A Message from Pastor Hale
Life is what we make it to be – that is the lie we have been sold – that we get to be who and what we want, that our aspirations make life worth living; our dreams should be chased no matter the cost.
The reality is that human life, as the fleshly person knows it, is empty and futile – in opposition to God and His holy will, which we were created for. It is under the rule of death and in slavery to sin – no matter how alive or good someone feels. The proof is in the pudding: death – the effect of our sin – is inescapable, for those in Adam’s image. Nothing can be done by us to fix it, but that does not stop sinners from trying. “Because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man” (Rom. 5:17).
Without Christ, there is no life. But we see much death, even trusting in and being united to His death, which is life for us. Belief does not undo sin or our bad decisions. In Christ, justified through faith in Him, we are alive to God. But this change occurs in heaven in how He sees us. Our righteousness is hidden in Christ, so that we do not escape all the effects of sin in this life.
Being Christian does not mean having children. Marriage, marital knowing, and childbirth are physical, natural things. In fact, they are inescapable to a large extent, for most. God works through these biological commands, but not in a spiritual way – in a natural way. He has made us male or female, for the purpose of marriage, even if one never marries in actuality. But our design and function is of God.
The problem for the world and fleshly man is that God is not seen as good. Those who fight against His creation, fight against the Maker of heaven and earth. What is abortion? An unloving act of self-preservation. Kill the baby before he kills you. But the problem is not a child, or many children. The problem is with the giver of life – God Himself. God does not command us verbally to have children. Instead, He makes us so that most have to have children. When life is considered bad, God is seen as bad. Abortion is a heinous sin, a plight on our people and nation.
The worst part is that we are all abortionists in our heart. We murder, not physically, but in our attitude, our heart, and how we think and talk about children. A churchgoing Christian can easily use the same language as the abortion clinic and its customers, without incident or alarm, among other Christians: “I accidentally got pregnant”; “It was a mistake”; “It was an unplanned pregnancy”; “when do you want your family and how many precisely do you want?”; “What is your choice?”; “It’s not the right time to have a child.”
The language and philosophy are the same: Children are the problem, and not having children is the solution. The difference? Christians, of course, may not have a child physically dismembered in utero, so Christians are “stuck” with a child they didn’t “choose,” if a child is actually conceived. That is a difference, to be sure, but not so much when it comes to the heart and loving God’s will.
From our perspective children may seem accidental, but God does not make mistakes or unplanned decisions. And life is His, make no mistake – it is not ours. God is not surprised by His works. Children are His creations, not our pet projects. We can’t create in the image of God – having a child is not about following a recipe. It does not take holy thoughts or long preparation to physically have a child – our part is so minuscule, it’s silly to even talk about and take credit for it. But marital knowing has been de-sanctified and made common, instead of honored as God’s holy tool for divine purposes.
Is our family, that is, our children, ours, or does God have a say for His people? No one actually chooses their children, though many assume so. There is no catalog from which we may pick out our progeny and what they will be like. But we talk like it, and so devalue what God Himself makes. We just assume that avoiding children is a real choice – because it seems like life and possibilities to those in sin.
Christians like to talk up the blessings of children, generically, but there is a reason earthly mammon is more sought after than children: children are death to the sinful flesh of parents. They will bring suffering, and death, most literally – they are of Adam and must die. To bring a child into the world is to bring more death and sin into the world.
The Christian must face death, if he is to be saved, which is why God sent His Son in human form to die. Christ died for all death-infected sinners, impaling sin in its heart – the cause of our misery and death. But death did not slay Jesus forever. He rose, in the Spirit, to bring forth life. Life is everywhere in Christ. Because you live by faith in Him, united to His death, you are life. His salvation is life, and you have a good and kind Father above. Death has no hold on you.
So what about children? See them in Christ, not just with deathly goggles. God’s will, and therefore the children He brings forth, are always good. Maybe not to corrupt sinners, but to the holy God. So in faith, everything is sanctified and becomes holy, as we live to God. We want there to be more people to hear the good news and believe. There are no people without birth. Having a child is natural, but raising one to be a Christian is unnatural and difficult – you will have to face much death, inside and outside your heart.
Don’t sugarcoat having children as easy-peasy, or glorify a “prolife” stance that is actually quite cold to the reality of receiving and taking care of God’s blessings. But death to the flesh is not something to avoid for the Christian, it is life in Christ. The more we die with Christ to sin, the more we partake of His comfort and life. If we die with Him, we will live with Him.
Look beyond death and believe it has been extinguished, even as we live in the midst of death. See children as God sees them – and you. Look beyond death and earthly problems to the promise of glory with Him. We wait for resurrection – when there will be only life. Christ is life, all is life in Him. The death and sin we see is merely an empty husk, waiting to be discarded in resurrection life, by Life Himself, our Lord Jesus Christ. Even He was not too proud to be conceived in a mother and be born in the normal way. We mourn death, but welcome life. Amen.