On June 24th, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled the only constitutional rights that exist are those expressly stated in the Constitution, and all other decisions are (according to the checks and balances in the Constitution) reserved for the people and their elected representatives in legislative bodies to pass laws.
As someone who at one time considered a career in constitutional law, I rejoiced, but as a Christian, this ruling made me weep for joy. Why? Because I have prayed for the last twenty-five years for the judicially-sanctioned killing of unborn human life to end.
You see, God used the issue of abortion to start directing me into gospel ministry. Around 25 years ago, I was first told what abortion was; then, when I was in high school, I saw my first pictures of an abortion and recognized it for what it is – the termination of a distinct, unique, unborn, innocent human life. It was then that I began to pursue an education in constitutional law.
Along the way, I was introduced to the abolitionists of the 19th century, who argued the unalienable God-given rights codified in the Declaration of Independence are written in order of priority – first life, then liberty, then the pursuit of happiness. Slavery is an egregious injustice because it prioritizes someone’s pursuit of happiness over another’s liberty. Likewise, abortion is an egregious injustice because it prioritizes someone’s liberty and pursuit of happiness over another’s life. There is a necessary order of priority when it comes to basic human rights: first life, then liberty, then the pursuit of happiness.
But an abolitionist who really captured my attention was William Wilberforce, who tirelessly worked to bring the British slave trade to an end. Wilberforce understood slavery was morally wrong. Why? Because each human life is made in the image of God and is therefore of equal dignity, value, and worth. How did he come to such convictions? Through the influence of a bible-believing, gospel-preaching pastor named John Newton.
Thus began my realization that God’s work doesn’t start from the top-down in halls of power; but from the bottom-up in hearts and minds, as God’s Spirit impresses God’s truth into people’s hearts that they might be born again and come to an understanding of the truth. Thus, I have been a minister of the gospel for over the last ten years.
And as a minister of this gospel, I want to state that Dobb’s ruling should cause all of God’s people to humbly rejoice, for three reasons:
First, the ending of the judicially-sanctioned killing of unborn human life accords with Biblical justice. There are only three situations in Scripture where ending a human life can even possibly be considered lawful – in situations of self-defense, capital punishment, and just war. The ending of human life outside those specific situations is clearly defined by God as murder. Beyond this, Galatians 5:14 says, “The entire law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” and Jesus said in Matthew 7:14, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Would you want your life ended as these lives in the womb are ended – without cause, without defense, without mercy? Then do for others what you would want to be done for you.
This is not a political position. This is the historic position Christians have taken for over two-thousand years! That why the Didache, a first-century eyewitness account of what Jesus’ apostles taught, says, “You shall not murder a child by abortion or kill what has been begotten through infanticide.” Abortion is not some new invention that Christians are just now speaking out against. It has existed since ancient times, and the body of Christ has always spoken out against it from the authority of God’s Word. So we ought to humbly rejoice because Dobb’s ruling accords with Biblical justice.
Second, it affirms the value of every human life. Christians recognize that human life – no matter how old or how young – is a gift from God. The value of a human life is not determined by whether another person wants and appreciates you. What gives you value and worth is the fact that God made you, and no one can take that away from you. Psalm 139:13–14 says – “For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Made how? “In the image of God” (Genesis 1:26). We ought to rejoice because Dobb’s ruling both accords with Biblical justice and affirms the value of human life.
And finally, it rescues those about to die. Proverbs 24:11 says, “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.” There are children who were scheduled to die that are now alive because of what happened. We ought to rejoice over that without qualification or equivocation.
So what do we as followers of Christ do now? We continue to do what Christians have been renown for doing throughout history: care for widows, orphans, and those in need; and support pregnant and struggling mothers to care for their families.
And most importantly, we will continue to exalt Jesus Christ above all – as the One who rules over all, who inclines his ear to do justice, and who answers the prayers of his people on behalf of the afflicted.