2000-07-18 - Abortion

Summer Question Series, Part 2

Micah 7:18,19 Who is a God like Thee, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, Thou will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

“I have always believed in the Lord and was baptized when I was 12 but I would say about 3 years later I strayed from the Lord for about 10 years. My question is about abortion, I had an abortion when I was 17 years old. I had blocked any emotions from my experience until I decided to renew my life with Jesus Christ and become re-born again then all the guilt and shame that I had blocked before came flooding in. I know that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins and that he knew that would happen to me even before it happened. But do you think abortion is a forgivable sin? Can someone be truly forgiven for such a great sin as this?”

I think we can take this question in the broad context of forgiveness in general. I think that rather than speak of abortion specifically we can speak of sin and ask the question, Can _________ be a forgiven sin? Each reader can place their own struggles in the blank spot and maybe this becomes more helpful.

There is one sin, in Scripture, that is called the unpardonable sin. This is found in Matthew 12:31. It is said there that “blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.” What this means is the subject of much debate. What is clear, to most interpreters, is that this sin is one committed by unbelievers, not Christians. Some say that this sin is evident in resisting the Holy Spirit, as in Acts 7:51, or in grieving the Holy Spirit, as in Ephesians 4:30-32. However, I think that even these interpretations go to far in naming the unpardonable sin to narrowly. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, it seems to me, is to have tasted of the richness of Christ, His mercy and love, and then to deny it, and to turn and walk away from the faith, never to return.

And that is not what is view with your question here. So yes, I think that abortion is forgivable. It is no less forgivable than any other sin. There does not appear to be degrees of sin with God. His standard is perfection and anything short of perfection is to not uphold His standard. We must remember what is said in James 2:10, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” That is a startling statement.

To understand this, is to begin to understand the full nature and all encompassing forgiveness that we find in Christ. And this was Peter’s claim to the rulers and elders and scribes when after arresting him they told him to stop speaking about Jesus. Peter replies in Acts 4:12, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.” It is the testimony in Scripture that Christ alone can save.

It is also the testimony of Scripture that Christ saves totally. Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore, now, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Notice here that there are no qualifiers placed in this verse. There is no phrase tacked on at the end that says, “except for those who are adulterous, murderers, drunkard, swindlers, or nose pickers.” There is no exception given. If you are in Christ Jesus, resting in His atonement, trusting in his death and resurrection for your sin, you are saved. It doesn’t matter what you have done in the past. This was the experience of Noah, David, Peter, and Paul; all of whom had sorted pasts and made big mistakes.

The offer of salvation is really that broad. But a word of caution, this is not an encouragement to sin, or a free pass to occasionally indulge the flesh. One thing that is to be true of the Christian is that there begins to be a greater and greater revulsion to sin. Sin is no longer the Christian’s desire or master. The Christian has begun to grow out of earthly things and seek heavenly things. Forgiveness is never an encouragement to sin, but rather a comfort to us when we have fallen into sin.

I know that those who have fallen into sin, especially sins that, Christians typically label the “big” ones can often feel like there is no getting beyond the past. The Bible testifies that this is not true. The past is washed away for every Christian, no exceptions, by the blood of Christ. There is hope for every lost sinner who turns to Christ, because every sinner who does so has every sin covered in Christ’s atoning blood. This is the hope and joy of the Christian.

“The basic fact of biblical religion is that God pardons and accepts believing sinners.” J. I. Packer

Soli Deo Gloria,