Why are Christians pro-life?
God has revealed that all humans are made in His image, giving each of us inherent dignity which must be mutually respected with protection. For Christians, the depth of the value of humanity is further underscored by being personal recipients of God’s incomprehensible self-sacrifice for us through His death on the cross.
Jesus is God in the flesh, and He is infinitely valuable. His death is designed to be a ransom, buying us back from the deadly violence sin unleashed upon all mankind by Adam and Eve, trusting their own wisdom over God’s. Matthew 16:26 reveals we are told how valuable our souls are. If Jesus is infinitely valuable and He exchanged His life for ours, He must place infinite, incalculable value on us too.
So how do the truths revealed in God’s word about man’s intrinsic dignity and worth translate into protecting preborn boys and girls from abortion? The Bible is replete with Scripture like Isaiah 1:16-17 with God’s desire to protect the oppressed and insists that His desires ought to be reflected in His people’s behavior. Interestingly, the only time in all of recorded Scripture where Jesus was angry with all 12 disciples was in Luke 18:15-17. He caught them rebuking parents for bringing their infants to be blessed. Jesus, livid, stops what He was doing to publicly rebuke His disciples, saying, “Permit the children to come to me.”
Why? “…for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
Jesus, typically extremely patient, demonstrates anger because apparently, the disciples should have known better. So, what is it about babies and their citizenship in Heaven that the disciples missed?
A baby has no resources or power of his own, having no legal standing or voice with which to protect himself. Unless someone takes responsibility for that baby, he will die of exposure within hours or days. So too, a sinner before a holy God has no legal standing, no resources or rights, or voice within the holy courtroom of God. It was as if Jesus was saying to the disciples, “That baby is you!” One sin offends an infinite God, requiring infinite payment.
Since God’s perfect justice requires payment for all sin and we do not have infinite resources, unless someone picks up our cause, we too will die of exposure to our sin. The whole purpose of Jesus’ ministry is to pick up our cause. I have come to meet perfect justice with perfect mercy through the cross.
One might say, “Ok, I get that. But how does this apply to preborn boys and girls? Wasn’t Jesus speaking about babies already born?”
Scripture’s clarity about loving one’s neighbor is uncontested. James 2:8-9 clarifies the definition of love by describing its opposite, not as hate, but as partiality. Since God loves us as Himself, we who are made in His image are designed to do the same toward others.
Partiality violates this royal law since it is one person playing God, deciding who qualifies for their favor and who does not.
In Luke 10, a lawyer once asked Jesus what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus asked him to provide the answer himself since he was the lawyer. So, he responded correctly with love the Lord and your neighbor as yourself. After Jesus congratulated him, the lawyer “wishing to justify himself,” his failure to love certain neighbors, he queries again, “And who is my neighbor?” This question is the evil seed sprouting the tree of injustice. An eerily similar question was asked and answered by nine lawyers in 1973, asking if a preborn baby is a person. Their answer? “The word person does not apply to the unborn” (Roe v Wade). But what response did Jesus give his lawyer? He responded with the parable of the Good Samaritan.
A fellow countryman walking the dangerous Jericho Road is set upon by violent bandits who beat him and leave him for dead. The religious and ruling elite refuse to help, walking by on the other side of the road. Then along comes the Good Samaritan, who, having no obligation to help the dying man, sacrifices his time, tools, voice, and money to give the poor man his life back. After delivering the parable, Jesus asks the lawyer which of the fellow travelers proved to be a neighbor to the fallen man. In Luke 10:37, the answer being obvious, Jesus commands him, and all of us, to “Go and do the same".
Who is our neighbor? Those beaten and left for dead. The weak and vulnerable of society. No one is more vulnerable than a woman who is so alone that she believes abortion is her only choice. No one is weaker than a preborn boy or girl whose mother thinks she must choose between her life and her baby’s.
Christians implicitly understand that as sinners, we were the weak and vulnerable who, through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, were saved from being beaten and left for dead by our sin and the sins of others. Sin is violence, ultimately destroying everyone. The cross is the violence to end all violence. The cross is where Jesus demonstrates the priceless value of a person. The cross is where Jesus becomes our Good Samaritan. The cross is where perfect justice meets perfect mercy. And the mercy of the cross is open to all. The cross is the epicenter of the universe reversing the effects of sin and death through the hope of the resurrection. The cross frees us from sin and the fear of death, empowering us to “Go and do the same,” giving life back to our fellow travelers.
As Christians, Jesus says to us in Luke 9:23, “Take up your cross and follow me”. What can this mean but to love our Lord Jesus by sacrificing our life resources to protect the lives of others, even strangers, even abortion-vulnerable women, even preborn boys and girls whose lives are at risk of being aborted? So it is that Christians can identify with the plight of the preborn, viewing abortion as the greatest systemic injustice in human history. So it is that Christians are empowered with such deep-seated passion and are on a mission, commissioned by their Lord, the God of the universe, to speak the truth about what it means to be human under God.
Christ gave us life and hope amidst fear, doubt, and death. We now can go and do likewise. We do this not because we are trying to acquire eternal life, but because we have been given it.
So, for these reasons and more, Christians are pro-life — and pro-eternal life!
Rev. James R. Harden, M.Div. is the CEO of CompassCare Pregnancy Services and lives outside of Rochester, NY, with his wife and ten children. Jim pioneered the first measurable and repeatable medical model in the pregnancy center movement, helping hundreds of centers nationwide become more effective at reaching more women and saving more babies from abortion. He has written extensively on medical ethics, executive leadership, and pro-life strategy.