In South Africa, the last Sunday of January every year is remembered as Sanctity of (Human) Life Sunday. The date was chosen to coincide as closely as possible with the date on which our country legalised abortion on demand.
On 1 February 1997, despite an overwhelming opposition of the majority of South Africans to the proposed legislation, former President Nelson Mandela signed into law the Termination of Pregnancy Act, which affords legal protection to those who wish to kill their unborn children. Since the first week of February 1997, one million unborn babies have been murdered with legal, constitutional protection—and that in what should be the safest place on earth: a mother’s womb.
With the Termination of Pregnancy Act legal protection is afforded those who desire to kill their unborn child(ren). Hospitals, which are supposed to be safe havens, are now places where the unborn are torn apart in their mother’s womb—with legal sanction. Abortion services are freely advertised in the media, and abortuaries (such as Marie Stopes Clinics) operate with full legal protection.
The South African Constitution, which is possibly the most liberal Constitution on earth, and which purports to be committed to the welfare of all peoples who live in the country, allows for the murder of its most defenceless: the unborn.
Of course this is not merely a regional holocaust, for abortion is a worldwide horror; one which is legalised in what is ironically called the “free” world. In the United States there are some 1.5 million legalised murderous assaults on the unborn every year, and in places which have recently experienced their political freedom, places such as the former USSR, there are now nearly as many abortions as there are births—if not more. Some estimates suggest that as many as 50 million babies are killed worldwide by abortion every year!
In a twist of moral irony, some Communist countries are now beginning to outlaw abortion (a practice that they formerly supported) because their population growth rate is dangerously low. In other words, where freedom is touted, babies are freely being murdered; and where freedoms are repressed, human beings in the womb are safer.
In the so called “Christian West,” babies are more likely to be murdered with legal sanction than in the Muslim and Communist East.
For last three years, BBC has recognised what is termed Sanctity of (Human) Life Sunday in South Africa. It is a day in which we as a local church (and many others throughout our land) highlight the evil of abortion—both in our land and worldwide. But we do not highlight it hopelessly. Rather we highlight it for the purpose of exposing it with a view to ending it.
As biblically-instructed believers we have a God-centred, gospel-motivated expectation that abortion will be ended one day. It is for this reason that we talk about abortion. Our goal is to expose it so as to end it. And it will end because of the evangel, the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul in Ephesians 5 exhorts believers to live out what they are and whom they represent. He exhorts them to be Christians. With reference to living surrounded by a culture of darkness, Paul exhorts believers to both abstinence and to action.
The emphasis in this chapter is on walking: walking in love, walking in light and walking in wisdom. As the believer walks through a sin-cursed world he does so with the desire to see the darkness overcome by the light of Christ. Therefore, the way that the believer conducts his life is radically different than the accepted norms of the culture. If we will effectively confront the evil of abortion then we too must walk in love, walk in the light and walk in wisdom.
The so-called West, along with those nations which are increasingly “Westernised,” has been described as engulfed in a “culture of death” (in contrast to a “culture of life”). Life is not valued, and the result is that life is increasingly under threat. This should not surprise us, for when a culture is engulfed in spiritual darkness, the ways of its father will prevail (John 8:41, 44). And the increasing acceptance of abortion as a “choice” to end a pregnancy is exhibit A.
In our study this morning I want to highlight what Paul says with reference to how the church should behave and respond to such a culture of darkness and death: We are to expose it with the goal of ending it—driven by the gospel. This is a Christ-centred agenda.
It is true that Paul does not mention abortion per se in this passage, yet his description of the deeds of darkness which were so prevalent in Ephesus give us good textual ground on which we can address the dark deed of abortion in our own society.
We will deal with this subject under three main headings. But first we must establish the context.
Paul mentions some of norms in the culture of Ephesus, and we will easily note that the times have not changed.
In Ephesus, there was a sexual free-for-all in connection with idolatry. The temple of Diana (Artemis) stood in Ephesus, and temple prostitution was an integral part of Diana worship. The worship of Aphrodite, goddess of love, was also common in Ephesus. Ephesus exhibited very much a Sodom and Gomorrah culture. The result was a trivialisation of God’s gift of sex. This was manifested by (among other things) obscene talk. A mockery was made of God’s good gift.
A culture of greed had engulfed Ephesus. This can be seen, for example, in Acts 19, where a riot was started because of the material cost to idolatry that the influence of the gospel started.
Does all of this sound familiar? Are these things not characteristic in Western culture today? Both of these issues—the sexual free-for-all and the culture of greed—are contributing factors to the evil of abortion. We will see how this is so below.
The question is, how was the Ephesian church to respond? Happily, we are left in no doubt as to what they were to do, and so we need not be in doubt with respect to what we are to do.
We Are to Expose the Evil
First, Paul exhorted the Ephesians to expose the evil that surrounded them. They were to do this in two ways.
The first means of exposure was to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness” (v. 11). Separation itself makes a statement.
As noted above, Ephesus was dominated by sexual promiscuity. God’s gift of sex, for which we should be thankful, was both trivialised and idolised in the wider culture. Believers were (and are) to have nothing to do with such a lifestyle, for it is not proper.
Paul emphasised earlier (vv. 5-6) that a sexually promiscuous lifestyle is absolutely incompatible with being a follower of God in Christ. Back in 2008, driven by precisely this truth, J. I. Packer resigned from the Canadian Anglican Church, criticising its leaders as “heretical” because of their rejection of the biblical teaching on homosexuality. Under Canadian law, Packer could well have faced arrest for “hate speech,” but he stood on the absolute authority of Scripture, which describes homosexuality as a grave sin. Packer described the liberties that Canadian bishops were affording open gays and lesbians as “persistent, unrepentant doctrinal disorder” and referred to their teaching on homosexuality as “open liberalism.”1
Packer understood the need to stand on Scripture regarding the issue of sexuality and we need to do the same. Paul exhorted believers to “have no fellowship with those” who trivialised or idolised sex. That is, believers were to refuse to join them in their sin. They were in no way to give support (even tacitly) to such behaviour. Such people were not to be their closest companions. And if they professed to be believers then there was to be no association at all (1 Corinthians 5).
In v. 3, Paul linked “fornication” and “all uncleanness” with “covetousness.” Instead of being thankful for God’s provision of sex, it appears that the Ephesians allowed a sense of entitlement and greed to settle in. This same principle is no doubt one reason for much of the evil of abortion in wealthier societies.
The reason that it is expected for believers to separate from such sinful behaviour is quite simply because those who have been saved are different; they are light in contrast to darkness. They, in fact, are so closely connected to Christ—the Light of the World (John 8; 9)—that they are viewed as light in the Lord (cf. Matthew 5:14). As they walk as such, their lives will shine on the fruit of Christ in their life which is good, right and true.
Rather than associating with and approving the deeds of darkness, believers are to seek to discover (discern) and to do what pleases the Lord. That is, they are to search the Scriptures and let those Scriptures shape their worldview. They are to avoid what displeases the Lord.
But this is not the only response called for.
Rather than participating in, promoting or tacitly approving “the unfruitful works of darkness,” believers are to “expose them” (v. 11). As Maclaren rightly says, silent abstinence is not enough.2
A Courageous Rebuke
Believers must reprove, confront, and seek to correct individuals who are doing such evil deeds. Yes, people must be confronted because the unfruitful deeds of darkness are done by people! “To ignore evil is to encourage it; to keep quiet about it is to help promote it. . . . We are to confront sin with intolerance.”3
Sinclair Ferguson notes with reference to the light of the believer, “His or her life is not merely a matter of darkness-avoidance. It includes darkness-exposure. One cannot be light without exposing darkness.”4
Such exposing occurs by a life of contrast as well as undergirding actions of confrontation. Life and lips must be coupled together in the task of being God’s light in Christ to bear upon evil deeds. And, of course, as the passage has already indicated, such exposure is to be done in the context of love.
Further, as Paul indicates in v. 17, such exposure is to be done with wisdom, which implies that the confrontation will be done in a winsome way. Wisdom, says Ferguson, “involves knowing how to achieve the best ends in the best way.”5
Paul undergirds this exhortation in v. 12 by stressing the evil nature of these deeds of darkness. “For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.” Some sins are so disgraceful that is even brings a sense of shame to mention them. Paul blushes to mention them.
Precisely what does Paul mean when he says that some sins are “shameful”? It could mean that those sins cause people to blush with shame. Or, it could mean that such deeds are of such a nature that it is shameful to even speak of them in such a way that doing them is even in the slightest way entertained as a possibility. In other words, such deeds are so evil that they should never even be debated as an option.
I appreciate Maclaren’s insight on this, “One reason for speaking out is the very fact that the evils are so evil that a man is ashamed to speak about them. . . . Let us remember Paul’s exhortation, and reprove because the things are too bad to be spoken about.”6 Rather than discussing such deeds (in a tantalising or trivialising, or sensational way), the believer is to shine the light of God’s truth in Christ upon them. Rather than seeking to be “sophisticated” in debate and association, the believer is to unapologetically expose the evil deed in order to end it.
According to Paul, as expressed in v. 14, this is basic Christianity. It is obvious that, when Paul wrote this to the church at Ephesus, his main point was not to speak to the issue of abortion. But even though Paul may not have had abortion on the mind (this listing of sins is not comprehensive but rather characteristic of Ephesus) the principles that he set forth here in this passage are very relevant to this issue. Let me mention several.
First, we must neither trivialise nor idolise that which is sexual. It is just such sinful response to God’s good gifts that makes abortion both trivialised and idolised as well.
For example, consider how abortion is trivialised by the terminology. Abortionists (or at least those who consider abortion to be acceptable) speak of themselves as “pro-choice,” as if abortion is simply one legitimate choice among many when it comes to the value of human life. But as one bumper sticker reads, “It’s not a choice, it’s a child.”
South African legislature speaks of the Termination of Pregnancy Act, when in fact abortion is nothing less than murder. “Termination,” of course, sounds far more civilised, but it is simply word games.
Pro-choicers sometimes speak of “the product of conception” as opposed to a child. The goal, of course, is to distance themselves from the guilt of ending a human life. It is far easier to “terminate a product” than it is to “kill a child.” Pro-choicers speak in terms of the baby being a foetus. Granted, this is a medical term and it is not medically incorrect to speak in such terms. Nevertheless, from the earliest stages the foetus is actually a baby.
Abortion is often described in terms of a “surgical procedure,” as if it is equivalent to an appendectomy. In fact, it is the invasion of the child’s home for the purpose of assault, battery and murder!
But abortion is not only trivialised in terms of terminology. Consider, for example, how abortion is justified because of the poverty in which the mother or parents live, which leads to the conclusion that they will not be able to take care of the child. Such economic arguments trivialise the horrific evil of murdering a child in the womb.
Or consider how abortion is trivialised by the frequency with which it is sought repeatedly by women. A recent China Daily article spoke of how girls as young as 18 and 19 were returning to abortion clinics for their third and fourth abortions!
Consider further how abortion is trivialised by the use of birth control methods that are abortifacient. Chemical birth control can abort a fertilised egg. Certain forms of contraception are designed to produce a hostile environment for a fertilised egg. The argument here is often that there is such a miniscule chance of an abortion taking place, as if the act is justified by the percentages. There are a whole lot of healthy human beings in our world today who were statistically and medically improbable!
In similar vein, many Christians dismiss such birth control as a “necessary evil.” Even though many are aware that such a form of birth control can result in an abortion, the idea of “out of sight, out of mind” or (again) the argument of “minute possibility” is bandied about and entertained in such a way that life in the womb and the evil of abortion is trivialised.
Another way in which abortion is trivialised is, when discussing the issue, many say that they are opposed to it—except, of course, in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger. Of course it is then permissible! But such caveats trivialise the horror of abortion and slowly but surely it becomes increasingly acceptable. Such caveats only tend to undermine the truth that the life in the womb is a human being who has the right to life.
Or consider, finally, how many professing believers argue that although abortion is wrong, it is not our duty to be involved in “social issues,” but only to preach the gospel. But when we argue that abortion is tantamount to the social gospel, and that the church should not involve itself in politics, the danger is very near that we end up trivialising its horror.
I was recently in the company of a group of pastors where Sanctity of Life Sunday—and in particular the observance of the day by local churches in their worship services—was being discussed. One pastor said, “I did it once but it seems to me that to give one whole Sunday a year to abortion is an excess. After the first one I gave it a minute each subsequent year.” Now, to be fair, I can understand such a misconception, if one considers abortion a political issue rather than a spiritual issue. If I am honest, I will have to admit that I thought along similar lines for a long time—until I came to see that abortion is in fact a gospel issue.
Fundamentally, all such trivialising approaches to abortion in the end trivialise God and His transcendent truth.
Second, it must be mentioned again that when a society idolises sex, abortion is a fruit of such evil. There has been a horrific amount of blood shed at the altar of sexual promiscuity in the form of abortion. And the motivation has been a not-so-subtle idolatry: the idolatry of self and thus of sex.
For example, consider the frequent cry of the abortion-minded that “a woman has a right to do what she wants with her body.” This, of course, neglects the fact that the baby aborted is not her own body, but the body of another individual. Or consider the horror stories with respect to backstreet abortions and the suffering that results. In other words, “My life, my body, is important rather than the life and body that is living in me.”
The “morning after pill” and the carefree and self-consciously embraced attitude towards controlling one’s life is another evidence of this idolatry. In the end, by such means one indicates that she is seeking satisfaction, security and significance according to her own dictates.
A third principle that must be highlighted here is that of covetousness. How much blood has been shed because of covetousness! Frequently you hear newlyweds say, “I don’t want kids to get in the way,” or, “I want to travel,” or, “We want to build up financially first.” And so the attainment of earthly possessions and goals takes precedence over the desire to bear children. This often results in women carelessly remaining on abortifacient chemical contraceptives, and sometimes even in surgical abortions.
Sadly, this attitude is often perpetuated in Christian circles by careless words being directed at married couples who fall pregnant early in marriage. “Don’t you know what causes babies?” “Don’t you have TV?” There is almost a stigma attached to what is perceived to be “too soon” pregnancies. Let me just say, young people, if you get married and fall pregnant on your honeymoon, God bless you! Children are indeed a heritage of the Lord!
A fourth principle to highlight is the need for compassionate and courageous relief. Yes, the church—and local churches!—has the responsibility to expose this evil. We must develop a conscience about it. It must be a part of our biblical worldview. We must confront it. We must condemn it. We must seek to correct it. And we must do so compassionately.
If we will have the effect that our Lord expects for us to have then we must be willing to expose ourselves to conflict as we expose the evil of abortion. Prolife advocate Douglas R. Scott is to the point when he says, “The pro-life movement will only succeed to the extent that pro-life people are willing to be inconvenienced.”7 And as Gregg Cunningham says, “Most people who say they oppose abortion do just enough to salve the conscience but not enough to stop the killing.”8
Paul expected believers to be wise to both their responsibilities and their risks. And one mark of wisdom is to realise the value of opportunities and to use them to the glory of God. The risk is that we will spend our time and opportunities in uneconomical ways.
So then, believers are to discern the will of the Lord and to do the will of the Lord as we declare the will of the Lord.
In relation to the above, the church must be constructive in their response to abortion. For example, the church needs to be adoption-conscious. The church must equip itself to counsel people away from the abortuaries. We must be prolife in mindset and ministry.
The Christian is expected to expose evil with the goal of ending it. He is expected by God to confront evil with the goal of conquering evil. And, of course, this is so because we are followers of God as His beloved children. Like Father, like son.
God wants His will done on earth as it is heaven. He wants His kingdom (rule) to come and His name to be hallowed. And this is directly connected to the overthrowing of the deeds of darkness.
Overthrowing of the deeds of darkness is what the cross was about. As Paul wrote to the Colossians: “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:13-15).
Related to the above, the church must expound on it as a means of equipping the church to expose it so as to end it.
We Are to Expect the End of the Evil
The second major point to consider is that, as Christians, we should expect the end of the evil. We have good reason to. One day God’s will will be done on earth as it is in heaven—and there is no murder in heaven.
But how will this evil come to an end? Let me suggest two ways.
By its Abolition
There is every biblical reason to expect that the evil of abortion will be ended one day in our land and the rights of the unborn will be respected. We can expect that one day we will have a government that will abolish this evil (see Isaiah 65). And no doubt an important element in this coming to pass will be believers behaving like salt and light and so engaging the culture that government will listen.
Of course such an assertion raises all sorts of questions. Let me attempt to deal with some of these.
First, the church must come to grips with the understanding that the Bible never forbids believers from engaging the government as a means of addressing moral issues.
What is government? Government is a person or persons ordained by God with the responsibility to restrain the exercise of power. This is what it means to rule. Governments rule by applying rules so that those they rule will not themselves rule! In other words, governments exercise authority so there will not be anarchy. (And it must be noted that neither are governors permitted by God to be anarchous; that is, tyrants!)
Government is called to so minister God’s law (Romans 13—they are the ministers of God) that people are restrained from exercising their individual power to do what is wrong. In other words, government is ordained of God to restrain chaos so that there might be cosmos (see for example 1 Timothy 2:1-8).
Therefore government should adopt and enforce legislation that restricts a mother (and/or father) from exercising an illegitimate autonomous power against the life of a child—both outside the womb (and we do have such laws) and inside the womb (which laws we don’t have; in fact we have laws that remove all restraints from such behaviour).
Since government is the appointed minister of God, it is to govern according to God’s law. Therefore it really is a no brainer that the government must enact and enforce legislation that makes the murder of the unborn a crime. For government to support legislation that allows the killing of the unborn is an affront to Almighty God and an autonomous defiance of Him. So, how then should the church respond? Should we merely throw up our hands in despair as we conclude that that Romans 13 tells us to passively submit to the powers that be? After all, is it not the case that we should have little to do with the kingdoms of this world? Did not Jesus tell us that His kingdom is not of this world? Does this not mean that the Church should not engage in any political involvement? I think not.
First, Jesus did not forbid His disciples from speaking out against that which is evil. In fact, the worst crime in history was committed by the Jews and the Romans (see Acts 2:22-23; 3:13-15; 4:7-11; 5:22-32; 7:1-53). Stephen confronted human kings because he saw the King (Acts 7:54-56).
Some may argue that the Jewish rulers were not governmental rulers and therefore there is not a legitimate parallel with the issues of Romans 13. Such an argument does not stand in the light of Acts 23:1-5. There, Paul confessed his wrong when he spoke disrespectfully to the high priest—not primarily because he was a high priest but because he was invested with authority. Paul quotes Exodus 22:28 in support of this. In other words, Paul understood that all authorities, at every level of society, are ordained of God.
The point to be made is that we do have biblical support for the position that God’s people can speak God’s Word to those who govern us when they are supplanting the Word of God. But, as Paul’s example instructs us, we must do so respectfully and be prepared to suffer for it. Our exposition of the truth coupled with our efforts to expose is to be done with the expectation that we will pay a price.
Second, it is clear from the whole counsel of God that though there are two kingdoms, there is nevertheless one King and one law—the King’s law! People often object that Jesus did not come to earth to set up a political party. They are absolutely correct. He came to set up a theocracy, a kingdom. Although the church and the state are separate with respect to their duties, they are not separate with reference to their accountability to God. Both are to live under the sovereign rule of God’s law. The church is to inform the government with respect to God’s expectations, and the government is to carry out God’s expectations (not necessarily the church’s expectation). And so there are two spheres (and thus two duties), but one King and therefore one law.
Third, we must grapple with the issue of theocracy. Under the old covenant, Israel operated under a theocracy where, quite clearly, the church informed the state. (It should always be noted that even under that economy there was a separation of church and state. Consider, for example, Saul’s unauthorised offering, for which God judged him.) It is true that no country today functions as a theocracy. Nevertheless, this is a goal of the church. In fact, it would seem that this was the commission of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 28:18-20. The King has commanded us to disciple the nations to submit to His rule. This is also what we are commanded to pray: “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Certainly God’s will is that babies not be murdered—neither outside the womb nor in the womb!
We must ask ourselves whether, when Jesus told the disciples to pray this way (Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:1-4), He was authoritatively instructing them or whether He was merely suggesting an option. It would seem to me that when the disciples asked for instruction with respect to how and what to pray for, Jesus’ answer was prescriptive. These are request that Jesus desires for His people to ask the Father in His name.
As a matter of application, perhaps we would do well to consider a question that a church member recently posed to me: Isn’t it hypocritical to pray for God’s will (including the ending of baby-killing) to be done, but then vote for a political party that actually supports such baby-killing? Is this not a case of defeating our own prayers? It certainly smacks of pragmatism and self-centredness.
Here is the sum of what I have said: The church is a theocracy. We are ruled by one and He is our King. We must submit to His law. But because we love God we desire to see His name hallowed; and His name is desecrated in many ways in our society, not the least of which when those whom He has created are murdered in the womb. This is contrary to His prescriptive will and therefore we must expound His will and expose that which is contrary to His will with the goal of ending that which violates His will.
But this immediately leaves us with another very apt question: How? What will it take to see abortion—a God-defying assault approved by the government—come to an end?
Abolition of abortion is dependent on transformation of hearts and minds.
One reason that Paul exhorts us to live as light in the midst of the darkness is so that the darkness will become light. Listen once again to Maclaren: “The intention of all of this conviction is that the thing disclosed to be darkness should, in the very disclosure, cease to be dark, should forsake its nature and be transformed into light . . . that the merciful conviction by the light will be followed by the conversion of darkness into light.”9 And Wood points out, “The exposure and reproving of sin by the light of Christ may lead to salvation, as it did for the Ephesians themselves (v. 8).”10
Yes, we must expose it for the evil that it is but that is not sufficient. What we need, in order for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, is for the majority of society to walk in love, to walk in the light and to walk in wisdom. In other words, what we need is for the nation to be evangelised.
We Are to Evangelise in the Midst of the Evil
We need to be careful to resist the temptation to lose our focus, to be pugnacious and obnoxious. After all, the issue of abortion is not a war against flesh and blood, but rather the (literal) destruction of flesh and blood is the result of a Satanic attack on God (John 8:44). Murder perhaps is the most intense form of blasphemy. And so, as we expound and expose the evil of abortion, we do so in the meekness of Christ, seeking to tear down every argument that exalts itself against His rightful Lordship.
Related to the above, the church must seek to win the hearts and minds of men with the life-transforming gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is essential that we grasp the truth that this is not merely an addendum that we attach to our prolife activities in order to be religiously correct before the church. Rather, this gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is what drives us to protect life. After all, as we love God we will love our neighbour—including the ones we cannot see. And if we love them then we will desire to protect them, for their sakes and for God’s.
Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Surely we did not know this,” does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?
If we are winsome we may well win some. Prolife involvement, when biblically approached, is a wise way to invest our resources.
We must note that the only lasting solution to this problem of the trivialisation of sex is the gospel. The gospel points us to the transcendent God, which in turn shows us something of the transcendent sanctity of life: It is given by God and it will last forever—somewhere.
As we have seen, because sex is idolised God is minimised with the result that what He says about anything is minimised—including His laws with reference to sexuality and not murdering. With this kind of worldview, with such a skewed approach to worship, the murder of the unborn becomes nothing but an option; it becomes nothing but a choice.
The abortuaries of our land are testimony to a godless worldview. They are testimony to the spiritual darkness which engulfs much of our society. They are a stark reminder that the church, made up of individual children of God, must expose them and seek to change things by the light of God (i.e. the Lord Jesus Christ). And this will only happen through the gospel.
Further, those who have had an abortion, or who have performed abortions, or who have advised an abortion, are under the guilt of the sin of murder. They need forgiveness. They need redemption. They need transformation. They need the love of God in Christ Jesus. If we ever lose sight of this reality then we will be missing out completely on the motivating context behind Ephesians 5:11-13.
We see the darkness where others cannot. And the reason is because, in accordance with v. 14, we have heard the joyful sound of the risen Savour calling unto us to awake from spiritual slumber, to arise from spiritual death. We have been translated from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of Christ, God’s dear Son. And it is in that light that we are burdened and driven and motivated to shine that light to the benefit of others.
The gospel of God is the light which shone into our hearts, thus delivering us from a self-centred worldview in which God’s truth was trivialised and our own pursuits were idolised. And it is because of that light that we now see better than those who are in darkness. We therefore desire for others to be delivered from such darkness and we desire to deliver those who are suffering at the hands of those who are in the darkness. In other words, we are driven to defend the defenceless from those who are controlled by the darkness.
It is for this reason that we are committed to expounding what God says about that which is evil, thereby exposing that which is evil with the goal of ending such evil. And the driving impetus is the evangel which delivered us from evil. This same evangel will deliver others as well.
In sum, the following can be said: The church—and local churches—must be committed to proclamation as the means to regeneration, resulting in such transformation that the result will be abolition of abortion. In other words, the church of the Lord Jesus Christ must be equipped by the gospel with the gospel to such a degree that it will be emboldened and energised to expound God’s Word to those in the darkness, thus exposing the darkness with the God-centred expectation to end the works of darkness.
This in fact is the plotline of the Bible. God’s revealed will is to restore a fallen world from darkness to light. There is coming a day when abortion will literally be both unspeakable and unthinkable. The gospel will conquer and Christ rule will be perfectly obeyed. God’s will will be done on earth as it is in heaven. In the meantime may the Lord empower us with His grace to expect the end of all evil—including that of abortion—because of a confidence in the gospel to so transform lives to the exaltation of the glory of God.
- Douglas Todd, “Influential evangelical theologian latest to split with Anglican Church,” http://goo.gl/S4B72. ↩
- Alexander Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1977), 13:310. ↩
- John F. MacArthur, Jr., Ephesians: The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Moody Press: Chicago, 1986), 212. ↩
- Sinclair B. Ferguson, Let’s Study Ephesians (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2005),134. ↩
- Ferguson, Let’s Study Ephesians, 138. ↩
- Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture, 13:311-12. ↩
- Douglas R. Scott, Jr., Bad Choices: A Look Inside Planned Parenthood (Colorado Springs: Legacy Communications,, 1992), ??. ↩
- Scott Klusendorf, The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2009), ??. ↩
- Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture, 13:312-313. ↩
- A. Skevington Wood, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981), 11:70. ↩