is a person created by God. So every life is created by God and created in His image, to bear His image.
Thirdly, every creation is the special object of God’s loving care. Every creation is the special object of God’s loving care. Why do you think that they’re in there for nine months? Why do you think that they’re in that protected place–the most, the safest; it should be the safest place on the planet, right?—the womb of the mother. Imagine, imagine criminals invading the womb of the mother, that the will of the mother is to kill the creation of God.
God doesn’t even want you to mock the poor. God doesn’t even want you to be indifferent toward the weak and the helpless. Well, they are the weakest and the most helpless. And Jesus Himself said, “Permit the little ones to come to Me and forbid them not for theirs is the kingdom of God.” And He gathered them into His arms, it says, and He blessed them.
You know, back in Exodus chapter 21, there’s a scenario there where you attack a woman and she’s pregnant, doesn’t result any harm to her or the child in the womb. No punishment. But if harm comes to her or the infant, Exodus 21 says, it’s the law of lex talionis, “like for like, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life.” So according to the law of Exodus, the killing of an infant was a murder, Exodus 21:22-25. That’s the protected place. And they’re the special care of God.
Why is it these people that are pro-abortion are so worried about what happens to the birds and the bugs and the animals? What a twisted compensation. So what the Scripture teaches us then is that conception is an act of God, each person is in the image of God, each person is the special care of God. Obviously, on the basis of all of this, we should treat them with compassion and great care.
A fourth point: God condemns murderers, God condemns murderers. Condemnation of murderers is the will of God. You shall not murder, Genesis 9:6, “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God made He man.” You know, when Reuben and his brothers sold Joseph into slavery in Genesis 42, as soon as he was gone, Reuben says this, “Now comes the reckoning for his blood.” Remember when Cain killed Abel and the blood of Abel in the ground cried out to God for vengeance? You go through the Old Testament; you find Leviticus, Joshua, Samuel, Kings, Ezekiel, all kinds of comment about blood guiltiness, that the blood of those slaughtered cries out for vengeance from God. And that’s the plight this country’s in. We’re just another country like all the rest that have gone down this same path. This is blatant paganism at its most rank level, at its most base level, headed for judgment in a sea of blood for the murder of babies, along with all the other perversions that go with it.
And I don’t think that anything shows more clearly the moral collapse of a society than the mass murder of little ones in the wombs of mothers. It’s so horrific; it’s hard to even comprehend. A nation of murderers, and the ground cries out to God.
Oh by the way, the Religious Coalition for Abortion is made up of the Church of the Brethren, Christian churches, Episcopal churches, Presbyterian churches, United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, United Presbyterian Church, and the YWCA, etc.—and the judgment of God awaits.
I have two final comments, and you need to hear them. It’s my last point, number five, and then another comment. Number five: overruling grace redeems murdered infants. Did you hear that? Please come back if you’ve been somewhere else mentally. Overruling grace redeems murdered infants. That doesn’t make it right any more than Judas would be honored for betraying Christ, even though Christ won our redemption through His death, even though the Romans brought Him to a cross that redeemed us, and the Jews sent Him to a cross that saved us. They’re not to be commended. It’s overruling grace that overrules sin. Overruling grace redeems murdered infants!
I want to show you that. I have a book called, Safe in the Arms of God. If you have questions about this issue, get the little book Safe in the Arms of God. It’s all there, but I just want you to listen to this. Psalm 22, the psalmist, “Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb. You made me trust when upon my mother’s breasts.” What a statement!
The psalmist knows that he belonged to God when he was in the womb. You have been my God from my mother’s womb. That’s why when David’s baby died, in 2 Samuel 12, he said, “He can’t come to me, but I will go to him.” Overruling grace redeems the little ones, takes them to glory. And God in grace redeems those who have been slaughtered, but holds the killers responsible for the crime.
Final word: there is forgiveness for that sin, like any sin. You say, “But it’s so severe, it’s murder.” Jesus said this in the Sermon on the Mount: If you hate somebody, you’re as bad as a murderer. Just so you don’t feel self-righteous, because you haven’t killed any babies, or anybody else—if you’ve hated anyone, you’re a murderer in your heart. Can murder be forgiven? Ask the apostle Paul. He was a murderer and a blasphemer and he found grace. There’s forgiveness and restoration completely available in Christ.
Our Father, we thank You that You have drawn us into this place today to worship You and to exalt You and glorify Your name. That’s what we’ve endeavored to do even in this very difficult subject. We know that we can’t sweep away the tsunami with our little broom. We know that the tsunami is coming, and it’s coming with divine power of destruction. But we can stand up for what is right. We can be a salt and light, a righteous testimony in an unrighteous world. Help us to do that, and help us to look at these people who advocate all of this the way Jeremiah looked at his sinful people, with sadness, not with hatred. We hate the evil, we hate the wicked and what they do, and yet we like Jeremiah wish that our heads were fountains so that we would have no end to the repository of tears that we could weep for those who will fall under judgment. We pray, Lord, that You will lift up Jesus Christ in this nation and all the false professors, the false people who claim to know You and Your Son, will be exposed in their hearts. First of all, for their own eternal safety, and that we might know what the true gospel is and true love for Christ. We might know what truth is, what righteousness is. We don’t have any right to ask for anything for this country, for we have no promises from You for that. But we do ask that there might be even in this dark, dark hour a great moving of the truth and the gospel, to save sinners before the judgment is final. And make us shining lights in the midst of the darkness and exalt Your Son. We pray in His name.###
John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, as well as an author, conference speaker, president of The Master’s College and Seminary, and featured teacher with the Grace to You media ministry. Founded in 1969, Grace to You is the nonprofit organization responsible for developing, producing, and distributing John’s books, audio resources, and the “Grace to You” radio and television programs. For more information visit http://johnmacarthur.org/
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More from my site
- Reclaiming Fatherhood and Restoring Fathers (Part 1)
- Reclaiming Fatherhood and Restoring Fathers (Part 2)
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- Abortion and the Campaign for Immorality
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