[Photo Credit: Not The Bee]
June 24 is a date that all Christians should now mark on their calendar.
For nearly half a century, January 22 was the day that remembered the decision to make abortion available throughout America. And since the decision of Roe v. Wade in 1973, January 22 has been a day of prayer, petition, and planning for the end of Roe. And now, that prayer has been answered. Glory be to God!
On Friday, when the Supreme Court decided that Roe was not constitutional, they gave us a new day on the calendar to remember the sanctity of life and to give thanks to God for his mercy. June, a month co-opted for gay pride, has returned the rainbow, if for a moment, to its rightful owner—the God of mercy who does not give us what we deserve (see Genesis 9). More on the rainbow another day.
For now, it is worth remembering how the removal of Roe has been a rallying point for Pro-Life Christians for decades. And now that Roe has been overturned, we should give thanks to God for answering our prayers, and we should honor all those who sacrificed in order to make it happen.
Simultaneously, we should acknowledge the ways that elections have tangible consequences. In the election of Donald Trump, evangelicals supported this polarizing figure not because of his skin color, personal faith, or Twitter personality (definitely not his Twitter), but because of promises like this:
Incredibly, he fulfilled those promises. And Roe is now history.
At the same time, Roe’s end should bring incrementalists and abolitionists closer together, as they work to implement laws which protect life. Abolitionists should give thanks for the work incrementalists have done to end Roe, and incrementalists should take up the challenge set out by abolitionists to legislate equal protection under the law. Far more could be accomplished if these two approaches to abortion would work together.
Still, this post and the sermon that follows are less about abortion qua abortion. Rather, they are a biblical reflection on the spiritual warfare that fuels the battle over abortion. Indeed, as already evidenced by 41 cases of vandalism against pro-life groups, Christians should be ready for the increasing hostility that will come with the Dobbs decision. This is the point I want to make here.
The Present Divide is Perpetual, Because It Is Spiritual
Currently, I am ready a futuristic novel set in the year 2024. In Doug Wilson’s Ride Sally Ride, a young man throws a robot sex doll into a trash compactor and is charged with murder. Such is the confusion of personhood that a doll can be a person, if the “husband” says so. My body, my choice, I guess. That’s Wilson’s hook.
More to the point, Ride Sally Ride is set in an America where the dissolution of Roe has divided the country into two nations—one red, one blue. And lest we think that such a future is impossible, the backlash against Roe is a reminder, that hard days are here to stay. But such a perpetual division has less to do with the “political” decisions of the court. It has everything to do with the spiritual battle for the unborn.
Indeed, as Scripture speaks, the devil and those under his sway have always sought to kill God’s image. In Egypt Pharaoh threw the sons of Israel into the Nile (Exod 2). Later Israel sacrificed their own children on the altar of Molech (2 Kings 17). And after Jesus was born, Herod killed dozens of baby boys around Bethlehem (Matthew 2). All in all, the State has often served as the Leviathan looking to devour its children. And in America, land of the free and home of brave, it has been no different.
In our country, children formed by God in the womb (Psalm 139) have long been under threat. And though Dobbs puts a dent in the darkness, it has only triggered those who want to make abortion rarely rare and always available. Accordingly, the division that currently stands between those seeking life and those choosing death will only grow worse, unless the Lord adds revival to this recent ruling.
In fact, if the threats, protests, and violence are any indication, we should expect the darkness to do what the darkness always does—dirty deeds, done dirt cheap. Following the ways of the devil, who is the Father of lies and a murderer from the beginning, we should expect those under his spell to continue to follow in his steps.
And lest think, as many will, that I am infusing an already tense situation with unnecessary hyperbole. Consider the way that Jesus spoke.
What Does Jesus Say?
44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)
In John 8, when addressing a crowd that was looking to kill him (John 5:18; 7:1), the true image of God did not hold back from identifying the source of his enemies rage. Instead, he says to those who looked at themselves as the truly righteous ones that their moral outrage came from their father the devil (John 8:44). Like father, like son.
Indeed, in John 8 Jesus gives us a definitive look at the sons of God and sons of the Devil. Or to use the language of Genesis 3:15, Jesus identifies his death-threatening opponents as the seed of the serpent. He, and by extension all who trust in him, are the seed of the woman. This is the perpetual division that stands in fixed in humanity.
From the beginning, there has been a long divide between people of faith and people of the flesh, those like Seth who called upon God (Gen. 4:26), and those like Lamech who collected wives, deviated from God’s law, and threatened violence (Gen. 4:23–24). In Jesus and ours, it is not different, and the divide is seen in the way people respond to the image of God—to Christ and those created to share his likeness (i.e., children in the womb).
Understandably, this view of the world takes some time to understand. It is not seen with the naked eye, nor explicated on the nightly news. Rather, it comes from the Word of God. But once you see it in Scripture, you can’t unsee it. In fact, you soon discover that underneath, around, and beside all the political debates of our day, there is a divide at the center of humanity that spiritual and ubiquitous. And few places in Scripture do more to explain this spiritual divide than John 8:31–47.
On Sunday, I preached on this passage and how Jesus’s view of a divided world help us understand current events. Even more though, Jesus’s words teach us why we need him, why he alone can bring peace, and why that peace leads to spiritual warfare in our day. If you want to know more about Jesus’s words about this perpetual, spiritual division, you can listen here.
May the Lord continue to give us wisdom to be light in a dark world. And may the light of Christ continue to push into the darkness.
Soli Deo Gloria, ds